Wednesday 31 July 2013

Reading list for ENGL31072 Writing the Supernatural in the Age of Shakespeare






Primary Texts


The set pamphlet texts will all be available in the free course handbook (electronically also on Blackboard). If you want to read some of them, though, before the course begins, most can only be accessed through EEBO (Early English Books Online) which can be accessed through the library databases. You will need to buy the play-texts (marked with an asterisk below).



Anon., The true descripcion of a childe with ruffes borne in the parish of Micheham


Anon., The forme and shape of a monstrous child, born at Maidstone in Kent (1568)

Thomas Locke, A strange and lamentable accident that happened lately at Mears-Ashby (1642)

Anon., A declaration of a strange and wonderfull monster (1646)

Anon., The Ranters Monster (1652)

Anon., The strange monster (1668)

Anon., A true relation of a monstrous female-child (1680)



Anon., Sad and wonderful newes from the faulcon at the bank side (1661)

Anon., A strange and wonderfull discovery of a horrid and cruel murther committed

            fourteen yeares since upon the body of Robert Elliot (1662)

Anon., A true relation of the horrid ghost of a woman (1673)

Anon., Great news from Middle-Row in Holbourn (1680)

Anon., The mournfull widow (1690)

*William Shakespeare, Hamlet



Anon., The Examination and Confession of certain Wytches (1566)

Anon., A rehearsal both straung and true (1579)

Anon., The wonderful discovery of the witchcrafts of Margaret and Philip Flower


Henry Goodcole, The wonderfull discoverie of Elizabeth Sawyer, a Witch (1621)

*William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John Ford, The Witch of Edmonton (written

                c.1621; published 1658)

*William Shakespeare, Macbeth


Demonic possession

Anon., Most fearfull and strange newes from the bishopricke of Durham (1641)

Anon., A return of prayer: or A faithful relation of some remarkable passages of

providence concerning Thomas Sawdie (1664)

Anon., The Hartford-shire Wonder: or, Strange News from Ware (1669)

Anon., Strange and wonderful news from Yowel in Surrey (1681)

Richard Kirby, Dreadful news from Wapping; being a further relation of the sad and

miserable condition of Sarah Bower (1693)


Magic and magicians

*Christopher Marlowe, Dr Faustus

*William Shakespeare, The Tempest



Moses Pitt, An account of one Ann Jefferies (1696)

*William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream



Criticism and context 


Fuller bibliographies will be available week by week, but here is a guide to getting started. You will not want to read everything here! Pick what is most appropriate for your interests and your chosen essay topic. You will probably want to get the books from the library rather than buying them. Don't forget also to check out the fuller, week by week bibliographies.


History, culture, society

Susan Brigden, New Worlds, Lost Worlds: the Rule of the Tudors, 1485-1603 (2000)

David Cressy, Literacy and the Social Order: Reading and Writing in Tudor and

            Stuart England (1980)

Adam Fox, Oral and Literate Culture in England, 1500-1700 (2000)

Mark Kishlansky, A Monarchy Transformed: Britain 1603-1714 (1996)

Diane Purkiss, The English Civil War: a People's History (2006)

James A. Sharpe, Early Modern England: a Social History, 1550-1760 (1987)

Keith Wrightson, English Society, 1580-1680 (1982)



Mark Breitenberg, Anxious Masculinity in Early Modern England (1996)
Amanda Capern, The Historical Study of Women: England, 1500-1700 (2008)

Anthony Fletcher, Gender, Sex and Subordination in England 1500 -1800 (1995)

Ann Hughes, Gender and the English Revolution (Routledge, 2012)

Sara Mendelson and Patricia Crawford, Women in Early Modern England (1998)

Stephen Orgel, Impersonations: the Performance of Gender in Shakespeare's England


Diane Purkiss, Literature, Gender and Politics during the English Civil War (2005)

Alexandra Shepard, Meanings of Manhood in Early Modern England (2003).

Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500-1800 (1977)


Religion and the supernatural

Andrew Bradstock, Radical Religion in Cromwell's England (2011)

Patrick Collinson, The Reformation (2003)

Frances Dolan, Whores of Babylon: Catholicism, Gender and Seventeenth-century

Print Culture (2nd ed,, 2005)

Christopher Haigh, The Plain Man's Pathways to Heaven: Kinds of Christianity in

            Post-Reformation England (2007)

Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down (1972)

Peter Marshall, Beliefs and the Dead in Reformation England (2002)

Francis Young, English Catholics and the Supernatural,1553-1829 (2013)


Cheap print

Ian Green, Print and Protestantism in Early Modern England (2003)

Alexandra Halasz, The Marketplace of Print: Pamphlets and the Public Sphere in

            Early Modern England (1997)

Joad Raymond, Pamphlets and Pamphleteering in Early Modern Britain (2003)

Tessa Watt, Cheap Print and Popular Piety, 1550-1640 (1996)


Narrating the supernatural

Frances Dolan, True Relations: Reading, Literature and Evidence in Seventeenth-

            century England (2013)

Jerome Friedman, Miracles and the Pulp Press during the English Revolution: the

                Battle of the Frogs and Fairford's Flies (UCL Press, 1993)

Marion Gibson, 'Understanding Witchcraft? Accusers' Stories in Print in Early

            Modern England' (Stuart Clark ed., Languages of Witchcraft: Narrative,

            Ideology and Meaning in Early Modern Culture, 2001, pp. 41-54.)

Louise Jackson, 'Witches, Wives and Mothers: Witchcraft Persecution and Women's

            Confessions in Seventeenth-century England' (Women' History Review 4

            1995), pp. 63-84.

Jacqueline Pearson, '"Then she asked it, what were its Sisters names?": Reading

            between the lines in seventeenth-century pamphlets of the supernatural'

            (Seventeenth Century 28, 2013, pp. 63-78).


The supernatural : general

Euan Cameron, Enchanted Europe: Superstition, Reason and Religion 1200-1750


Stuart Clark, Thinking with Demons: the Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe


David Cressy, Agnes Bowker's Cat: Travesties and Transgressions in Tudor and

                Stuart England (2001).

Lorraine Daston, 'Marvelous Facts and Miraculous Evidence in Early Modern Europe'

                (Critical Inquiry 18, 1991), pp. 93-124.

Ryan Curtis Friesen, Supernatural Fiction in Early Modern Drama and Culture


Nathan Johnstone, The Devil and Demonism in Early Modern England (2006)

P. G. Maxwell-Stuart ed., The Occult in Early Modern Europe: a Documentary

            History (1999)

Darren Oldridge, Strange Histories: the trial of the pig, the walking dead, and other

            matters of fact from the mediaeval and Renaissance worlds (2005)

Darren Oldridge, The Devil in Early Modern England (2000).

Kristen Poole, Supernatural Environments in Shakespeare's England: Spaces of

            Demonism, Divinity, and Drama (2011)

Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (1971)

Frederick Valletta, Witchcraft, Magic and Superstition in England, 1640-70 (2000).

Alexandra Walsham, 'The Reformation and "the Disenchantment of the World"

            Reassessed' (The Historical Journal 51, 2008, pp. 497-528).

Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904-5, trans. Talcott

            Parsons, 1930)


The supernatural on stage

Roberta Barker, '"An honest dog yet": Performing The Witch of Edmonton' (Early

Theatre 12, 2009), pp. 163-182.

Ryan Curtis Friesen, Supernatural Fiction in Early Modern Drama and Culture


Stephen Greenblatt, Hamlet in Purgatory (2001)

Anthony Harris, Night's Black Agents: Witchcraft and Magic in 17th-century English

            drama (1980)

Laura Kolb, 'Playing with Demons: interrogating the supernatural in Jacobean drama'

            (Forum for Modern Language Studies 43, 2007), pp. 337-50

Ian McAdam, Magic and Masculinity in Early Modern English Drama (2009)

Kristen Poole, Supernatural Environments in Shakespeare's England: Spaces of

Demonism, Divinity, and Drama (2011)

Verna Theile and Andrew D. McCarthy eds., Staging the Superstitions of Early Modern

Europe (2013)

Jan Frans van Dijkhuizen, Devil Theatre: Demonic Possession and Exorcism in

            English Renaissance Drama, 1558-1642 (2007)

Stanley Wells, 'Staging Shakespeare's Ghosts' (Murray Biggs et al. eds., The Arts of

            Performance in Elizabethan and Early Stuart Drama: Essays for G. K.

            Hunter, 1991), pp. 50-69.  


Portents, prodigies and providence

William E. Burns, An Age of Wonders: Prodigies, Politics and Providence in England

                1657-1727 (Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2002)

William E. Burns, 'Signs of the Times: Thomas Jackson and the Controversy over

                Prodigies in the Reign of Charles I' (Seventeenth Century 11, 1996, pp. 21-33)

Christopher Durston, 'Signs and Wonders and the English Civil War' (History Today

                37,1987, pp. 22-8)

Jerome Friedman, Miracles and the Pulp Press during the English Revolution: the

                Battle of the Frogs and Fairford's Flies (UCL Press, 1993)

Anne Dunan Page, 'Le châtiment de Dorothy Mately: mise en livre des histories de

                jugement à la Restauration' (Bulletin de la Société d'études anglo-américaines

                des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles 50, 2000), pp. 31-49.

Alexandra Walsham, Providence in Early Modern England (Oxford University Press,

                Oxford, 1999).

Blair Worden, 'Providence and Politics in Cromwellian England' (Past and Present

                109, 1985), pp. 55-99.


Monstrous births

Alan W. Bates, Emblematic Monsters: Unnatural Conceptions and Deformed Births

                in Early Modern Europe (Rodopi, Amsterdam, 2005).

Mark Thornton Burnett, Constructing 'monsters' in Shakespearean drama and early

            modern culture (2002),  esp. chapter 1.

Julie Crawford, Marvelous Protestantism: monstrous births in post-Reformation

            England (2005)

David Cressy, Agnes Bowker's Cat: Travesties and transgressions in Tudor and

Stuart England (2001; originally, as Travesties and transgressions in Tudor

and Stuart England, 2000),

David Cressy, 'Lamentable, strange and wonderful: headless monsters in the English

            revolution' (Laura Lunger Knoppers and Joan B. Landes eds., Monstrous

            Bodies / Political Monstrosities in Early Modern Europe, 2004), pp. 40-63.



Jo Bath and John Newton, '"Sensible proof of spirits": ghost belief during the later

            seventeenth century' (Folklore 117, 2006), pp. 1-14.

Todd Butler, 'The Haunting of Isabell Binnington: Ghosts of Murder, Texts and Law

            in Restoration England' (Journal of British Studies 50, 2011, pp. 248-76)

Stephen Greenblatt, Hamlet in Purgatory (2001)

Sasha Handley, Visions of an Unseen World: Ghost Beliefs and Ghost Stories in

            Eighteenth-century England (2007)

Peter Marshall, Mother Leakey and the Bishop: a Ghost Story (2007)

John Newton and Jo Bath eds., Early Modern Ghosts (2002)



Stuart Clark, Thinking with Demons: the Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe


Stuart Clark ed., Languages of Witchcraft: Narrative, Ideology and Meaning in Early

            Modern Culture (2001)

Marion Gibson, Reading Witchcraft (1999)

Alan Macfarlane, Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England (1970)

Darren Oldridge eds., The Witchcraft Reader (second ed., 2008)

Diane Purkiss, The Witch in History: Early Modern and 20th-century Representations


Lyndal Roper, Oedipus and the Devil: witchcraft, sexuality and religion in early

            modern Europe (1994)

James Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness: Witchcraft in England 1550-1750 (1996)

Emma Wilby, Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions

                in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic (2005)

Deborah Willis, Malevolent Nurture: Witch-hunting and maternal power in early

modern England (1995)


The devil and demonic possession

Philip C. Almond, Demonic Possession and Exorcism in Early Modern England:

            Contemporary Texts and their Cultural Contexts (2004)

Andrew Cambers, 'Demonic Possession, Literacy and 'Superstition' in Early Modern

            England' (Past and Present 202, 2009), pp. 3-35.

Nathan Johnstone, The Devil and Demonism in Early Modern England (2006)

Brian P. Levack, The Devil Within: Possession and Exorcism in the Christian West (Yale UP,

            New Haven, 2013)

Darren Oldridge, The Devil in Early Modern England (2000).

Kathleen R. Sands, Demon Possession in Elizabethan England (2004)

James Sharpe, 'Disruption in the Well-Ordered Household: Age, Authority, and

            Possessed Young People' (Paul Griffiths, Adam Fox and Steve Hindle eds.,

            The experience of authority in early modern England, 1996)



Philip Butterworth, Magic on the Early English Stage (2005)

P. G. Maxwell-Stuart, Wizards: a History (2004)

Ian McAdam, Magic and Masculinity in Early Modern English Drama (2009)

John S. Mebane, Renaissance magic and the return of the golden age: the occult

                tradition and Marlowe, Jonson and Shakespeare (1989)

Kristen Poole, Supernatural Environments in Shakespeare's England: Spaces of

            Demonism, Divinity, and Drama (2011)

Wayne Shumaker, The Occult Sciences in the Renaissance: a Study in Intellectual

                Patterns (1972)



K. M. Briggs, The Fairies in tradition and literature (1967)

K. M. Briggs, The anatomy of Puck: an examination of fairy beliefs among

Shakespeare's contemporaries and successors (1959)

Roger Lancelyn Green, 'Shakespeare and the Fairies' (Folklore 73, 1962), pp. 89-103.

Mary Ellen Lamb, 'Taken by the fairies: fairy practices and the production of popular

                culture in A Midsummer Night's Dream' (Shakespeare Quarterly 51, 2000),


Diane Purkiss, Troublesome things: a history of fairies and fairy stories (2001)

Wendy Wall, 'Why does Puck sweep? Fairylore, Merry Wives, and Social Struggle'

                (Shakespeare Quarterly 52, 2001), pp. 67-106.


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