Dr Chloe Preedy

Research interests

My work focuses mainly on the ways in which early modern drama engaged with and responded to sixteenth- and seventeenth-century developments in the history of ideas. I am particularly interested in theatrical performance, early modern environmentalism, and questions of belief. My first book, Marlowe's Literary Scepticism: Politic Religion and Post-Reformation Polemic, explored the relationship between Christopher Marlowe's exposure to decades of inter-confessional antagonism and the sceptical attitudes toward religious belief that predominate in his poetry and his dramatic writings. In related articles, I looked at Marlowe's literary engagement with contemporary debates about miracles and the disputed issue of divine-right monarchy. My interest in early modern expressions of scepticism has led me to consider how allusions to classical philosophy and classical belief systems are used in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century drama, which recently culminated in two pieces on the role of prayer in early modern theatrical performance and the influence that debates about women’s education had on contemporary dramatic narratives of revenge. I have also published articles on Ben Jonson’s anti-Puritan drama and the dramatic representation of theatrical space, and I have works forthcoming or in development on Elizabethan Biblical drama, Thomas Heywood’s classical Four Ages plays, Robert Southwell’s Catholic poetry, and Thomas Nashe’s prose performances of authorship. My current book project investigates the use and significance of aerial imagery in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, exploring aspects such as air quality, flight, pollution, the weather, and wind power. I am conducting this research as part of an AHRC-funded project on Atmospheric Theatre: Open-Air Performance and the Environment, for which I am the lead investigator. I am also co-editing Marlowe's The Jew of Malta with Professor William Sherman for Arden Early Modern Drama.