Dr Jane Rickard

Dr Jane Rickard


Having completed my PhD at the University of Warwick and taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (US), the University of Lancaster, and the University of Sheffield, I joined the University of Leeds as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in 2005.

I was then appointed to a lectureship here and have been promoted to Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor.

Research interests

My research interests in seventeenth-century English literature include the relationship between literature and politics, practices of reading and reception, and the cultures of manuscript and print. My work takes an interdisciplinary approach and engages with a range of genres and writers within and beyond the canon.

Authorship and Authority: the Writings of James VI and I (Manchester University Press, 2007), my first book, explores King James's engagement in the literary, political and religious cultures of Scotland and England as an author, whose attempt to realise the etymological link between 'author' and 'authority' in fact exposes the tensions and contradictions between the two. This is the first comprehensive book-length study of the King's writings, and addresses the wide range of genres in which he published, including poetry, poetic translations, scriptural exegeses, political and social treatises, and speeches to parliament.

My second book, Writing the Monarch in Jacobean England: Jonson, Donne, Shakespeare and the Works of King James (Cambridge University Press, 2015), examines the implications of this reassessment of James's writings for our understanding of the literary culture he inhabited. This study explores the two-way relationship between the King's writings, and that which was written to, for, about, and against him. In this way, it brings James's writings into dialogue with works by writers at the centre of the canon - Ben Jonson, John Donne, and Shakespeare. This book was selected as one of 2016's Choice Outstanding Academic Titles.

I am currently writing a book on Jonson and the construction of the reader. My work towards this project was supported by a research fellowship at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California (summer 2016). Some of the archival research that I completed there is discussed in a post on the Huntington's blog.

Selected recent research papers

  • ‘Plays or works? Ben Jonson’s Workes (1616) as theatrical text’, Pulpit, Page, and Playhouse, University of Sheffield (May 2021)
  • ‘Rabelais, Donne, and the mock library catalogue', Leeds Library 250th Anniversary conference (September 2018)
  • ‘Jonson’s Expert Readers’, Society of Renaissance Studies annual conference Sheffield (July 2018)
  • ‘Ben Jonson and the Interdisciplinarity of Early Modern Literary Studies’, Interdisciplinarity in Early Modern Studies: the State of the Question, University of Hull (June 2018)
  • ‘Readers of Ben Jonson’s Works (1616) from the Seventeenth Century to the Present’, English Seminar, University of Sydney (April 2017)
  • ‘Seventeenth-Century Readers of Jonson’s Workes (1616)’, Ben Jonson’s Workes and their Contexts: 400 years On, University of Sheffield (November 2016)

Selected publications


  • Writing the Monarch in Jacobean England: Jonson, Donne, Shakespeare and the Works of King James (Cambridge University Press, 2015; paperback 2018) (selected as one of 2016’s Choice Outstanding Academic Titles)
  • Authorship and Authority: The Writings of James VI and I ( Manchester University Press, 2007; paperback 2012)

Edited collections

  • Co-edited with Martin Butler, Ben Jonson and Posterity: Reception, Reputation and Legacy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020)
  • Co-editor with Richard Meek and Richard Wilson, Shakespeare's Book: Essays in Reading, Writing and Reception (Manchester University Press, 2008; paperback 2011)

Essays and articles

  • ‘Seventeenth-Century Readers of Jonson’s 1616 Works’, in Butler and Rickard (eds), Ben Jonson and Posterity, pp. 85–104
  • ‘“To strike the ear of time”: Ben Jonson’s Poetaster and the temporality of art’, Renaissance Drama, 48 (2020), 57–81
  • ‘“Each subtlest passion, with her source and spring”: Hamlet, Sejanus and the Concealment of Emotion’ in Paul Megna et al (eds), Hamlet and Emotions (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), pp. 109–32
  • ‘Stuart Coronations in Seventeenth-Century Scotland: History, Appropriation, and the Shaping of Cultural Identity’, in Andrew McRae and Paulina Kewes (eds), Stuart Succession Literature: Moments and Transformations (OUP, 2019), pp. 241–56
  • ‘Mover and Author: King James VI and I and the Political Use of the Bible’, in Kevin Killeen et al. (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, c. 1530–1700 (OUP, 2015), pp. 371–83
  • ‘The Cultural Politics of Translation: King James VI and I, Du Bartas and Joshua Sylvester’, in David Parkinson (ed.), James VI and I, Scotland and Literature: Tides of Change, 1567–1625 (Peeters, 2013), pp. 99–117
  • 'A Divided Jonson?: Art and Truth in The Staple of News', English Literary Renaissance, 42 (2012), 294–316
  • ‘The Writings of James VI and I and Early Modern Literary Culture’, Literature Compass, 9/10 (2012), 654–64
  • 'John Donne, James I and the Dilemmas of Publication', in Pete Langman (ed.), Negotiating the Jacobean Printed Book (Ashgate, 2011), pp. 89–100 
  • Co-authored with Richard Meek, '"This orphan play": Cardenio and the Construction of the Author', Shakespeare (special issue on Shakespeare and Fletcher), 7 (2011), 269–83
  • 'The "First" Folio in Context: the Folio Collections of King James, Ben Jonson, and Shakespeare' in Meek, Rickard, and Wilson (eds), Shakespeare's Book, pp. 207–32
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Renaissance Studies, University of Warwick (April 2003)
  • MA in English and European Renaissance Drama (with distinction), University of Warwick (Sept 1999)
  • BA honours in English and European Literature (First class), University of Warwick (June 1998)
  • Warwick Teaching Certificate, University of Warwick (March 2002)

Student education

I teach on a range of undergraduate and MA core and option modules, including Renaissance Literature, Shakespeare, Lost in Fiction: The Metafictional Novel from Don Quixote to House of Leaves, and Writing and Gender in Seventeenth-Century England. I supervise final year projects and MA dissertations, and act as a PhD supervisor.

I would be happy to hear from potential students interested in a range of aspects of Renaissance studies, including such authors as Jonson, Donne, Middleton, and Shakespeare; genres including poetry, drama, court masques, sermons, and polemic; notions and constructions of authorship, including female authorship; gender studies; book history and the history of reading; Cervantes and his influence on English literature; the representation of early modern monarchs; the relationship between literature and politics.

I also co-convene Playhouse Lab, the School’s Renaissance play-reading group.

Research groups and institutes

  • Literary studies

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>