Dr Robert Stagg

I am a Shakespearean and early modernist whose principal research interests are in literary form, ranging from prosody (rhyme, metre, rhythm) to verse structures (e.g. blank verse, the sonnet). I have published articles in Shakespeare Survey (on supernatural metre) and Essays in Criticism (on bathos) and am now finishing my first book, which is a study of Shakespeare's versification. I also have a couple of articles presently under consideration at major journals (one is about feminine rhyme in The Taming of the Shrew, the other is about prosody in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century editorial practice).

I have chapters forthcoming imminently in two edited collections, The Edinburgh Companion to Literature and Music (ed. Delia da Sousa Correa) and Reading the Road: Shakespeare's Crossways to Bunyan's Highways (ed. Lisa Hopkins and William Angus). The first is a short polemic against the notion of a 'music of poetry', and the second is about the problem of representing pedestrian travel onstage (and how metre might help to mitigate this). I have been commissioned to write two further chapters for edited collections, one on Philip Sidney and quantitative verse (for The Oxford Handbook of Philip Sidney, ed. Catherine Bates) and one on versification and the humors (for Rethinking the Humors, ed. Kaara Peterson). I sometimes review new books on Shakespeare and early modern literature for The Times Literary Supplement.

I have received research funding and/or funded visiting research fellowships from the Wolfson Foundation, the New York Public Library, the Harry Ransom Center, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (Royal Shakespeare Company archives), the Society for Renaissance Studies, Gladstone's Library, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

I have also written, produced and presented a fully-funded feature-length documentary about Shakespeare's early career in Shoreditch ('Shoreditch: Shakespeare's Hidden London'), and work with a number of theatre companies on Shakespeare productions and festivals.

At college level, I run the termly Plumer Visiting Fellowship in Early Modern English Literature and am Director of Studies for Visiting Students in English.

FHS Paper 1 (Shakespeare), FHS Paper 3 (Literature in English 1550-1660); Prelims Paper 1 (Introduction to English Language and Literature); lecture courses in faculty. N.B. from 2019-20 some of my normal teaching load will be carried out by a Graduate Development Scholar.

BA Emmanuel College, Cambridge (2010); MSt Exeter College, Oxford (2012); PhD University of Southampton / Wolfson Foundation, University of London (awarded Feb 2018).

Charles Oldham Shakespeare Prize (for best postgraduate research on Shakespeare), University of Oxford, 2012. Herchel Smith Prize, Emmanuel College, Cambridge, 2010.

Pforzheimer Visiting Research Fellow in the Humanities, Harry Ransom Center, UTexas (Austin), 2019. Wolfson Visiting Research Fellow, New York Public Library, 2017. Tom Jarman Research Fellow, Gladstone's Library, 2017. Jubilee Education Fund Visiting Scholar, Shakespeare Centre (RSC archives), Stratford-upon-Avon, 2015. Wolfson Scholar in the Humanities, 2013-17.


  • Versification

  • 'Against 'the music of poetry''

  • Walking, talking, footing: reading the onstage road

  • Shakespeare's Bewitching Line

  • Wordsworth, Pope, and Writing after Bathos

  • More