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William Green

Languages and Literature, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

Thomas Middleton and the Adaptation of Shakespeare: Late Jacobean Politics in Print and Performance, 1616-1623.

Since the mid-nineteenth century, various critics have investigated the likelihood that the texts of many of Shakespeare’s plays, as published in the First Folio of 1623, may exist only in the form of adaptations created by Shakespeare’s younger contemporary Thomas Middleton in the years immediately following the original author’s death in 1616. Originally thought to be confined to the study of just two plays – Macbeth and Measure for Measure – recent years have heralded a veritable surge in scholarly interest in this hypothesis, and Middleton has since been suggested to have also given similar treatment to All’s Well That Ends WellTitus Andronicus, and possibly others. Accordingly, my doctoral thesis will be the first study to focus exclusively on Middleton’s role as an adaptor of Shakespeare, considering what this possibility means for our present-day understanding of Shakespeare’s cultural standing among readers in late Jacobean England, and how these texts can inform us about Middleton’s own artistry as a dramatist, whose penchant for the creation of politically pointed, often caustically satirical works seemingly stands at odds with the social, political, and religious ambiguity which has so often been associated with Shakespeare’s plays.

Research Area

  • Languages and Literature



  • 'Shakespeare, Middleton, and the Evidence of Influence: Rethinking Collaboration and Intertextuality'. Submitted for consideration.


  • "'Such violent hands": The Theme of Cannibalism and the Implications of Authorship in the 1623 Text of Titus Andronicus', Exchanges (2020). Forthcoming.


  • 'Shakespeare's Macbeth (Directed by Damian Cruden for Lunchbox Theatrical Productions) at Shakespeare's Rose Theatre, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, 13 July 2019', Shakespeare (Published online 21 August 2019).


  • '"Make Me a Christian": Henry VIIIThe Island Princess, and John Fletcher's Anti-Catholicism', Birmingham Journal of Literature and Language, 7:1 (2015), pp. 1-9.



  • 'Fake News, 1624: English Corantos of the 1620s in the Drama of Thomas Middleton'. To be presented at Pulpit, Playhouse, and Page: Theatrical and Non-Theatrical Exchange in Early Modern England (University of Sheffield, 28 - 29 May 2020).


  • 'Shakespeare, "Our Other Shakespeare", and the Boundaries of the Middleton Canon: Rethinking Collaboration and Intertextuality from 1604 to 1606'. Presented at Shakespeare and Co.: On the Page and On the Stage (University of York, 18 May 2019).


  • '"Such violent hands": Political Cannibalism and the Implications of Authorship in the Folio Text of Titus Andronicus'. Presented at 'Bites Here and There': Literal and Metaphorical Cannibalism Across Disciplines (University of Warwick, 17 November 2018).

  • 'Macbeth's Literary Double: The Revenger's Tragedy, the King's Men, and the Trope of the Gunpowder Play'. Presented at The British Graduate Shakespeare Conference (Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, 31 May - 2 June 2018).


  • '"What excellent fools religion makes of men": Looking for Popery in Ben Jonson's Sejanus'. Presented at Writing Revolutions and Revolutionary Writing (University of Birmingham, 23 June 2015).


  • 'Critiquing Religious Conflicts: Henry VIIIThe Island Princess, and John Fletcher's Anti-Catholicism'. Presented at Literature and Conflict (University of Birmingham, 20 June 2014).

Public Engagement & Impact


  • '"Heaven grant us its peace, but not the King of Hungary's!": News Culture, the Thirty Years War, and Thomas Middleton's Measure for Measure'. Shakespeare Institute Research Seminar (Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon). Forthcoming.


  • 'Researching Musical Interpolation in the Texts of Macbeth and Measure for Measure'. Research relay presentation delivered at the 2019 Midlands3Cities Research Festival (Maple House, Birmingham, 23 May 2019).

  • 'Macbeth the Musical: Understanding Theatrical Interpolation in Thomas Middleton's Adaptations of Shakespeare'. Shakespeare Institute Research Seminar (Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, 21 May 2019).

  • Took part, in association with the Playhouse Lab (Workshop Theatre, University of Leeds), in an impromptu staged reading of Thomas Middleton's A Yorkshire Tragedy, as part of the programming for the 2019 York International Shakespeare Festival (University of York, 18 May 2019).

  • Served as an invited speaker at the student support event Demystifying Student Progress Panels, targeted towards advising PhD students in their first year of study (University of Birmingham, 8 March 2019).

  • Invited to participate in the Shakespeare Institute/Royal Shakespeare Company 'Director's Briefing' event in preparation for the RSC's summer 2019 production of William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, directed by Gregory Doran (Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, 4 March 2019).


  • 'Thomas Middleton: Adapting Shakespeare'. Research poster presented at the 2018 Midlands3Cities Research Festival (Maple House, Birmingham, 24 May 2018).


  • 'The Presence of Shakespeare's Schooling in Three Early Comedies'. Talk delivered to staff and volunteers at Shakespeare's Schoolroom and Guildhall (King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon, 19 October 2016).

  • Served as part of the original team which opened to the public Stratford-upon-Avon's medieval guildhall (today part of King Edward VI School, and at which Shakespeare likely attended grammar school) as part of the visitor attraction Shakespeare's Schoolroom and Guildhall (officially opened 23 April 2016 as part of worldwide commemorations of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death). From June 2016 until September 2017, I was also involved in the day-to-day running of the visitor attraction in my capacity as a duty manager.

Other Research Interests

My primary research interest relates to the plays produced for the London theatre industry during the English reign of King James VI and I (1603-1625), with a particular focus on the intersection between these plays and contemporary social and political issues.

Other research interests include:

  • Early modern English drama, c.1576-1642.
  • The textual transmission of early modern drama, poetry, and prose.
  • Religious history, particularly Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Caroline anti-Catholicism.
  • Shakespeare and his contemporaries in modern performance.


  • British Shakespeare Association (since September 2017)
  • Malone Society (since February 2018)

Teaching and Other Institutional Positions

2019-20: Postgraduate Teaching Associate (Shakespeare Institute)

  • Distance learning tutor on the MA module 'Shakespeare's Craftsmanship'.

2018-20: Postgraduate Research Mentor (University of Birmingham)

Early Career Training

  • Pedagogy for Engaging Distance Learners: An Online Engagement Framework for Higher Education (University of Birmingham, 8 January 2020)
  • Introduction to Assessment and Feedback for Postgraduates (University of Birmingham, 18 November 2019)
  • Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (University of Birmingham, 30 September 2019)

Previous Education and Qualifications

  • BA English with First-Class Honours (University of Winchester, 2010-2013)
  • MA English Literature (University of Birmingham, 2013-2015)