Research

Current Projects

Monograph, Technologies of Transport: Domestic Travel Writing in Early Modern England, 1600-1660

Technologies of Transport explores the reciprocal relationship between forms of writing and forms of travel in seventeenth-century England. I turn to a range of understudied travelers (e.g. Lady Isabella Twysden, Anthony Wood, John Norden, William Kemp, John Taylor, Ben Jonson), their practices of mobility (everyday and exceptional, actual and imagined), and their forms of writing (narrative account, marginal notation, numeric table, map) to offer a new literary history of early modern travel which reanimates the remarkable diversity of representational modalities at play in the seventeenth century. I argue that travelers’ engagements with distinct textual forms paralleled their engagements with forms of movement (walking, coach rides, horseback, etc.). How they marked their mobility—wrote, remembered, reflected—tells us something about how they conceived of a travel experience. By extension, literary forms, discourses, and paradigms also imprinted themselves on the minds of travelers, guiding and shaping subsequent travel acts and spatial thinking. It is a contention of this book that “travel thinking” was felt and forged in the early modern period, perhaps most fervently, at home.

"Moved by God: Mobility and Agency in Anna Trapnel's Report and Plea" (in submission, Renaissance Studies)

In 1654, a traveler of modest means, Anna Trapnel, embarked alone on a domestic journey that was both utterly remarkable and remarkably everyday. Remarkable in its expanse—stretching more than 280 miles across England’s southern shores—the passage was also arguably uneventful, indebted as it was to the introduction of stage-coach travel in 1650. This newfound mode of public transport rendered mobility more accessible to travelers, but, in doing so, it also paved the way for exceptional acts of journeying such as those undertaken by sectarian visionaries like Anna Trapnel. Her account, Report and Plea, or, a Narrative of her Journey from London to Cornwal [sic]...Wherein is annexed a Defiance, surfaces this link between accessibility and exceptionalism, both in terms of Trapnel’s mobility and her religious commitments. In other words, much like Trapnel’s role as a visionary (simultaneously an “empty vessel” for the Lord and a specific body/voice to be interpreted during her trances), her status as a traveler is wrought with contradictions. I suggest that Trapnel's negotiation of her own tenuous subject position as an unmarried learned woman on the move contributes to a broader understanding of how mobility was practiced and known in the seventeenth century.


Select Publications & Presentations

“Lady Anne Clifford’s ‘Way’ and Aristocratic Women’s Travel,” Traveling/Travailing Women: Early Modern England and the Wider World. Edited by Bernadette Andrea and Patricia Akhimie. University of Nebraska Press (forthcoming, 2018).

“The Afterlife of Ben Jonson’s Foot Voyage,” Renaissance Society of America, New Orleans, Louisiana (March 2018)

"Crossing and Communications in Shakespeare's England." The Cambridge Guide to the Worlds of Shakespeare. Edited by Bruce R. Smith and Katherine Rowe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2016).

“The Device of Travel: Technology, Mobility, and Performance (or, 17th-century hybrid high-performance vehicles),” Shakespeare Association of America, Vancouver, Canada (April 2015)

“The ‘rude mechanicals’ of travel: Motion, machination, and performance in Ben Jonson’s foot voyage,” Shakespeare Association of America, St. Louis, Missouri (April 2014)

“Travel in Time: Local Travel and Seventeenth-Century English Almanacs,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. 43.2 (Spring 2013): 419-43.