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Dr Jane Partner


Fellow type
Staff Fellow

Fellow and College Associate Professor in English; Director of Studies in English


I am a Fellow, College Associate Professor and Part II Director of Studies in English at Trinity Hall. I also lecture and carry out other undergraduate and graduate teaching in the Faculty of English.
My teaching and research interests are wide-ranging and span the disciplines of English Literature and Art History, concentrating on the early modern and contemporary periods. I also have a practice as a poet and visual artist that is intimately connected with my academic work.

My first book, Poetry and Vision in Early Modern England (Palgrave, 2017), reveals the ways in which seventeenth-century English poets used ideas about vision derived from visual art, optical science, theology and philosophy to examine the emergent conceptions of the subjective and objective. Current research includes work towards my next monograph, Reading the Early Modern Body. This project reveals the pervasiveness of the early modern habit of mind to understand bodies as readable and inscribable. I bring together the diverse ways that actual material texts could be applied to the body – through embroidered clothing, inscribed jewellery, medicinal amulets and script tattoos – and map onto these the more abstract respects in which bodies might be considered legible: through signs of the passions, courtly conduct or rhetorical gesture. This topic allows me in particular to develop my interest in working with literary texts in conjunction with visual art and material culture.

Other ongoing research interests include the muses and early modern literary authorship, jewellery in early modern literature and culture, artists’ books, and text in contemporary sculpture. I am currently writing a history of visual poetry for the Routledge Companion to Literature and Art (2023).

Within my creative practice, I write poetry that is often concerned with visual experience and with embodiment, and that sometimes takes a visual form. I make material texts across media that include historic printmaking and metalworking, some of which can be worn.

At Trinity Hall I regularly teach the core undergraduate papers that cover Literature 1500-1700, Shakespeare and Practical Criticism and Critical Practice, as well as the final year optional papers Visual Culture and Material Renaissance. I also supervise dissertations on a wide range of literary and artistic topics and on intersections between the two fields.