St John's College Oxford
Professor John Pitcher

Professor John Pitcher

Tutorial Fellow in English Professor of English Literature University of Oxford


At St John’s I have taught most parts of the English undergraduate degree, Course I (from Old English literature through to Wordsworth, and some modern writing), and several parts of Course II (specialist medieval topics and some philology). I now concentrate on early modern poetry, drama and fiction, especially Shakespeare and the Elizabethans. Recent teaching for the English Faculty includes lectures and classes on Shakespeare and on Elizabethan writers and publishers, supervision of graduate theses on early modern lyric and music in England, and graduate classes on the Sidneys as a family of writers;  Renaissance Tragicomedy; and dramatic form from the Greeks to Shakespeare. 

Research Interests

Shakespeare; Elizabethan and Jacobean drama and poetry; Renaissance men of letters; early modern science and literature; bibliographical, textual and editorial theory; the history of the English book 1520s to 1670s; literary and intellectual connections between England and Italy before the Civil War.

Special interests: the Elizabethan poet and historian Samuel Daniel (two volumes of my OUP critical edition of Daniel will appear in 2019, and I was co-organizer of an international conference on Daniel held in September 2015); Publishers and Writers in Shakespeare’s England (I am co-author of a book with this title with Freyja Cox Jensen, an historian at the University of Exeter: due for publication in 2017); and English Pleasures: a history of pleasure in early modern England.

Select recent publications

  • The Winter’s Tale (Arden Shakespeare, 2010)
  • Margaret, Countess of Cumberland’s Prayse of Private Life, presented by Samuel Daniel’, chapter in In the Prayse of Writing, ed. S.P. Cerasano and Steven May (British Library Board, 2012)
  • ‘Negotiating a marriage for Lady Anne Clifford: Samuel Daniel’s Advice’, Review of English Studies, 64 (2013)
  • ‘Samuel Daniel’s masque The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses: Texts and Payments’, Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, 26 (2013)