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Diane Purkiss's Biography (Books)

Diane Purkiss is professor of English Literature; Tutorial Fellow, Keble College. Diane Purkiss areas of interest include the English Civil War, Milton, and Marvell; Marvell in manuscript culture; the supernatural, especially witchcraft; food and food history; children's literature; folklore and folktale/fairytale; writer's block.

Current projects near completion:


- Food: A People's History. This book argues that 'mainstream' history and food history overlap significantly, and that changes in taste and ideas about taste and distaste which derive from food also inflect politics and ideology.

- Shakespeare and the supernatural. This book considers the place of the unauthorised supernatural in the plays of Shakespeare, arguing that his treatment of ghosts, fairies and witches is one of the distinguishing features of his work.

- Articles from the following will be polished in the runup to Christmas: two on fairies, one on magic books, and one on witches and the 'undomestic' witch

Under development is a plan to create a database of all Marvell manuscripts in world libraries. Articles arising from this include one on Bodleian MS Eng Poet d. 49; what it is. Argues that this manuscript does represent an attempt to create an accurate version of Marvell's poems in accordance with a now-lost ms version, but that it has subsequently been turned to other uses. Attempts a thorough codicology and description. A further article will also appear on Marvell's miscellaneous circulation. What we can learn about the reinvention of the Restoration Marvell by a study of the poems transcribed alongside his painter poems in various manuscripts.

I am also developing a Milton article for new volume on Milton and Gender to commemorate Re-Membering Milton

Further ahead, my next large project will be on the dissolution of the monasteries and its literatures

Diane Purkiss Teaching Areas:


1550-1830; Shakespeare; women's writing; literary theory; film; Milton; Donne; Marlowe; Woolf; Plath.

Diane Purkiss Recent Publications:


The English civil War: A People's History, Harper Collins, 2006 Literature, Gender and Politics during the English civil War, Cambridge 2005 Troublesome Things: A History of Fairies and Fairy Stories, Penguin 2000 The Witch in History, Routledge 1996.
Editions of the writings of Elizabeth Cary, Jane Lumley, Mary Sidneya and Aemilia Lanyer

Diane Purkiss Work in Progress:


A history of food; A history of the dissolution of the monasteries; A book on Shakespeare and the supernatural; A book on writer's block; An interdisciplinary essay collection on girls in the renaissance.

Diane Purkiss contacts: diane.purkiss@ell.ox.ac.uk

Source: http://www.english.ox.ac.uk/about-faculty/faculty-members/early-modern/purkiss-dr-diane.html