Shelfie with Kate Gath

Shelfie Oct 30

This section of my bookshelf doesn’t actually escape the early modern period, spanning English Renaissance drama through to the history of the Levellers. The focus of my PhD is seventeenth-century writer, civil war general and theatre proprietor Sir William Davenant (1606-1668), who also nearly died of syphilis and lost part of his nose to the disease. Davenant was a devoted royalist, or at least when it suited him, and I find the persistence of a certain kind of Cavalier identity intriguing. On my shelf you can find two texts on Davenant, as well as a signed copy of Lucy Worsley’s book Cavalier. In September, I spoke about certain stereotypes at Newcastle University’s ‘Reimagining the Cavalier’ conference, in a paper entitled ‘”Hellish Cavaliering Devils”: Cavalier Stereotypes in Restoration Comedy’. While the political landscape of the revolutionary decades is endlessly fascinating, the primary concern of my research is the way in which literature of the period, chiefly that of Davenant, approaches the human senses – this is why Constance Classen’s work is currently in residence nestled amongst the other tomes you see here. The English Renaissance Drama anthology is a hangover from undergraduate days which comes in handy from time to time, and the book on the Levellers combines personal interest with useful background knowledge for studying purposes. Poetry and Allegiance in the English Civil Wars was given to me by my supervisor, complete with various scrawled notes to self here and there, as he had somehow ended up with two copies. While this bit of shelf is specific to a particular time period, my bookshelves are bereft of any proper ordering system. I much prefer a kind of organised chaos.

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