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Pete Smith


School of Arts & Humanities

Staff Group(s)
English, Culture and Media


Pete Smith is Professor of Renaissance Literature.

Career overview

Professor Smith has taught at a range of Higher Education Institutions. Prior to becoming an academic he worked in theatre production.

Research areas

Pete Smith is the author of Social Shakespeare (Macmillan, 1995) and Between Two Stools: Scatology and its representations in English Literature, Chaucer to Swift (Manchester University Press, 2012) and co-editor of Hamlet: Theory in Practice (Open University Press, 1996) and Much Ado About Nothing: A Critical Reader (Arden, 2018).  He has recently published essays on city comedy, Shakespeare's narrative poetry, landscape in Richard II, as well as film versions of Othello, King Lear and the Roman plays.  He writes regularly for Times Higher Education. He is a former trustee of the British Shakespeare Association and sits on the BSA's events committee.  He is a member of the editorial boards of the journals, Shakespeare and Early Modern Literary Studies and is one of the four Editors-in-Chief of the international journal of Renaissance studies, Cahiers Elisabethains. His essays and reviews have appeared in Critical Quarterly, Early Modern Theatre, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Review of English Studies, Shakespeare Bulletin and Shakespeare Survey.  At the moment he is working on an edition of Richard III for the New Cambridge Shakespeare series and writing an essay on the films of Michael Almereyda.

Professor Smith has supervised a range of postgraduate research projects, and is currently supervising one PhD student on perpetrator studies and Richard III (funded by a 4-year scholarship from the Midlands 4 Cities Doctoral Training Programme).  He has recently examined doctorates on Shakespeare's Late Plays, Arabic adaptations of Shakespeare, the theatre of Christopher Marlowe as well as C21st British drama and would welcome research students in any of these areas:

  • Early Modern theatre and performance practice
  • Shakespeare and his contemporaries
  • Scatology, physicality and early modern culture
  • Performance history
  • The theory, practice and reception of theatre reviewing
  • Shakespeare on film

Opportunities to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil / PhD exist and further information may be obtained from the NTU Doctoral School.

Sponsors and collaborators

Current and recent research is being conducted with the collaboration, funding and/or support of:



Edited Journals:

  • Cahiers Elisabéthains. Smith P J and Valls-Russell J and Yabut D (eds), 'Shakespeare Under Global Lockdown' with contributions from 37 authors from 14 countries, 2020
  • Cahiers Elisabéthains. Smith P J and Valls-Russell J and Prescott P (eds), the 40th anniversary edition of Cahiers Elisabéthains, Nothing if not Critical: Theatre Reviewing Internationally. with contributors from Tunisia, S Africa, France, Switzerland, Australia, America, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Spain and the UK, 2012
  • Shakespeare. Smith P J, Edmondson P and Prescott P (eds), a special issue of Shakespeare, dedicated to reviewing Shakespearean theatre: The State of the Art, 2010, 6
  • Cahiers Elisabéthains. Smith P J and Valls-Russell J (eds), dedicated to the Complete Works Festival of the Royal Shakespeare Company.  This included an interview with Michael Boyd (RSC Artistic Director) and a review of every production

Chapters in Books (selected):

  • The Roman Plays on Film. Smith P J in (ed) R Jackson, The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Screen, CUP, 2020,
  • Richard Eyre's King Lear: A Brexit Allegory. Smith P J in (eds) Victorial Bladen, Sarah Hatchuel and Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin, Shakespeare on Screen: King Lear, CUP, 2019
  • 'Something Rich and Strange': Derek Jarman's film of The Tempest. Smith P J in (eds) Sarah Hatchuel and Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin, Shakespeare on Screen: The Romances, CUP, 2017
  • 'Institutionally Racist': Sax's Othello and Tethered Presentism. Smith P J in (eds) Sarah Hatchuel and Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin, Shakespeare on Screen: Othello, CUP, 2015
  • The Critical Backstory. Smith P J in (ed) A Connolly, Richard III: A Critical Reader, 2013, Arden Shakespeare for Bloomsbury
  • Tales of the City: The Plays of Ben Jonson and Thomas Middleton. Smith P J in (ed) Hattaway M, A New Companion to English Renaissance Literature and Culture, 2010, Wiley-Blackwell, 2 volumes

Journal articles (selected):

  • 'What country, friends, is this?': Tim Supple's Twelfth Night revisited.  Smith PJ, Shakespeare Survey 73, 2020
  • 'Rude Wind': King Lear - Canonicity vs Physicality. Smith PJ, Shakespeare Survey 72, 2019
  • Goodbye Wave: Trevor Nunn's Twelfth Night - A Maritime Valediction. Smith PJ, Shakespeare, 14, 2018
  • Exonerating Rape: Pornography as Exculpation in Shakespeare's The Rape of Lucrece. Smith PJ, Shakespeare, 5, 2009
  • A 'consummation devoutly to be wished': The Erotics of Narration in Venus and Adonis.  Smith PJ, Shakespeare Survey 53, 2000

See all of Pete Smith's publications...

Press expertise

  • Shakespeare in performance
  • Renaissance Theatre
  • Theatre reception and reviewing
  • History of hygiene