Dr Mary Ann Lund

lund, mary annBA MPhil DPhil (Oxford)


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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. Her current research has widened this study by examining the experience of illness in seventeenth-century literature, in authors including John Donne and George Herbert.

Her major research project is editing Vol 12 and Vol 13 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. Many of the sermons in Vol. 12 (forthcoming, 2016), preached in St Paul's Cathedral during the first half of 1626, show a close interaction with the controversies of a turbulent parliamentary session and a Convocation of which Donne was prolocutor. By contrast, the sermons in Vol. 13  are more explicitly aimed at London citizenry: the city corporation, merchants, commercial tradesmen. By presenting these sermons in the framework of their place of delivery, the edition pays close attention to the nature of Donne's auditory and shows how Donne engages closely and directly with political and doctrinal debate.

She is also currently engaged in research on Richard III in literature and history. She is interested in how Richard's scoliosis was perceived and treated, and in how his posthumous reputation developed. Her article in Medical Humanities explores this topic. She is also part of the Grey Friars Research Team, contributors towards the book The Bones of a King: Richard III Rediscovered (Wiley, 2015).


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

'Richard's Back: Death, Scoliosis and Myth Making', Medical Humanities (2015): http://mh.bmj.com/content/early/2015/04/08/medhum-2014-010647.full

‘Sickness and Writing in Early Modern England’, Oxford Handbooks Online (2014). DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935338.013.8

Sarah Knight and Mary Ann Lund, ‘Richard Crookback’, Times Literary Supplement (8th Feb 2013), pp. 14-15

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 been a contributor to Radio 4's The Glass Delusion (2015), a programme about the phenomenon where people think they are made of glass, and In Our Time (2011) on The Anatomy of Melancholy. 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. She has written on John Donne as preacher for The Church Times, January 2015. She and Professor Sarah Knight are both press contacts for English for the University's 'Search for Richard III', and have given many public talks on Richard, including events at the University, Leicester Cathedral, the Richard III Society annual conference, the Richard III Society Leicester branch, Literary Leicester, and schools and colleges. They have also given interviews to local, national, and international media on Richard, and been involved with consultancy work connected to the reinterment events in Leicester in March 2015.

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