Imogen Felstead

Twitter: @earlymodimm

Previous education

Master’s Degree, English Literary Research, Lancaster University (Distinction)
Bachelor’s Degree, English Literature, Lancaster University (First Class)

Thesis title

Stage(d) Hands in Early Modern Drama


Professor Alison Findlay, Lancaster University

Research summary

My research examines the hand staged in early modern drama and culture as the site where meaning originates. I situate the hand within anthropological, materialist and phenomenological critical approaches to argue its functions as an ‘extroceptive’ tool (Merleau-Ponty, 2014: 78).

Merleau-Ponty’s notion of the body as a natural instrument of expression, one which registers and defines the individual’s spatial being-in-the-world, will inform my study of staged hands in early modern texts. The hand constructs subjectivity: materially and psychologically in the natural, built and social landscapes represented on stage and experienced in the early modern world. Drawing on my own first-hand experience to develop phenomenological readings I open new and remarkable ways to feel, explore and manipulate early modern texts.

My materialist and phenomenological analysis will offer a philosophical investigation of staged hands and their effects and develop original ways of ‘knowing’ early modern plays through the body (Smith, 2010: 122). The hand is not simply a body-part but rather an embodiment of consciousness and the site where signification and agency originate.

Research interests

Medieval and early modern drama, phenomenology, historical phenomenology, feminist literary and cultural theory

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