Jeri Smith-Cronin

Jeri Smith-Cronin


After completing my BA and MA at the University of Bristol, I came to Leeds in 2016 to begin my PhD in Renaissance Drama. My doctoral research is fully funded by the School of English’s John Barnard Scholarship.

Research interests

My doctoral thesis, Chivalry and English-Drama, 1575-1625, explores the intersections between chivalric culture and popular theatre from the mid-Elizabethan to the end of the Jacobean period. It examines how chivalric forms and motifs were deployed by early modern playwrights to give expression to a wide range of often overlapping cultural discourses. Reading plays by Shakespeare, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, John Day, William Rowley, George Chapman, Thomas Middleton, and Francis Beaumont, I argue that the chivalric tradition continued to exert a persistent and pervasive influence on the cultural imagination of Elizabethan and Jacobean England. Chivalry and English Drama therefore challenges the critical commonplace that chivalry is a waning and increasingly defunct ideology by the early modern period. Rather than anachronistic displays of nostalgia, chivalric rituals and performances remained inextricably shaped by their contingent contexts, and as such serve as productive sites of cultural discourse. 

These plays are placed in conversation with other contemporary expressions of chivalric culture including chivalric romances, other entertainments and performances, heraldic treatises, conduct books, chivalric biographies, and collections of arms and armour. This intersectional analysis offers a multivalent sense of how early modern chivalry is both intimately shaped by and informs its contingent political, social, economic, and theological contexts. As such, representations of chivalry in the early modern theatre help to illuminate contemporary cultural issues such as the relationship between monarch and nobility, aristocratic status and identity, the nature of ‘honour’, social mobility, and European religious and political relations in the aftermath of the Reformation.

Conference and Event Organisation

  • In May 2014, I co-organized a two-day event on Sleep Studies at the University of Bristol which consisted of a Postgraduate Conference and an interdisciplinary seminar. The event was kindly funded by the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS), the Bristol Institute for Research in the Arts and Humanities (BIRTHA), the Alumni Foundation, and the Bristol-Kyoto Strategic Fund.
  • At the 2018 International Medieval Congress, I co-organized a seminar series, ‘Remembering Chivalry’. This consisted of 4 panels (each addressing a different aspect of chivalric culture) and a concluding roundtable discussion.

Conference Papers

  • ‘”The ravell’d sleave of care”: Insomnia in Macbeth’, University of Bristol (Sleep Cultures Postgraduate Conference), May 2014.
  • ‘”My great patron thought on in my prayers”’: King Lear and the Chivalric Ideal, University College Cork (Borderlines Conference), April 2017.
  • ‘”Arms defensive a safe peace maintain”: Chivalric Revival in Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones’s Speeches at Prince Henry’s Barriers, The National Distance Education University (UNED) of Madrid (Kings & Queens Conference), September 2017.
  • “’Because I am not painted”: Chivalry, Religion, and Anglo-Spanish Diplomacy in Thomas Dekker’s The Whore of Babylon’, Nova University of Lisbon (Splendid Encounters Conference), September 2017.
  • 'Remembering Elizabethan Chivalry in Thomas Dekker's The Whore of Babylon', University of Leeds (International Medieval Conference), July 2018.
  • 'Killer Kings and Procrastinating Princes: The Ghost of Chivalry in Hamlet', Queen's University Belfast (British Shakespeare Association Annual Conference), July 2018. 
  • ‘Chivalry, Religion, and Anglo-Spanish Diplomacy: Censoring Thomas Dekker’s The Whore of Babylon’, University of Sheffield (Sheffield Centre for Early Modern Studies Research Seminar), February 2019.
  • '"Now vanish horrors into Court attractions": Chivalry and Ritualised Violence in George Chapman's Bussy D'Ambois', University of Leeds (Medieval and Early Modern Research Seminar), May 2019.


  • Drama: Reading and Interpretation
  • Renaissance Literature 


  • John Barnard School of English Scholarship, 2016-19


  • ‘The Apocalyptic Chivalry of Thomas Dekker’s The Whore of Babylon and Anglo-Spanish Diplomacy’, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Vol. 50, No. 3 (Forthcoming, 2020). 


  • BA English (University of Bristol)
  • MA English (University of Bristol)