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Marta Straznicky


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 performance. That work led me to delve into two related areas, the history of reading and the place of drama in the early modern book trade. I published two essay collections on these topics, The Book of the Play: Playwrights, Stationers, and Readers in Early Modern England (2006), and Shakespeare’s Stationers: Studies in Cultural Bibliography (2013). I have 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. I contributed an essay on “Shakespeare in the Book Trade” to The Arden Research Companion to Shakespeare and Text, edited by Lukas Erne (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.

Research Interests
  • Early Modern theatre and print culture
  • women’s drama
  • household theatre
  • history and theory of landscape architecture
  • life writing
Selected Publications
  • “Shakespeare in the Book Trade,” in The Arden Research Companion to Shakespeare and Text (2021)
  • “Wilton House, Theatre, Power,” The Intellectual Culture of the English Country House, 1500–1700 (2015)
Areas of Study
Diaspora and Globalization Studies
Gender and Sexuality Studies
Performance Studies
Print Culture and Textual Studies
Genres and Forms
Autobiography and Memoir
Travel Writing

Department of English, Queen's University

Watson Hall
49 Bader Lane
Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153


Telephone (613) 533-6000 ext. 74446 extension 74446


Telephone (613) 533-6000 ext. 74447 extension 74447

Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.