Dr Laurence J W Publicover

BA(Bristol), MA(Oxon.), PHD(Bristol)

  • BS8 1TB

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Personal profile

Research interests

My research falls into two main categories. First, I work on Shakespeare and other English Renaissance dramatists. Over the past decade, I have taken a particular interest in playwrights' representations of cultural encounter within the Mediterranean world and in their engagements with medieval literature; these matters (and others) were explored in a book, Dramatic Geography, published by Oxford University Press in 2017. I have also co-edited (with Chloe Preedy) a collection of essays entitled 'Space on the Early Modern Stage', published as a special edition of the journal Cahiers Élisabéthains (No. 88, Autumn 2015; this collection includes my own article on the effect clowning has on the geography of early modern drama). I am currently writing commissioned articles on 'Drama and Geography in the Early Modern Period' for the Oxford Research Encylopedia of Literature and on 'Drama and Performance' for the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Literary Geographies

My second research area, which often overlaps with the first, is oceanic studies. I was co-coordinator, with Dr Tamsin Badcoe, of Bristol's multi-disciplinary 'Perspective from the Sea' research cluster from 2013-18 (now called 'Bodies of Water'), and I teach an undergraduate special subject that explores literary and non-literary writing about the sea and human relations with oceans more generally. Much of my work in oceanic studies draws on my expertise in Renaissance drama: an article on Shakespeare's seas appeared in the journal Essays in Criticism in 2014; another, 'King Lear and the Art of Fathoming', published in the journal Renaissance Drama in 2018, is the forerunner to a larger project on figures of depth in Renaissance tragedy. But my work in oceanic studies also moves beyond the Renaissance and involves collaboration with scholars in different fields. Current projects include a volume of essays entitled Shipboard Literary Cultures: Reading Writing, and Performing at Sea, co-edited with the historian Dr Susann Liebich (University of Heidelberg), to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2021 (this collection includes a chapter co-written with Eli Cumings on nineteenth-century voyages); and a chapter on whales in the nineteenth-century imagination co-written with Dr Jimmy Packham (University of Birmingham). A shorter piece on shipboard diaries and their value to scholars in oceanic studies and maritime studies, co-written with Dr Liebich, can be found here

Other activities within oceanic studies include a Brigstow Institute-funded project entitled 'The Invisibility of the Sea'  co-organised with Dr Margherita Pieraccini (Law), which brought together academics from arts and sciences with Bristol-based artist Rodney Harris to produce a series of maps and other artworks that explore the political, social, cultural and environmental implications of our relationship with the sea; the project resulted in an exhibition held on the MV Balmoral over the summer of 2017, later transferred to the Earth Gallery, Wills Memorial Building. Another result of this project was a short article on the cultural history and the future of the deep sea co-written with the oceanographer Dr Kate Hendry and published in The Conversation. Dr Hendry and I continue to work together on matters related to the seafloor, and currently co-supervise a Masters by Research project entitled 'In Awe of the Abyss', one of the university's new programmes run by the Cabot Institute for the Environment.


Postgraduate Supervision


I currently supervise postgraduate research projects on: the faerie sign in medieval and early modern literature; rage in Shakespearean comedy; the magus-figure and sites of the supernatural in early modern drama; the social and theatrical history of early modern fools and clowns; Cyprus in the early modern English imagination; and hollow-earth theory and the ethics of human encounters with the seafloor. I have supervised to completion projects on Shakespeare and dreams and on language and power in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra.

I would welcome applications from anyone looking to conduct postgraduate research in Shakespeare and Renaissance drama; oceanic studies; literary/dramatic geography; or any combination of the three.



Teaching Information:


I currently teach the following modules:



Shakespearean Tragedy (Year 3 special subject)

Literature and the Sea (Year 2 special subject)

Shakespeare (Year 2 Mid-scale unit, convener)

Literature 1550-1740 (Year 1 core module, convener)

I also lecture on the first-year unit 'Approaches to Poetry', the second-year unit 'Chaucer and Chaucerians', and the third-year unit 'Celebrity Cultures'. 



Renaissance Literature: Texts and Contexts

Hamlet: Text and Interpretation


I was Director of Exams for English for the academic years 2014-15 and 2015-16. I was the Faculty of Arts representative on the Alumni Foundation Committee from 2014-19, and I currently sit on the Management Group of Migration Mobilities Bristol, a Specialist Research Institute at the University of Bristol. 


Employment History:

I studied at Bristol and Oxford, and was awarded my PhD from Bristol in 2010. I then worked for two years as Teaching Fellow in Renaissance Literature at the University of Leeds before returning to Bristol in 2012.



In 2014 I was awarded a British Council Researcher Links Grant, and spent a month teaching and researching at Sogang University (Seoul). I would be very happy to offer advice to any Korean students interested in studying at Bristol.

In 2013 I appeared on the BBC World Service programme The Why Factor, speaking about the lure of the sea in Western literature and culture.

I became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2015. 

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Migration Mobilities Bristol
  • Centre for Environmental Humanities


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