Dr Abigail Shinn

Staff details

Dr Abigail Shinn




English and Creative Writing


A.Shinn (@gold.ac.uk)

Abigail specialises in popular culture, conversion, and life writing in the early modern period.

I joined the department of English and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths as a Lecturer in Early Modern Literature and Culture in 2017 having previously worked at the universities of St Andrews, Leeds, and York. I am a member of the executive committee of the International Spenser Society and a reviews editor for The Spenser Review.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD: ‘Edmund Spenser and the Popular Press’ (Sussex) 2010
  • MA in Early Modern Literature and Culture (Sussex) 2006
  • BA Hons English Literature (Sussex) 2005

Teaching and supervision

I currently convene the modules Renaissance Worlds (EN52227D/EN53327B), Shakespeare (EN52211C) and Writing Lives (EN53407A).

I welcome research projects in the following areas:
Conversion Narratives
Early Modern Life Writing
Conversion and drama
Edmund Spenser
Early Modern Animal Studies
Early Modern Popular Culture
Early Modern Poetry and Prose

Research interests

My work considers the intersection of culture and form in the early modern period. I am particularly interested in texts that reside outside of the canon and outside of perceived notions of the literary. These include conversion narratives (religious life writing recounting a change of faith or intensification of religious feeling) and popular print. In tandem, I also work on elite writers who self-consciously borrow from or imitate aspects of popular culture. My first book, Conversion Narratives in Early Modern England: Tales of Turning (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), is a study of the rhetorical tropes and narrative typologies which characterise conversion narratives in the years 1580-1660. I am currently working on two book projects. The Architecture of Conversion and the Early Modern Stage explores drama's engagement with the legacy of the Reformation through the lens of the architecture of conversion. It argues that in the 1590s and early 1600s dramatists made imaginative use of the complex dilemmas posed by such converted structures, which included playhouses, drawing attention to the uncomfortable and inconvenient instabilities that they manifest. Spenser’s Popular Voices: Culture and Play focuses on Spenser’s interest in cultural play and his adoption of models and practices associated with non-elite modes of storytelling.

Publications and research outputs


Stenner, Rachel and Shinn, Abigail. 2024. Edmund Spenser and Animal Life. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9783031426407

Shinn, Abigail. 2018. Conversion Narratives in Early Modern England: Tales of Turning. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9783319965772

Edited Book

Shinn, Abigail; Hadfied, Andrew and Dimmock, Matthew, eds. 2014. The Ashgate Research Companion to Popular Culture in Early Modern England. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate. ISBN 9781409436843

Edited Journal

Shinn, Abigail and Vine, Angus, eds. 2014. The Copious Text: Encyclopaedic Books in Early Modern England, Renaissance Studies, 28(2). 0269-1213

Shinn, Abigail and Mazur, Peter, eds. 2013. Narrating Conversion in the Early Modern World, Journal of Early Modern History, (17). 1385-3783

Book Section

Shinn, Abigail. 2024. Spenser’s ‘apish crue’: Aping in Prosopopoia or Mother Hubberds Tale. In: Rachel Stenner and Abigail Shinn, eds. Edmund Spenser and Animal Life. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave, pp. 117-138. ISBN 9783031426407

Shinn, Abigail. 2024. Animal/fable. In: Charlotte Scott, ed. Shakespeare/Nature: Contemporary Readings in the Human and Non-human. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 189-204. ISBN 9781350259836

Shinn, Abigail. 2023. Conversion. In: Margaret King, ed. Oxford Bibliographies in Renaissance and Reformation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Shinn, Abigail. 2023. Spenser's Popular Pastoral: Hodgepodges and Genre Trouble in The Shepheardes Calender. Sillages Critique(34), ISSN 1272-3819

Shinn, Abigail. 2023. “All poetry is born of play”: Spenser with Johan Huizinga. Spenser Studies, 37, pp. 265-281. ISSN 0195-9468

Shinn, Abigail. 2023. 'Come to my house': The Architecture of Conversion and Marlowe's The Jew of Malta. Modern Philology, 120(4), pp. 419-443. ISSN 0026-8232

Administrative Roles

ECW Senior Tutor
Programme Lead BA English
ECW library liaison officer