Dr Abigail Shinn

Staff details

Position Lecturer
Email A.Shinn (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7717 2963
Dr Abigail Shinn

I was born in London and educated at state schools in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk before studying for my BA at the University of Sussex. 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 Society of Renaissance Studies and the Renaissance Society of America.

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) and Popular Culture in the Age of Shakespeare (EN53401A) and contribute to teaching on Shakespeare (EN52211C).

I welcome research projects in the following areas:
Conversion Narratives
Early Modern Life Writing
Edmund Spenser
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. In particular, I am interested in the literary effects and influences of texts and performances 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), popular print such as ballads, almanacs, and beast fables, and oral storytelling and fairy tale. 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 a book project titled Spenser’s Popular Voices: Culture and Play which focuses on Spenser’s interest in cultural play and his adoption of models and practices associated with non-elite modes of storytelling. I also have a side project exploring queer temporalities. My first attempt at reading unbound by traditional concepts of time period is an exploration of the life writings of the early modern Catholic convert Sir Tobie Matthew alongside the work of the contemporary novelist Jhumpa Lahiri.



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 . 2018. The Senses and the Seventeenth-Century English Conversion Narrative. In: Robin Macdonald; Emilie Murphy and Elizabeth Swann, eds. Sensing the Sacred in Medieval and Early Modern Culture,. Abingdon, OXON: Routledge, pp. 99-116. ISBN 1472454669

Shinn, Abigail . 2017. Gender and Reproduction in the Spirituall Experiences. In: Helen Smith and Simon Ditchfield, eds. Conversions: Gender and Religious Change in Early Modern Europe. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 81-104. ISBN 978-0-7190-9915-1

Shinn, Abigail . 2017. Father Figures: Paternal Politics in the Conversion Narratives of Thomas Gage and James Wadsworth. In: Hannah Crawforth and Sarah Lewis, eds. Family Politics in Early Modern Literature. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 211-228. ISBN 978-1-137-51143-0

Shinn, Abigail . 2014. Cultures of Mending. In: Abigail Shinn; Andrew Hadfield and Matthew Dimmock, eds. The Ashgate Research Companion to Popular Culture in Early Modern England. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, pp. 235-252. ISBN 978-1-4094-3684-3

Shinn, Abigail . 2013. Spenser's Popular Intertexts. In: Emma Smith and Andy Kesson, eds. The Elizabethan Top Ten: Defining Print Popularity in Early Modern England. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, pp. 157-168. ISBN 978-1-4094-4029-1

Shinn, Abigail . 2009. 'Extraordinary discourses of vnnecessarie matter': Spenser's Shepheardes Calender and the Almanac Tradition. In: Andrew Hadfield and Matthew Dimmock, eds. Literature and Popular Culture in Early Modern England. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, pp. 137-150. ISBN 978-0-7546-6580-9


Shinn, Abigail . 2018. Searching for Spenser's Popular Voice. Spenser Review, 48(1.3),

Shinn, Abigail . 2017. Dreaming Converts in the Seventeenth Century: The Case of Philip Dandulo and Thomas Warmstry's The Baptized Turk. Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, 17(1), pp. 97-119. ISSN 1553-3786

Shinn, Abigail . 2014. Managing Copiousness for Pleasure and Profit: William Painter's Palace of Pleasure. Renaissance Studies, 28(2), pp. 205-224. ISSN 0269-1213

Further profile content

Administrative Roles

ECW Senior Tutor
GLITS coordinator (Goldsmiths Literature Seminar)
ECW library liaison officer