Dr Mary Ann Lund

Personal details | Publications | Research | Teaching | Supervision | Outreach and Media

Associate Professor in Renaissance English LiteratureDr Mary Ann Lund

Department: English

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 5262

Email: maejl1@le.ac.uk

Office: Room 1304, Attenborough Tower

Address: School of Arts, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH

Personal details


I teach and research English Literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with special interests in religious writing, medicine, and non-fictional prose. I studied at St Peter’s College, University of Oxford. Before coming to the University of Leicester in 2010, I was Junior Research Fellow at Mansfield College, Oxford. I am one of the editors of The Oxford Edition of the Sermons of John Donne, and am now working on Vol. 13.

Alongside my teaching and research, I also enjoy working on outreach projects locally and across the country. My current projects include a touring exhibition, workshops, and retreat on ‘Poetry and Presence’.


  • MA (Oxon), MPhil, DPhil, University of Oxford
  • PG Cert in Higher Education, University of Leicester
  • Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy



  • Melancholy, Medicine and Religion in Early Modern England: Reading 'The Anatomy of Melancholy' Cambridge University Press, 2010) [shortlisted for the CCUE Book Prize 2011]

Journal articles and book chapters

  • 'The Prose Style of John Bunyan', in The Oxford Handbook of John Bunyan, ed. by Michael Davies and W. R. Owens (Oxford University Press, 2018): pp. 397-412. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199581306.013.22
  • 'Without a Cause: Fear in The Anatomy of Melancholy', in Fear in the Medical and Literary Imagination, Medieval to Modern: Dreadful Passions, ed. Daniel McCann and Claire McKechnie-Mason (Palgrave, 2018), 37-54
  • 'Donne's Convalescence', Renaissance Studies 31 (2017), 532-48. DOI: 10.1111/rest.12246. John Donne Society Award for Distinguished Publication, 2017.
  • 'Being Dead in Shakespearean Tragedy', in Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Mortality and its Timings: When is Death?, ed. Shane McCorristine (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017): 17-31
  • 'Reading', in A Handbook of English Renaissance Literary Studies, ed. John Lee (Wiley Blackwell, 2017), pp. 324-336. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118458747.ch22
  • ‘Robert Burton, Perfect Happiness and the visio dei’, in The Renaissance of Emotion: Understanding Affect in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries, ed. by Richard Meek and Erin Sullivan (Manchester University Press, 2015): 86–106
  • 'Richard's Back: Death, Scoliosis and Myth Making', Medical Humanities, 41 (2015): 89-94 http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/medhum-2014-010647
  • ‘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 (8 Feb 2013): 14-15
  • 'Early Modern Sermon Paratexts and the Religious Politics of Reading', in 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 (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)


My primary research interests are in literature, religion, and medicine of the early modern period. My major research project is editing volumes 12 and 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 (2017), 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. My work on Donne has led me to a wider interest in English cathedrals and their place in spirituality and religion.

My interest in prose writing, religion, and medicine began with my monograph on The Anatomy of Melancholy, which analyses Robert Burton's claim that his work is designed to have curative effects on the reader afflicted with melancholy. I pay particular attention to Burton's construction and depiction of the reading process, and examine his treatment of melancholy and reading within the broader context of early modern religious and medical approaches to therapy. My current research has widened this study by examining the experience of illness in seventeenth-century literature, especially John Donne’s Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions..

From 2015-17 I was an Arts and Humanities Research Council Early Careers Leadership Fellow.


I teach the following modules:

  • EN1010 Reading English
  • EN1050 Renaissance Drama: Shakespeare and hist Contemporaries (Convenor)
  • EN2020 Renaissance Literature
  • EN3010 Undergraduate Dissertation
  • EN3190 Kingdoms of Ice and Snow (Convenor)
  • EN7224 Cities of Words
  • EN7225 Journeys 1500-1700
  • EN7227/EN7228 MA English Studies Dissertation


I welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students with research interests in Renaissance literature, particularly the following areas:

  • prose writing
  • religious writing, including sermons and devotional literature
  • poetry and theology
  • the history of reading
  • the history of the book
  • medicine and illness narratives

I have supervised the following doctoral projects:

  • Shokhan Rasool Ahmed, ‘The staging of witchcraft in the Jacobean theatre’ (awarded June 2014; primary supervisor)
  • Molly Bridges, ‘Melancholy, Womanhood and the Problem of Genius in the work of Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (1623–1673) and Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661–1720)’ (current; secondary supervisor)
  • Charles Green, ‘The Textual Self: Authorship and Agency in John Donne's Commemorative Writing’ (current; secondary supervisor)

Outreach and Media

Outreach is an important part of my role as an academic. I am the curator of an exhibition, ‘Defining Moments: Poetry and Presence’, which first appeared in Leicester Cathedral in 2017 (as part of my AHRC Fellowship). The exhibition includes poems by Seamus Heaney, John Donne, Wendy Cope, Emily Dickinson, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. It has toured at a number of locations, among them Launde Abbey, Leicestershire, and Magdalen College, Oxford. I lead and co-lead  a number of events connected to this exhibition, including a forthcoming poetry retreat at Launde Abbey. If you are interested in booking this exhibition and/or workshops for your school, community group, faith venue, or other organisation, please contact me.

Since September 2016, I have been a lay member of the chapter of Leicester Cathedral, with a particular focus on education. I enjoy the fruitful dialogue between my involvement in the workings of a modern cathedral and my research on an early modern one, and lead or collaborate on a number of talks, workshops, and schools sessions on literature and creative writing, among them the BBC Storytelling Festival and Leicester’s Everybody’s Reading Festival.

I have been a guest on In Our Time (Radio 4, 2011) on The Anatomy of Melancholy, and was a contributor to The Glass Delusion (Radio 4, 2015), a programme about the phenomenon where people think they are made of glass. A podcast of my talk at a mini-conference on The Anatomy of Melancholy, held in November 2012 by the theatre company Stan's Cafe, is available here. I have written several articles for The Church Times: ‘A poet takes to the pulpit’ (9 January 2015; on the 400th anniversary of John Donne’s ordination); ‘Donne’s extravagant grace of a feast-fast’ (24 March 2016); and (co-authored with Rosy Fairhurst), ‘A journey through runes and relics’ (19 May 2017). Along with my colleague Professor Sarah Knight, I was press contact 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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