Sam Jermy


I previously completed my BA (English) and MA (English Literary Studies) at the University of Exeter. During this time, I developed a keen interest in literary and historical representations of masculine bodies in the early modern period. This developing interest in gender and embodiment culminated in my MA dissertation, “Scarred Surfaces: Identity, Injury and the Masculine Body in Early Modern English Drama,” where I explored the intertwining narratives of valour, violence, and vulnerability that accompany the figure of the scarred male body on the early modern stage.

Research interests

My research is focused on the wider cultural concerns surrounding the body and the self in the early modern period through an exploration of masculinities and embodiment in the works of Thomas Middleton and his collaborators. By focusing on the increasingly intersubjective experience of early modern life, I consider the ways in which Middletonian masculinities participate in a dialogue with broader cultural, political, and scientific shifts in the expectations and enactments of masculine behaviour. My project draws on a variety of texts throughout Middleton’s wide-ranging literary output, which include drama, poetry, civic pageantry, masques, and pamphlets. 

I argue that Middleton develops a notion of embodied masculine experience that extends beyond social definitions of gender identity. My research explores the ways in which Middleton’s writing is defined by subjects caught up in terms of interpersonal exchange with other human and non-human agents. I am particularly interested in Middleton’s representation of shifting early modern social networks and hierarchies, exchanges of objects and capital, authorial and textual collaboration, and the relation of bodies to their environments. The central position of literal and metaphorical bodies to my analysis will enhance our understanding of the ways embodiment is considered in relation to the developing and increasingly complex conditions of early modern manhood.  

Alongside the concerns of my thesis, I maintain a strong interest in various aspects of early modern literature, including early modern drama, especially that of the Jacobean period; the history of the body; ecologies and environments; the early modern city; desire and sexualities; the conscience; affect theory and the history of emotions.


  • MA English Literary Studies
  • BA English