Department of English


English Language and Literature

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Photo: Marta Straznicky

Marta Straznicky


PhD Ottawa

  • Early Modern theatre and print culture
  • book history
  • women’s drama
  • household theatre
  • history and theory of landscape architecture

My research is focused primarily on plays written by women between about 1550 and 1650 – their material texts, places of performance, and histories of reception. Since coming to Queen’s, I have been exploring the question of why women wrote plays in this period at all, when they had no access, as playwrights, to the public theatre. My first book, Privacy, Playreading, and Women’s Closet Drama (2004) was about the plays women wrote primarily for reading rather than staging. That work led me to delve into two related areas that were new to me, the history of reading and the place of drama in the early modern book trade. In an effort to consolidate my own and others’ research on these subjects, I published two essay collections, The Book of the Play: Playwrights, Stationers, and Readers in Early Modern England (2006), and Shakespeare’s Stationers: Studies in Cultural Bibliography (2013). Although I have most recently returned to work on women playwrights, with an edition of plays by Lady Mary Wroth and the Cavendish sisters (Women’s Household Plays, 2018), I remain deeply interested in the early modern book trade as a cultural field in which the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries found a completely different material expression than they did in the theatre. There is an immense amount of research to do in this area, and I would welcome inquiries from graduate students interested in pursuing it. I contributed an essay on “Shakespeare in the Book Trade” to Arden Companion to Shakespeare and Text, edited by Lukas Erne (forthcoming in 2021). Beyond my research in early modern literature and culture, I am launching new work on life writing, specifically diaries and immigrant letter-writing practices.


2020-21 Courses

  • ENGL 326 001/6.0 Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama
  • ENGL 421 001-2/3.0 Topics in Renaissance Literature I – Shakespeare and Print Culture
  • ENGL 832 Early Modern Literature and Culture II: Shakespeare and Early Modern Textual Culture

Recent and Forthcoming Publications

“Shakespeare in the Book Trade,” in Arden Companion to Shakespeare and Text (Arden, forthcoming 2021)

Women's Household Drama: 'Loves Victorie', 'A Pastorall', and 'The concealed Fansyes', co-editor with Sara Mueller (ITER and Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2018) (Winner of the 2018 Prize for Best Teaching Edition, Society for the Study of Early Modern Women & Gender)

“Wilton House, Theatre, Power,” The Intellectual Culture of the English Country House, 1500–1700 (Manchester University Press, 2015)

Shakespeare’s Stationers: Studies in Cultural Bibliography, editor (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013)