Monday, May 10, 2010

Doctoral Awards

Applications are invited for two AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards between the School of English at the University of Sussex and The National Trust at Petworth House, West Sussex on Plays and Playing at Petworth House (1590-1640) beginning October 2010.

These doctoral projects are based on the detailed study of sixteen bound volumes of 146 early modern plays collected as part of the library of the ninth and tenth Earls of Northumberland at Petworth House (West Sussex) between 1590 and 1640. It is based in an ongoing collaboration between the Centre for Early Modern Studies at the University of Sussex and the National Trust at Petworth House.

To date no study has been made of these texts, which have been kept separate from the main libraries at Petworth since they passed to the National Trust in 1947 and are largely unknown. The quartos seem to have been bound together some time subsequent to the 1690 catalogue of the library (the 'Catalogus Librorum Bibliothecae Petworthianae'), in which these plays are catalogued individually and in a different order. Each volume contains between six and eleven plays, and there appears to be two distinct phases of the collection - an early group, leading up to c. 1620; and a later group, characterised by a preponderance of political satire, which focuses on the late 1620s and early and mid-1630s. Many of the major playwrights of the period are included – Shakespeare is well represented with quarto editions of King Lear, Othello, Hamlet, Love's Labours Lost, Henry V, Richard II, Richard III and others. Also present are plays by Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Samuel Rowley, Thomas Dekker, John Webster, Philip Massinger, Thomas Heywood, Beaumont and Fletcher, Robert Daborne, James Shirley, many lesser known playwrights (Peter Hausted, Shakerley Marmyon, Barton Holyday amongst others) and a wealth of anonymous drama. A number of the plays in the collection are extensively annotated; in some cases suggesting performances were mounted at the house (sketched cast lists are included, for instance). In its scope, annotation, and assemblage as well as the rarity of many of the editions, this is an internationally important collection hitherto overlooked.

The broad aim of these doctoral projects is to map out and to contextualise these quartos, exploring both their specific connection to Petworth and to the circumstances of their production. The nature of this important dramatic archive necessitates its division into two doctoral projects. Their aims and objectives are briefly detailed as follows:

1) The first award will explore the contexts and contours of the collection of the ninth Earl of Northumberland, Henry Percy (1564-1632) with particular emphasis on his acquisition of printed playtexts from the 1590s, including quartos by Marlowe, Shakespeare and Jonson, representing the major professional playing companies (and theatres) of the period. It offers a hitherto uncharted dimension to the life and work of the 'wizard' Earl, and will further address the relations between the assemblage of such materials to be read and those which may have been performed with a view to furthering academic understanding of how drama was read, studied and performed in country house spaces.

2) Of the sixteen volumes of drama in the Petworth archive, a substantial proportion comes from the Caroline stage of the late 1620s and 1630s, satirical drama written for (while often ridiculing) the courtly elite, to be performed at court, at the universities and in the private playhouse, in some cases by child players. This element of the Petworth collection, acquired by the tenth Earl of Northumberland, Algernon Percy (1602-1668), has never been studied and will form the focus of the second doctoral award. James Shirley is particularly well represented in this part of the collection, alongside editions by Thomas Heywood, Philip Massinger, William Rowley, Beaumont and Fletcher and other lesser known and anonymous works. This doctoral project will explore this aspect of the collection in detail, analysing what is there, how it is annotated, and how coherent a collection of satirical drama it represents.

Of the two doctorates, one will be jointly supervised by Dr Matthew Dimmock and Andrew Loukes, the National Trust House and Collections Manager at Petworth House. The second will be jointly supervised by Dr Margaret Healy and Andrew Loukes. There is a team of secondary supervisors involved in the project that will offer support - this will include Professor Thomas Healy, Professor Andrew Hadfield, Professor Maurice Howard, and Dr Angus Vine of the University of Sussex, and Alison McCann, Assistant County Archivist of West Sussex. Christopher Whittick, Senior Archivist, East Sussex Records office will also assist with palaeographic training.

The awards pay tuition fees and a maintenance grant for three years of full-time doctoral study. Please note that, in order to receive the maintenance award from the AHRC, residency conditions apply. Please refer to the 'AHRC Postgraduate Studentships: Guide to Student Eligibility' for detailed information:

Applicants should possess:

* A 1st class or Upper 2nd Class Honours degree in a relevant humanities discipline.
* A Masters degree or one completed by October 2010 (with distinction or merit) in an area relevant to the project.

Applications for a place on a research degree programme must be made on the standard University of Sussex application form at:

Where you are asked to outline your research project you should describe how your academic interests fit these collaborative doctorates and your reasons for applying. Candidates may apply specifically to one of these awards or to both. You should indicate your preference on your application form.

Please contact either Dr Matthew Dimmock ( or Dr Margaret Healy ( for further information on academic related question of the project.

The deadline for applications is Friday 4 June, 2010. Interviews will be held during the week beginning 22 June, 2010.


Post a Comment

<< Home

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from