Titlepage detail from 1596 edition of Spenser's The Faerie Queene. (Copyright: Folger Library, CC by SA 4.0).

Profile: Rachel Stenner

Dr Rachel Stenner’s reformation expertise can be summed up as “print and reform.” The 500 Reformations team asked Rachel some questions about how this knowledge connects with her research.

Tell us about your Reformation research:

I work on authors and printing from the late-fifteenth to the early-eighteenth centuries. One of those authors is William Baldwin, a satirist and polemicist for the Protestant cause in mid sixteenth-century London. He worked for printers who were virtually state mouthpieces and was actively involved in the dissemination of anti-Catholic fictions on the capital’s streets. I also work on the poet Edmund Spenser, whose rambling but unfinished The Faerie Queene has been labelled England’s Protestant epic.

What question, or questions, are you aiming to answer in your 500 Reformations talk?

I’ll be asking, ‘what did the Reformation ever do for printing?‘. Print was one of the key ways that the fierce debates of the Reformation spread across Europe. This technology was rapidly on the rise in the sixteenth century and newly-translated biblical texts were reproduced in their thousands.

Is this your main research area?

I work on several areas of early modern literature – from biblical poetry to speaking cats – but print culture is central to what I do.

Find out more:

Read about Rachel’s research interests and publications (University of Sheffield research profile)

Photo of Dr Rachel Stenner (via the School of English, University of Sheffield).

Want to hear Rachel speak?

Those in Sheffield and the surrounding area are encouraged to invite Rachel as part of the 500 Reformations scheme. Information about hosting. 

Main image:
Detail from the titlepage of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene (1596), courtesy of the Folger Library (STC 23082). (c) CC-by-SA 4.0.