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Dr Bethany Dubow

I did my undergraduate in English at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, before joining Somerville College, University of Oxford, for a Masters in English Literature (1550-1700). I returned to the University of Cambridge for my PhD, this time a member of King’s.

Before joining Oriel, I held an AHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge. In 2021, I held a Wiener-Anspach Doctoral Research Fellowship at the Université libre de Bruxelles.

Research Interests

My research tracks relations – and agitations – between geometry, ecology and early modern English poetics. My PhD, on the ‘stranger mathematics’ of The Faerie Queene (1590;1596), reveals how Spenser’s verse geometries shape a poetic world that qualifies, even rivals, contemporary cosmic models. I am currently preparing the monograph based on this thesis for publication under the (provisional) title: Shape, Misshaped: Sixteenth-Century Poetics, Mathematics and The Faerie Queene. I have also begun work on my second book-length project: Early Modern Ecopoetics.

In 2023, my study of Spenser’s ‘toadstool poetics’ was awarded the ISS Isabel MacCaffrey Prize for the best essay on Spenser published in 2021-22.


‘“Roote out those odde rymes”! The unruly matter of early modern English verse’, in Special Forum: Early English New Materialisms, ed. Adin Lears and Tekla Bude, Exemplaria: Medieval, Early Modern, Theory (2023)

‘Toadstool Poetics: Alliteration in The Faerie Queene, Spenser Studies 36 (2022), 91-135

‘Fractal Geometry in Errour’s Den’ in Kirsten Schuhmacher et al., ‘Spenserian Futures’, Spenser Review 50 (Fall 2020),

(with Bonnie Lander Johnson) ‘Allegories of Creation: Glassmaking, Forests and Fertility in Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi’, Renaissance Drama 45, no. 1 (Spring, 2017), 107-37

(forthcoming) ‘A Fruitful-Headed Beast? Rhyme in The Faerie Queene’, in Spenser and Animal Life, ed. Abigail Shinn and Rachel Stenner (Palgrave, exp. 2023)