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Sarah Hodgson

Languages and Literature, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

Procuring Immortality: Eschatological Reform and the Pursuit of Worldly Fame in English Renaissance Literature

My thesis investigates how early modern citizens envisaged death and the afterlife, exploring how the changing religious culture of the English Reformation(s) influenced traditional eschatological beliefs. My research considers the extent to which early modern literature mirrors contemporary societal concerns and conversely, how Elizabethan and Jacobean social attitudes were influenced by Renaissance literature. Through close analysis of late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century spiritual and secular literatures, I endeavour to prove that there is a direct correlation between the dissolution of the relationship between the living and the dead and the emerging societal appetite for worldly fame and self-memorialisation. My thesis argues that dramatists responded to ecclesiastical changes within the ceremonial remembrance of the dead by portraying characters who seek to dictate their own post-mortem legacy prior to death, to secure their immortality by secular means.

Research Area

  • Languages and Literature

Publications

  • Select Bibliographies for the following Shakespeare editions published by Everyman's Library: 'Comedies: Volume 1', 'Comedies: Volume 2', 'Romances', 'Histories: Volume 1', 'Histories: Volume 2', 'Tragedies: Volume 1'. (Forthcoming, 2024). 
  • '"Are we all met?": Responding to Shakespeare's Canon through Online Community Performance', in Lockdown Shakespeare: New Evolutions in Performance and Adaptation, ed. by G. K. Allred, B. Broadribb, and E. Sullivan (London: Arden Shakespeare, 2022). (Co-author).

Conferences

  • Presenter, '"Speak of me as I am": Deathbed Self-eulogising as a Form of Epitaph-writing in Shakespeare's Othello', PGR Seminar Series, Shakespeare Institute, March 2024
  • Presenter, '"There is a new shepheard late vp sprong, / The which doth all afore him far surpasse": Samuel Daniel, Edmund Spenser, and the English Literary Tradition', British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, Shakespeare Institute, September 2023
  • Presenter, '"All our understandings are not to be built by the square of Greece and Italy": Samuel Daniel and the English Literary Tradition', Canterbury MEMS Festival, University of Kent, June 2023
  • Presenter, '"I can erect no other pillars to sustaine my memorie, but my lines": Samuel Daniel's Quest for Poetic Immortality', PGR Seminar Series, Shakespeare Institute, April 2023
  • Presenter, '"Here are my sons…/ There's my eternity": Anti-Providentialism and Secular Immortality in Cyril Tourneur's The Atheist's Tragedy (1611)', Midlands4Cities Research Festival, Online, June 2022
  • Presenter, '"Heaven hath through me restored the King to health": Helena as Mediatrix in All's Well That Ends Well', British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, Shakespeare Institute, June 2022
  • Panel Chair, Magic/Supernatural Panel, British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, Shakespeare Institute, June 2022
  • Panel Chair, Musical Shakespeare Panel, British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, Shakespeare Institute, June 2022
  • Panel Chair, Early Modern Sciences Panel, British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, Shakespeare Institute, June 2022

Public Engagement & Impact

  • Malone Society Orders Assistant, 2024-
  • Co-Chair, British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, Shakespeare Institute, 2024
  • Panellist, M4C Welcome Event, Online, June 2023
  • Registrar, British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, Shakespeare Institute, 2021-22
  • School Student Representative, Shakespeare Institute, 2021-22
  • English, Drama, and Creative Writing First-Year PhD Representative, University of Birmingham, 2021-22
  • Equality and Diversity Student Representative, Shakespeare Institute, 2019-20


Other Research Interests

  • Post-Reformation Christianity
  • Epitaphs and Monuments
  • Commemoration of the Dead
  • Early Modern Drama
  • Textual Legacies


Memberships

  • The Arts Society
  • The Church Monuments Society
  • The Malone Society
  • British Shakespeare Association


Awards

  • HEFi Horizon Teaching Award, University of Birmingham, awarded 2024
  • Midlands4Cities AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership Award (full funding), awarded 2021-2025
  • Shakespeare Institute Sir Stanley Wells Prize for outstanding scholarly work in an MA dissertation, awarded 2020 (£50)
  • Durham University Scholarship, awarded 2016-2019 (£16,500)


Teaching

  • Postgraduate Demonstrator at the Shakespeare Institute for the 'Shakespeare's Legacy' module (2023-24)
  • Postgraduate Demonstrator at the Shakespeare Institute for the 'Research Skills' module (2023-24)
  • Postgraduate Demonstrator at the Shakespeare Institute for the 'Plays and Poems of Shakespeare A' module (2022-23)

Previous Education

  • MA Shakespeare Studies at The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, 2019-2020
  • BA (Hons) English Literature at Durham University, 2016-2019 (Van Mildert College)


Other Skills

  • Website Design for the British Graduate Shakespeare Conference (BritGrad.com), 2023-24
  • Communications Management for the British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, 2021-22, 2023-24