Marion Wynne-Davies

Professor Marion Wynne-Davies

Professor of English Literature
+44 (0)1483 683159
20 AD 02
Thursdays 2-5

Academic and research departments

School of Literature and Languages.



Research interests



Marion Wynne-Davies (2020)How Margaret Cavendish Mapped a Blazing World, In: Lisa Lisa, Bill Angus (eds.), Reading the Road, from Shakespeare's Crossways to Bunyan's Highwayspp. 220-237 Edinburgh University Press

Marion Wynne-Davies’s chapter quotes ‘Heaven was too long a reach for man to recover at one step and therefore God first placed him upon the earth’. Maps, and the roads they depicted, were therefore not only useful for navigation on earth, but also a guide on the spiritual road to ‘heaven’. This chapter considers Margaret Cavendish’s fictional accounts of road travel which are derived not from scientific exploration or a quest for spiritual truth, but from political necessity and harsh personal experience. Wynne-Davies argues that in order to understand the roads and journeys of Cavendish’s ‘blazing world’, it becomes necessary to consider her material experience of space in both its political and personal evocations. The Duchess’s fantastical narrative alludes to a host of material journeys: William Barentsz’s attempt to discover a North East passage; the protective delta of Antwerp; and the journeys to London and to Welbeck Abbey. The final confluence of the worlds occurs on the road through Nottinghamshire, as the Empress and the Duchess – in spirit form – fly above what is the A60 today. While Speed claims that ‘Heaven was too long a reach’, Cavendish’s ‘blazing world’ both challenges and undermines any certainty, political, spiritual or gendered, on the roads of early modern Britain.

LIAM GEARON, MARION WYNNE‐DAVIES (2018)Literature and Security: CIA Engagement in the Arts. What Philosophers of Education Need to Know and Why, In: Journal of philosophy of education52(4)pp. 742-761

These are broad and expansive themes and so what we wish to do is to provide a perhaps dramatic case study example of state engagement with the arts for political and security purposes. Our critical case is that of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) engagement with the arts during the Cold War and newly uncovered archival evidence of the CIA involvement with the writers’ organisation which is still thriving today, International PEN. Our argument is that the state security engagement with the arts and literature is an important exemplar of what we term the influence of public education by often covert means, which may derogatively be referred to as propaganda, or what Jameson called the ‘political unconscious’. From the archival evidence arising from CIA engagement with the arts we derive three principles of intellectual framing for analysis of the critical aesthetic of philosophy of education: (1) the political aesthetic of security and literature; (2) cultural citizenship as security; (3) the educational ecosystem of literature as securitisation. In sum, we suggest philosophers of education sharpen their treatments of literature in education with more realistic and informed assessments of the aesthetic in political and security contexts. Methodologically, by implication, we think we also make the case for philosophers of education to make greater and more frequent use of primary documentation, particularly archival sources in order to be able to substantiate such sharpened treatments.

Marion Wynne-Davies (2021)‘Very Secret Kept’: Facts and Re-Creation in Margaret Hannay’s Biographies of Mary Sidney Herbert and Mary Wroth, In: Authorizing Early Modern European Womenpp. 115-128 Amsterdam University Press
Marion Wynne-Davies (2016)Editing Early Modern Women's Dramatic Writing for Performance, In: Sarah C.E. Ross, Paul Salzman (eds.), Editing Early Modern Womenpp. 156-175 Cambridge University Press
M Wynne-Davies (2003)'How Great is Thy Change': Familial Discourses in the Cavendish Family, In: S Clucas (eds.), A princely brave womanpp. 40-50 Ashgate Pub Ltd

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 ...

M Wynne-Davies (1998)Women poets of the Renaissance
M Wynne-Davies (1995)Visions of Medieval Women, In: The Cambridge Quarterly24(4)
M Wynne-Davies (1991)'The Swallowing Womb': Consumed and Consuming Women in Titus Andronicus, In: V Wayne (eds.), The Matter of differencepp. 129-152 Wheatsheaf Books
SP Cerasano, M Wynne-Davies (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.

M Wynne-Davies (2002)Sidney to Milton, 1580-1660 (transitions) Palgrave
M Wynne-Davies (2000)'So Much Worth': Autobiographical Narratives in the Work of Lady Mary Wroth, In: H Dragstra, S Ottway, H Wilcox (eds.), Betraying our selvespp. 76-93
M Wynne-Davies (2000)The collected works of Mary Sidney Herbert Countess of Pembroke, In: CAMBRIDGE QUARTERLY29(2)pp. 181-184 OXFORD UNIV PRESS
M Wynne-Davies (2000)Mary Sidney Herbert, In: The Cambridge Quarterly29(2)
M Wynne-Davies (2010)A Touching Text: Dundee, Tehran and The Winter's Tale, In: C Murray, K Williams, R Jones, H van Koten (eds.), Debating the Difference: Essays on 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.

M Wynne-Davies (1998)Abandoned Women: female authorship in the middle ages, In: M Shaw (eds.), An introduction to women's writingpp. 9-36

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

M Wynne-Davies (1999)The Rhythm of Difference: Language and Silence in The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith and The Piano, In: DL Madsen (eds.), Post-colonial literaturespp. 58-71 Pluto Pr

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

SP Cerasano, M Wynne-Davies (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 ...

M Wynne-Davies (1988)Rewriting the Renaissance, In: Renaissance Studies2(1)
M Wynne-Davies (2003)Suicide at the Elephant and Castle, or did the lady vanish? Alternative endings for early modern women writers, In: R Dutton, A Findlay, R Wilson (eds.), Region, Religion and Patronage: Lancastrian Shakespearepp. 121-142
M Wynne-Davies, G Low (2006)A Black British Canon? Palgrave
M Wynne-Davies (2003)Suicide at The Elephant and Castle, or did the lady vanish? Alternative Endings for Early Modern Women Writers, In: R Dutton, A Findlay, R Wilson (eds.), Region, religion and patronagepp. 121-142 Manchester Univ Pr

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

M Wynne-Davies (1997)Western Literature: 1300-1600, In: Larousse Encyclopaediapp. 287-292
M Wynne-Davies (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."

M Wynne-Davies (1994)Cultural Aesthetics, In: Modern Language Review89(1)
MARION WYNNE-DAVIES (2021)Sylvia Pankhurst: Poetry and Politics, In: CHRISTOPHER WILEY, LUCY ELLA ROSE (eds.), Women's suffrage in word, image, music, stage and screen: the making of a movementpp. 17-33 Routledge
M Wynne-Davies (1996)'So Much Worth as Lives in You': Veiled Portraits of the Sidney Women, In: Sidney Newsletter and Journal14(1)pp. 45-56
P Salzman, M Wynne-Davies (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.

M Wynne-Davies (1996)The Weavers of Spelles: Feminism and Canadian Poetry, In: S Chew, L Hunter (eds.), Borderblurpp. 51-73
M Wynne-Davies (2004)Alice Sutcliffe, In: The New Dictionary of National Biography
M Wynne-Davies (2009)Oral Traditions and Gender in Early Modern Literary Texts, In: Modern Language Review104(1)pp. 167-168 Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA)
M Wynne-Davies (1998)'My Seeled Cham,ber and Dark Parlour room': the English Country House and Renaissance Women Dramatists, In: SP Cerasano, M Wynne-Davies (eds.), Readings in renaissance women's dramapp. 60-68 Psychology Press

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

M Wynne-Davies (2014)A Cave of Despair and an Irish Mantle: Ireland in the Writings of Edmund Spenser and Elizabeth Cary, In: L Fitzsimmons (eds.), Identities in Early Modern English Writing Religion, Gender, Nation6pp. 59-84 Turnhout Brepols Publishers

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.

M Wynne-Davies (2012)Ophelia's Ghost, In: R Wilson, C Bells, J Gonzalez (eds.), Alicante Journal of English Studies/Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses25pp. 151-166 Departamento de Filología Inglesa de la Universidad de Alicante

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.

M Wynne-Davies (1992)The Queen's Masque: Renaissance Women and the Seventeenth-Century Court Masque, In: M Wynne-Davies (eds.), Gloriana's facepp. 79-104
M Wynne-Davies (1992)'he Conquered al the regne of Femenye': feminist criticism of Chaucer, In: Critical Survey4(2)pp. 107-113
M Wynne-Davies (2016)"Theatre is a temple to memory": Terry Hawkes and the Cardiff School, In: Shakespeare Studies: an annual gathering of research, criticism and review44pp. 91-100 Boston University
M Wynne-Davies (1999)The Selected Poems of Sylvia Pankhurst Pankhurst Centre
L Bell, A Finella, M Wynne-Davies (2011)Sexual violence in literature; a cultural heritage?, In: J Brown, S Walklate (eds.), Handbook of Sexual Violence(2)pp. 52-68 Routledge

Liam Bell, Amanda Finella and Marion Wynne Davies

M Wynne-Davies (1994)A Tale of Two Languages, In: Bilingual JapanIIIpp. 2-4
M Wynne-Davies (2009)The Liminal Woman in Mary Wroth’s Love’s Victory, In: Sidney Journal26pp. 65-82 Sidney Society
M Wynne-Davies (2011)Early Modern English Women Dramatists (1610-1690): New Perspectives, In: M Suzuki (eds.), The History of British Women's Writing, 1610-16903(10)pp. 187-203 Palgrave MacMillan

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.

M Wynne-Davies (1994)Wicked Women, Wellbred sisters, In: The Cambridge Quarterly23(1)pp. 54-66
M Wynne-Davies (1994)The Renaissance
M Wynne-Davies (1991)The Shrine of Julian of Norwich, In: Medieval Feminist Newsletterpp. 12-14
M Wynne-Davies (1994)'All By Myself in the Moonlight': Edith Wharton's age of Innocence, In: Kobe College StudiesXLI(2)pp. 1-14
M Wynne-Davies (2003)Rubbing at Whitewash: Prejudice, Race and Religion in The Merchant of Venice, In: JHAR Dutton (eds.), A Companion to Shakespeare, Vol III: The Comediespp. 358-375 Blackwell
M Wynne-Davies (1996)'If We Shadows Have Offended': Edmund Spenser and the Elizabethan World of Patronage, In: S Trill, W Zunder (eds.), Writing and the English Renaissancepp. 17-32 Addison-Wesley Longman Ltd

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

M Wynne-Davies (1988)Tim Liardet. Clay Hill, In: The New Welsh Review1(3)
M Wynne-Davies (1988)Yeats and Arthur, In: Yeats Annual6pp. 134-147
M Wynne-Davies (2000)The 'Anxious Dream': Julia Margaret Cameron's Gothic Perspective, In: R Robbins, J Wolfreys (eds.), Victorian Gothicpp. 129-147 Macmillan Pub Ltd
M Wynne-Davies (2013)'More women: more weeping': the communal lamentation of Early Modern women in the works of Mary Sidney Herbert and Mary Wroth, In: B Price, P Finnerty (eds.), Early Modern Literary Studies Early Modern Literary Studies / Humanities Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University

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

M Wynne-Davies (2010)'Fornication in my Owne Defence': Rape, theft and Assault Discourses in Margaret Cavendish's The Sociable Companions, In: P Salzman (eds.), Expanding the Canon of Early Modern Womens Writingpp. 34-48 Cambridge Scholars Publishing

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.

M Wynne-Davies (2010)The Theater, In: C Bicks, J Summit (eds.), The History of British Women's Writing, 1500-16102pp. 175-198 Palgrave Macmillan

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

SP Cerasano, M Wynne-Davies (1992)Gloriana's face
M Wynne-Davies (2013)Izzat: Iqbal Khan's production of 'Much Ado About Nothing' (RSC 2012), In: K Hoshi, H Nadehara, R Ishibuchi (eds.), Prismatic Shakespeare from the Renaissance to the Twenty-first Centurypp. 199-214 Kinseido Publishing Co., Ltd

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.

M Wynne-Davies (1996)'An Arm Clothed in White Samite': Twentieth-century Women Writers and the Arthurian Legends, In: Women and Arthurian Literature: Seizing the Sword Palgrave MacMillan

Mary Stewart's Arthurian novels are some of the most enjoyed twentieth-century versions of the legends.She is one of the most important women writers to address herself to the stories of Arthur.

M Wynne-Davies (2007)Women of the Dundee Howff, In: History Scotland7(6)pp. 34-41
G Chaucer, M Wynne-Davies (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.

M Wynne-Davies (2011)Margaret Atwood Northcote House Publishers 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.

M Wynne-Davies (1996)'Just Scribbling': FICTION/THEORY in Nicole Brossard's Mauve Desert and Daphne Marlatt's Ana Historic, In: P Easingwood, K Gross, L Hunter (eds.), Difference and communitypp. 173-184
M Wynne-Davies (2008)The good Lady Lumley’s desire: Iphigeneia and the Nonsuch banqueting house, In: R Walthaus, M Corporaal (eds.), Heroines of the Golden StAge: Women and Drama in England and Spain: 1500 – 1700Estudipp. 111-128 Reichenberger Press

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.

M Wynne-Davies (2000)'For Worth Not Weakness Makes in Use But One': Literary Dialogues in an English Renaissance Family, In: D Clarke, E Clarke (eds.), This double voicepp. 164-184
M Wynne-Davies (2010)Professional Training Year, In: Report Series20
M Wynne-Davies, A Roberts (1995)'The Sudden Fortuitous Discovery of the English book': Post-Colonial Writing, In: The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literaturepp. 329-346 Bloomsbury
Marion Wynne-Davies (2009)Orange Women, Female Spectators, and Roaring Girls: Women and Theater, In: Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England22pp. 19-26 Rosemont Publishing & Printing Corp DBA Associated University Presses

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.

M Wynne-Davies (1996)Women and Arthurian literature
M Wynne-Davies (2007)'To Have her Children With Her': Elizabeth Cary and Familial Influence, In: H Wolfe (eds.), The literary career and legacy of Elizabeth Cary, 1613-1680pp. 223-242 Palgrave MacMillan

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 ...

M Wynne-Davies (2007)'But Now I See That Heaven in her did Link a Spirit and a Person': Elizabeth Cary Presentee comme une sainte, In: P Caillet, A Dubois-Nayt, J-C Mailhol (eds.), L'écriture et les femmes en Grand-Bretagne (1540-1640)pp. 79-96
M Wynne-Davies (2010)”With such a Wife ‘tis heaven on earth to dwell”; Memorialising Early Modern Englishwomen, In: Journal of the Northern Renaissance(2.1)pp. 128-148
M Wynne-Davies (2004)Margaret Cavendish, In: The New Dictionary of National Biography
M Wynne-Davies (1999)Women Dramatists of the Early Modern period, In: Women's Writing6(1)
M Wynne-Davies (1992)The Voices of Romance, In: Yearbook of English Studies22
M Wynne-Davies (1993)The Development of Romance Epic Themes after Spenser's Faerie Queene, In: JD Pheifer (eds.), Noble and Joyous Historiespp. 265-292
M Wynne-Davies (2011)'Close Keeping' and 'the pure temple': gendered discourses in the writings of Margaret More Roper and her descendants, In: A Bollmann (eds.), A Place of Their Own. Women Writers and Their Social Environments (1450-1700)13pp. 69-86 Peter Lang
M Wynne-Davies (2000)'My Fine Delitive Tomb': Liberating Sisterly Voices during the Civil War, In: R D'Monté, N Pohl (eds.), Female communities, 1600-1800pp. 111-128

Additional publications