Dr Mary Ann Lund

lund, mary annBA MPhil DPhil (Oxford)


Contact Details:

Research Interests

Dr Lund has special interests in prose writing, religion, and medicine in the English renaissance. Her recently published book on The Anatomy of Melancholy (first published 1621) analyses Robert Burton's claim that his work is designed to have curative effects on the reader afflicted with melancholy. She pays particular attention to Burton's construction and depiction of the reading process, and examines his treatment of melancholy and reading within the broader context of early modern religious and medical approaches to therapy.

She is editing volume 12 of The Oxford Edition of the Sermons of John Donne (general editor Peter McCullough). A defining characteristic of this new edition is that sermons are arranged not simply by chronology, but rather by place of preaching. Her volume focuses on the sermons Donne preached in St Paul's Cathedral during the first half of 1626, the period of a turbulent parliamentary session and a Convocation of which Donne was prolocutor. By presenting these sermons in the framework of their place of delivery, it pays close attention to the nature of Donne's auditory and shows how Donne engages closely and directly with political and doctrinal debate.

Her other current research project is a book on the experience of illness in early modern literature. Her study will include Donne's Devotions, written shortly before the author's serious illness in 1623, the devotional poetry of George Herbert, and plague writing from Dekker to Defoe.


Current Postgraduate Supervision

Dr Lund would welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students with research interests in early modern literature, particularly the following areas:

  • prose writing
  • religious writing
  • print publication
  • the history of reading
  • medicine and illness narratives

Teaching and Administration

Recent Publications

Melancholy, Medicine and Religion in Early Modern England: Reading 'The Anatomy of Melancholy' (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Shortlisted for the CCUE Book Prize 2011.

'Early Modern Sermon Paratexts and the Religious Politics of Reading', Material Readings of Early Modern Culture, 1580-1700, ed. by James Daybell and Peter Hinds (Palgrave, 2010).

'Experiencing Pain in John Donne's Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions (1624)', in The Sense of Suffering: Constructions of Physical Pain in Early Modern Culture, ed. by Jan Frans van Dijkhuizen  and Karl Enenkel (Leiden: Brill, 2009).

'Reading and the Cure of Despair in The Anatomy of Melancholy', Studies in Philology 105 (2008).

  • Awarded the Louis Round Wilson prize for the best article to appear in Studies in Philology in 2008.

'The Christian Physician: Thomas Browne and the Role of Religion in Medical Practice', in 'A Man Very Well Studyed: Contexts for Thomas Browne, ed. by Kathryn Murphy and Richard Todd (Leiden: Brill, 2008).

Public Engagement

She has appeared on Radio 4's In Our Time on The Anatomy of Melancholy. She has written on John Donne as preacher for The Church Times, January 2015. With Dr Sarah Knight, she is a press contact for the University's 'Search for Richard III'. A podcast of her talk at a mini-conference on The Anatomy of Melancholy, held in November 2012 by the theatre company Stan's Cafe, is available here.

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