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Pete Smith

Associate Professor

School of Arts & Humanities

Staff Group(s)
English, Culture and Media


Dr Pete Smith is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Renaissance Literature.

Career overview

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

Research areas

Dr Smith is a Reader in Renaissance Literature. He 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 on the editorial board of the journals, Shakespeare, and Early Modern Literary Studies. He 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 writing about adaptations of Beowulf and an essay on the films of Michael Almereyda.

Dr Smith has supervised a range of postgraduate research projects, and is currently supervising two PhD students on contemporary Gothic fiction and Shakespeare's liminal settings.  His recently completed PhD student successfully defended her thesis in 2018 on the stage history of Shakespeare's Apocryphal plays. He has recently examined doctorates on Shakespeare's Late Plays and the theatre of Christopher Marlowe, 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

Current PhD Student

  • Ben Haworth (Director of Studies) PhD student

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

External activity

Public lectures recently to:

Sponsors and collaborators

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



Edited Journals:

  • Cahiers Elisabéthains. Smith PJ and Valls-Russell J and Yabut D (eds), 'Shakespeare Under Global Lockdown' with contributions from 37 authors from 14 countries, 2020
  • Cahiers Elisabéthains. Smith PJ 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 PJ, 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 PJ 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 PJ in (ed) R Jackson, The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Screen, CUP, 2020,
  • Richard Eyre's King Lear: A Brexit Allegory. Smith PJ 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 PJ in (eds) Sarah Hatchuel and Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin, Shakespeare on Screen: The Romances, CUP, 2017
  • 'Institutionally Racist': Sax's Othello and Tethered Presentism. Smith PJ in (eds) Sarah Hatchuel and Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin, Shakespeare on Screen: Othello, CUP, 2015
  • The Critical Backstory. Smith PJ 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 PJ 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