Professor Marion Wynne-Davies

Professor of English Literature

Qualifications: BA English Literature, PhD English Literature

Phone: Work: 01483 68 3159
Room no: 26 AC 05

Office hours

Mondays 12 - 3

Further information


Professor Marion Wynne-Davies joined Surrey in 2007 and was responsible for establishing English as a discipline at the University. Since then it has risen to number 37 in the Guardian League tables. She also one of the first to pioneer the use of placements in English Literature and Creative Writing degrees in the UK. Before coming to Surrey, she worked at the universities of Dundee and Keele, after holding prestigious research fellowships at Liverpool and the Sorbonne.

Wynne-Davies is known internationally for her path-breaking work on Renaissance women dramatists, publishing a prize-winning edition of four plays in 1996. She has held research fellowships at the Folger, Huntington, Harry Ransom Center and Newberry, as well as living and working in the US, Canada, Germany and Japan.

Research Interests

Wynne-Davies is primarily known for her work on Renaissance Literature and on women writers. Currently, she working on a revisionist history of twentieth century literature that is based on the archival research into the PEN papers undertaken at the Harry Ransom Center.


Journal articles

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2016) '"Theatre is a temple to memory": Terry Hawkes and the Cardiff School'. Shakespeare Studies: an annual gathering of research, criticism and review, 44, pp. 91-100.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2013) 'Review of Samuel Daniel's Tragedie of Cleopatra (directed by Emma Whipday for the UCL Centre for Early Modern Exchanges) at the Great Hall, Goodenough College, London, 3 March 2013'. Shakespeare,
    [ Status: Accepted ]
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2013) ''More women: more weeping': the communal lamentation of Early Modern women in the works of Mary Sidney Herbert and Mary Wroth'. Early Modern Literary Studies, UK:
    [ Status: Accepted ]


    Analyses memorialisation in Sidney Herbert's poetry and Wroth's play, 'Love's Victory'

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2012) 'Ophelia's Ghost'. Alicante Journal of English Studies/Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses, Spain: 25, pp. 151-166.


    This essay takes as its starting point the 2008 Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamlet directed by Greg Doran in order to explore the ways in which Ophelia’s death and burial might be used to disturb dominant cultural codes. As such, it focuses upon the regulatory discourses framing three female subjects: the legal and religious rules governing suicide, in particular the inquest’s record of the death by drowning of Katherine Hamlet in 1579; the account of Ophelia’s death and her “maimed rites” in the Gravedigger’s scene; and the performance of Mariah Gale in the “mad scene.” In each case the female body is be perceived to breach expected boundaries: the way in which the real girl’s death presents a series of questions about the temporal and spiritual laws; the engagement of the play with those legal and religious discourses by locating the female character as a disturbing absence; and the use of the actress’ body in order to reiterate in performance the sense of threat encountered in the text. In so doing the employs the theories of the abject and the uncanny as discussed by Judith Butler and Julia Kristeva in order to locate where the text’s distorted repetitions uncover the tenuousness of the cultural codes used to regulate the Early Modern understanding of female suicide.

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2010) '”With such a Wife ‘tis heaven on earth to dwell”; Memorialising Early Modern Englishwomen'. Journal of the Northern Renaissance, (2.1), pp. 128-148.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2010) 'Professional Training Year'. Report Series, 20
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2009) 'The Liminal Woman in Mary Wroth’s Love’s Victory'. Sidney Journal, 26, pp. 65-82.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2009) 'Orange Women, Female Spectators, and Roaring Girls: Women and Theater'. Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, New York, USA: 22, pp. 19-26.


    The author introduces articles in the symposium "Women and Theater" in "Medieval and Renaissance Drama," describing the primary types of women who attended the theater in early modern England and how they were represented on stage. Orange-women and others sold their wares to audiences. Mary Frith dressed as a man, moved among the audiences, and was represented in Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton's "The Roaring Girl." Female spectators were represented to be attending to experience illicit sexual encounters, as well as other reasons besides actually seeing the play. The convergence seems to lie in the middle and lower class status of all the women represented.

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2009) 'Oral Traditions and Gender in Early Modern Literary Texts'. Modern Language Review, 104 (1), pp. 167-168.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2007) 'Women of the Dundee Howff'. History Scotland, 7 (6), pp. 34-41.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2004) 'Margaret Cavendish'. The New Dictionary of National Biography,
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2004) 'Alice Sutcliffe'. The New Dictionary of National Biography,
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2000) 'Mary Sidney Herbert'. The Cambridge Quarterly, 29 (2)
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2000) 'The collected works of Mary Sidney Herbert Countess of Pembroke'. CAMBRIDGE QUARTERLY, 29 (2), pp. 181-184.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1999) 'Women Dramatists of the Early Modern period'. Women's Writing, 6 (1)
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1999) '"Here is a sport will well befit this time and place:" allusion and delusion in Mary Wroth's Love's Victory'. Women's Writing, 6 (1), pp. 47-64.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1996) ''So Much Worth as Lives in You': Veiled Portraits of the Sidney Women'. Sidney Newsletter and Journal, 14 (1), pp. 45-56.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1995) 'Visions of Medieval Women'. The Cambridge Quarterly, 24 (4)
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1994) ''All By Myself in the Moonlight': Edith Wharton's age of Innocence'. Kobe College Studies, XLI (2), pp. 1-14.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1994) 'Wicked Women, Wellbred sisters'. The Cambridge Quarterly, 23 (1), pp. 54-66.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1994) 'Cultural Aesthetics'. Modern Language Review, 89 (1)
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1994) 'A Tale of Two Languages'. Bilingual Japan, III, pp. 2-4.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1993) ''Spottis Blak; Disease and the Female Body in the Testament of Cresseid'. Poetica, 38, pp. 32-52.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1992) ''he Conquered al the regne of Femenye': feminist criticism of Chaucer'. Critical Survey, 4 (2), pp. 107-113.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1992) 'The Voices of Romance'. Yearbook of English Studies, 22
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1991) 'The Shrine of Julian of Norwich'. Medieval Feminist Newsletter, , pp. 12-14.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1988) 'Tim Liardet. Clay Hill'. The New Welsh Review, 1 (3)
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1988) 'Rewriting the Renaissance'. Renaissance Studies, 2 (1)
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1988) 'Yeats and Arthur'. Yeats Annual, 6, pp. 134-147.

Conference papers

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2010) 'A Touching Text: Dundee, Tehran and The Winter's Tale'. Scotland : Duncan of Jordanstone College, University of Dundee Debating the Difference: Essays on Gender, Representation and Self-Representation, University of Dundee, Scotland: Interdisciplinary Conference on Debating the Difference: Gender, Representation and Self-representation


    This essay explores the changes undertaken by the Dundee Repertory Company on their production of The Winter's Tale, when they performed the play at Fajr International Drama Festival in Tehran. The essay begins with an account of the 2001 presentation in Dundee, focussing upon the way in which the director, Dominic Hill, interpreted the play to emphasise comic exuberance and female autonomy. The second part explores the necessary decisions made by Hill and the cast to ensure that the play could be performed in Tehran, alterations that undercut the earlier focus upon humour and women's roles in society. The paper concludes with an interrogation of how political and artistic discourses are inextricably bound together in twenty-first century theatre.

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2003) 'Suicide at the Elephant and Castle, or did the lady vanish? Alternative endings for early modern women writers'. MANCHESTER UNIV PRESS Region, Religion and Patronage: Lancastrian Shakespeare, Univ Lancaster, Lancaster, ENGLAND: Lancastrian Shakespeare Conference and Exhibition, pp. 121-142.


  • Salzman P, Wynne-Davies M. (2014) Mary Wroth and Shakespeare. Routledge


    Over the last twenty five years, scholarship on Early Modern women writers has produced editions and criticisms, both on various groups and individual authors. The work on Mary Wroth has been particularly impressive at integrating her poetry, prose and drama into the canon. This in turn has led to comparative studies that link Wroth to a number of male and female writers, including of course, William Shakespeare. At the same time no single volume has attempted a comprehensive comparative analysis. This book sets out to explore the ways in which Wroth negotiated the discourses that are embedded in the Shakespearean canon in order to develop an understanding of her oeuvre based, not on influence and imitation, but on difference, originality and innovation.

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2010) Margaret Atwood. Tavistock, UK : Northcote House Pub Ltd


    This book traces Atwood’s development from the publication of The Circle Game in 1966 to her most recent work, The Door (2007) noting that each phase of writing demonstrated both a commitment to, and interrogation of, specific themes. These textual focus points were, however, shown to defy neat classifications in terms of chronology and genre, since Atwood returns to, intertwines and alters perceptions of issues such as, nation, gender, politics, myth, chronology, geographical space, ecological ethics and authorial identity.

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2007) Women Writers and Familial Discourse in the English Renaissance: Relative Values. London : Palgrave
  • Wynne-Davies M, Low G. (2006) A Black British Canon?. London : Palgrave
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2006) Queen Mary's library: a Celebration in Renaissance Gastronomy and Verse. St Andrews : Queen Mary's Library
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2002) Sidney to Milton, 1580-1660 (transitions). London : Palgrave , pp. v-211.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2001) Much ado about nothing and The taming of the shrew. Palgrave Macmillan


    Offers ten essays representing various ways of interpreting Shakespeare's plays"Much Ado About Nothing" and "The Taming of the Shrew."

  • Wynne-Davies M. (1999) The Selected Poems of Sylvia Pankhurst. Manchester : Pankhurst Centre
  • Cerasano SP, Wynne-Davies M. (1998) Readings in renaissance women's drama. Psychology Press


    Focusing on issues from the contemporary critical reaction to women's drama and the authorship and performance histories of the plays to the longstanding and ...

  • Wynne-Davies M. (1998) Women poets of the Renaissance.
  • Cerasano SP, Wynne-Davies M. (1996) Renaissance drama by women. Burns & Oates


    This work is a volume of plays and documents, demonstrating the wide range of theatrical activity in which women were involved during the Renaissance period.

  • Wynne-Davies M. (1996) Women and Arthurian literature.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1994) The Renaissance.
  • Cerasano SP, Wynne-Davies M. (1992) Gloriana's face.
  • Chaucer G, Wynne-Davies M. (1992) The tales of the clerk ; and, The wife of Bath. Psychology Press


    This edition also includes a line-by-line gloss and historical introduction.

  • Wynne-Davies M. (1989) Bloomsbury guide to English literature.

Book chapters

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2014) 'A Cave of Despair and an Irish Mantle: Ireland in the Writings of Edmund Spenser and Elizabeth Cary'. in Fitzsimmons L (ed.) Identities in Early Modern English Writing Religion, Gender, Nation Turnhout Brepols Publishers 6, pp. 59-84.
    [ Status: Accepted ]


    It is possible to conceal oneself either in a cave or under a mantle. This chapter takes as its starting point two such images: the cave in relation to Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene and A View of the Present State of Ireland, and the mantle with regard to Elizabeth Cary in her own work, The History of the Life, Reign, and Death of Edward II [...] written by E.F. in the year 1627 and in the biography written by her daughter, Lucy Cary, The Lady Falkand: Her Life. In each case, the initial trope Is used in order to discuss both the personal and political implications for the writers in terms of race, nationhood, and faith. The following, more detailed analyses of the texts, however, serve to challenge seemingly clear interpretations by uncovering what is concealed under and behind convetional discourse, leading to an understanding of ho gender impacted Spenser's and Cary's engagement with early modern English colonialist policy in Ireland.

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2013) 'Izzat: Iqbal Khan's production of 'Much Ado About Nothing' (RSC 2012)'. in Hoshi K, Nadehara H, Ishibuchi R (eds.) Prismatic Shakespeare from the Renaissance to the Twenty-first Century Tokyo : Kinseido Publishing Co., Ltd , pp. 199-214.


    A discussion of how Hero is memorialised in the play with specific reference to the funeral scene and the choice of Delhi as a setting.

  • Bell L, Finella A, Wynne-Davies M. (2011) 'Sexual violence in literature; a cultural heritage?'. in Brown J, Walklate S (eds.) Handbook of Sexual Violence Routledge Article number 2 , pp. 52-68.


    Liam Bell, Amanda Finella and Marion Wynne Davies

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2011) 'Early Modern English Women Dramatists (1610-1690): New Perspectives'. in Suzuki M (ed.) The History of British Women's Writing, 1610-1690 Basingstoke, UK : Palgrave MacMillan 3 Article number 10 , pp. 187-203.


    In 1991 I applied for a lectureship at one of the UK’s leading universities; during the interview I was asked, by a staunch feminist critic, to name the Englishwomen dramatists from the Early Modern period. Before I could reply, she hastily corrected herself, ‘Oh, but of course there aren’t any, are there,’ choosing instead to ask about Early Modern women poets. Had I thought out an answer, I would have referred to two women, Elizabeth Cary and Mary Sidney, both of whose dramatic works had already been published.1 Still, I was forced to reconsider: the question had been well-intentioned and the questioner’s afterthought arose, not from a lack of commitment to women’s writing, but from the almost total lack of existing printed material – editorial and critical – devoted to Early Modern women dramatists. It was this throwaway comment that fuelled my own interest and led me to trace plays by sixteenth and seventeenth century Englishwomen, culminating in the collection, Renaissance Drama by Women: Texts and Documents (1996) that I edited with S.P.Cerasano.2 This essay sets out to follow some of that editorial and critical history, building upon the strengths of previous scholarship in order to suggest possible initiatives for the present and future. The study is divided into four sections: the first offers an overview of who the Early Modern women dramatists were and what they wrote; the second focuses on the availability of primary material and criticism; and the third looks at the perennial question of performance and performability. The fourth section consists of three ‘case studies’ that focus upon thematic issues raised in the previous sections: Innovation: Elizabeth Cary’s Edward II; Performability: Margaret Cavendish’s The Sociable Companions; and Continuity; Frances Boothby’s Marcelia. Through this discursive process I intend to locate and highlight areas where new perspectives are being, and need to be, generated. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, I didn’t get the job.

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2011) ''Close Keeping' and 'the pure temple': gendered discourses in the writings of Margaret More Roper and her descendants'. in Bollmann A (ed.) A Place of Their Own. Women Writers and Their Social Environments (1450-1700) Oxford : Peter Lang 13, pp. 69-86.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2010) 'The Theater'. in Bicks C, Summit J (eds.) The History of British Women's Writing, 1500-1610 Palgrave Macmillan 2, pp. 175-198.


    Traces the History of women's dramatic writing between 1500 and 1610 based upon teh ways in which women accessed unusual spaces in order to evade teh prohibition against writing for the public stage

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2010) ''Fornication in my Owne Defence': Rape, theft and Assault Discourses in Margaret Cavendish's The Sociable Companions'. in Salzman P (ed.) Expanding the Canon of Early Modern Womens Writing Newcastle upon Tyne, UK : Cambridge Scholars Publishing , pp. 34-48.


    This essay sets out to explore the ways in which Margaret Cavendish, in particular, engaged with contemporary legal discourse in order to expose earlier patriarchal prejudices. Initially, however, it is essential to describe briefly the history of rape legislature in order to understand how this double identity – force and theft – developed.

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2008) 'The good Lady Lumley’s desire: Iphigeneia and the Nonsuch banqueting house'. in Walthaus R, Corporaal M (eds.) Heroines of the Golden StAge: Women and Drama in England and Spain: 1500 – 1700 Barcelona : Reichenberger Press Estudios de Literatura 105, pp. 111-128.


    This essay uses the history of the building and garden at Nonsuch in order to argue that Jane Lumley's play was written with performance in mind, even if no such enactment took place.

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2007) ''To Have her Children With Her': Elizabeth Cary and Familial Influence'. in Wolfe H (ed.) The literary career and legacy of Elizabeth Cary, 1613-1680 Palgrave MacMillan , pp. 223-242.


    This collection is the first book-length study of the writings and influence ofElizabeth Cary, author of the first original play by a woman to be printed in ...

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2007) ''But Now I See That Heaven in her did Link a Spirit and a Person': Elizabeth Cary Presentee comme une sainte'. in Caillet P, Dubois-Nayt A, Mailhol J-C (eds.) L'écriture et les femmes en Grand-Bretagne (1540-1640) , pp. 79-96.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2003) ''How Great is Thy Change': Familial Discourses in the Cavendish Family'. in Clucas S (ed.) A princely brave woman Ashgate Pub Ltd , pp. 40-50.


    This collection of essays presents a variety of new approaches to the oeuvre of Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, one of the most influential and ...

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2003) 'Suicide at The Elephant and Castle, or did the lady vanish? Alternative Endings for Early Modern Women Writers'. in Dutton R, Findlay A, Wilson R (eds.) Region, religion and patronage Manchester Univ Pr , pp. 121-142.


    This book explores the network of social, political and spiritual connections in north west England during Shakespeare's formative years.

  • Wynne-Davies M. (2003) 'Rubbing at Whitewash: Prejudice, Race and Religion in The Merchant of Venice'. in Dutton JHAR (ed.) A Companion to Shakespeare, Vol III: The Comedies Oxford : Blackwell , pp. 358-375.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2000) ''For Worth Not Weakness Makes in Use But One': Literary Dialogues in an English Renaissance Family'. in Clarke D, Clarke E (eds.) This double voice , pp. 164-184.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2000) 'The 'Anxious Dream': Julia Margaret Cameron's Gothic Perspective'. in Robbins R, Wolfreys J (eds.) Victorian Gothic Macmillan Pub Ltd , pp. 129-147.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2000) ''So Much Worth': Autobiographical Narratives in the Work of Lady Mary Wroth'. in Dragstra H, Ottway S, Wilcox H (eds.) Betraying our selves , pp. 76-93.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (2000) ''My Fine Delitive Tomb': Liberating Sisterly Voices during the Civil War'. in D'Monté R, Pohl N (eds.) Female communities, 1600-1800 , pp. 111-128.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1999) 'The Rhythm of Difference: Language and Silence in The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith and The Piano'. in Madsen DL (ed.) Post-colonial literatures Pluto Pr , pp. 58-71.


    Groundbreaking collection of specially commissioned essays in which the ethnic literatures of North America are added to the developing postcolonial canon.

  • Wynne-Davies M. (1998) ''My Seeled Cham,ber and Dark Parlour room': the English Country House and Renaissance Women Dramatists'. in Cerasano SP, Wynne-Davies M (eds.) Readings in renaissance women's drama Psychology Press , pp. 60-68.


    Focusing on issues from the contemporary critical reaction to women's drama and theauthorship and performance histories of the plays to the longstanding and ...

  • Wynne-Davies M. (1998) 'Abandoned Women: female authorship in the middle ages'. in Shaw M (ed.) An introduction to women's writing , pp. 9-36.


    This is a comprehensive account of writing by women from the Middle Ages to the present day.

  • Wynne-Davies M. (1998) ''The Swallowing Womb': Consumed and Consuming Women in Titus Andronicus'. in Zimmerman S (ed.) Shakespeare's tragedies , pp. 212-236.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1997) 'Western Literature: 1300-1600'. in (ed.) Larousse Encyclopaedia , pp. 287-292.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1996) 'The Weavers of Spelles: Feminism and Canadian Poetry'. in Chew S, Hunter L (eds.) Borderblur , pp. 51-73.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1996) ''Just Scribbling': FICTION/THEORY in Nicole Brossard's Mauve Desert and Daphne Marlatt's Ana Historic'. in Easingwood P, Gross K, Hunter L (eds.) Difference and community , pp. 173-184.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1996) ''If We Shadows Have Offended': Edmund Spenser and the Elizabethan World of Patronage'. in Trill S, Zunder W (eds.) Writing and the English Renaissance Addison-Wesley Longman Ltd , pp. 17-32.


    This is a new series which has grown out of exciting developments in higher education.

  • Wynne-Davies M, Roberts A. (1995) ''The Sudden Fortuitous Discovery of the English book': Post-Colonial Writing'. in (ed.) The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature London : Bloomsbury , pp. 329-346.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1993) 'The Development of Romance Epic Themes after Spenser's Faerie Queene'. in Pheifer JD (ed.) Noble and Joyous Histories , pp. 265-292.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1992) 'The Queen's Masque: Renaissance Women and the Seventeenth-Century Court Masque'. in Wynne-Davies M (ed.) Gloriana's face , pp. 79-104.
  • Wynne-Davies M. (1991) ''The Swallowing Womb': Consumed and Consuming Women in Titus Andronicus'. in Wayne V (ed.) The Matter of difference Wheatsheaf Books , pp. 129-152.

Theses and dissertations

  • Karvounidou E. (2018) The manipulation of children’s literature : the Russian translations of Alice’s adventures in wonderland..
    [ Status: Approved ]


    The translation and publication process of foreign literary works and particularly of children’s literature in Russia has been through various changes and reforms following the socio-political shifts that occurred in different periods of Russian history. This thesis examines three Russian translations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland published before, during and after the Soviet Era. This periodisation is essential, as the main research question of the thesis is how the shifting socio-political circumstances and ideologies governing Russia in each of the three periods examined affected the translation of children’s literature. The study focuses on power and authority references, which are frequently identified in the book, as the creatures of Wonderland constantly insult and terrify Alice in their attempt to seize power. Through these examples and drawing on Even-Zohar’s polysystem theory, Toury’s concept of norms and House’s model of translation quality assessment, this thesis also answers questions as to how the norms prevailing in the source culture are transferred to the target culture, as well as what translation strategies are used by the Russian translators of Alice Adventures in Wonderland in each of the periods examined. Since the study takes place in a Russian context, references to censorship in translation and publication of children’s literature are inevitable, as previous research has demonstrated that publications were under state control, particularly during the Soviet years. Therefore, the translations used here as observational material, are also examined for any potential censorship effect. Despite the fact that the same examples are examined in all three translations, the result and the translators’ choices, differ to a great extent. The pre-Soviet translation has many deletions, related particularly to the violent scenes of the book. The Soviet translation is a literal rendering of Carroll’s original story. Finally, the post-Soviet translation is a creative work, which contains many additions that bring the story closer to the mentality and understanding of the Russian readership.


Wynne-Davies teaches a wide range of modules at Surrey, in particular Renaissance Literature and women writers. She also particularly enjoys teaching the postgraduate module, Gender and Identity: Marketing in Practice, for which she regularly received 100% satisfaction scores from students.

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