I am interested in literature and drama that reflects on the practices of space and place in early modern London, with a particular focus on almsgiving and commerce. I am currently working with an archive of sixteenth-century petitions and a corpus of plays that feature beggars. Begging was a performative and affective act and I am interested in the way that it raises questions of veracity, trust, obligation, duty and ‘neighbourliness’ in a changing economic, social and religious culture and how these issues are staged in drama of the same period. More broadly I am exploring post new-historicist ways of using an inter-disciplinary methodology to negotiate the relationship between historical records and imaginative representation of life in the city. In a separate but aligned interest, I am also working on sixteenth and seventeenth century double-entry book-keeping manuals as pedagogical texts which attempted to present an essentially practical applied technique as an art, and how authors variously fashioned themselves as scholars, practitioners and teachers within the commercial and pedagogical communities of early modern London. I am also at the early stages of a project considering jokes about numbers in early modern drama.
Rebecca Tomlin is a Research Associate on the ERC-funded project Crossroads of Knowledge in Early Modern England: the Place of Literature co-hosted by CRASSH and the Faculty of English.
Rebecca recently completed her Ph.D. in English Literature at Birkbeck College, University of London, supervised by Dr Adam Smyth and Professor Susan Wiseman. Her AHRC-funded doctoral research took an inter-disciplinary approach to explore ways in which early modern Londoners used narratives presented on stage and in church to think about the rapidly changing nature of their city, with a particular emphasis on commerce and charity.
Her first undergraduate degree was in Economics and Politics (Manchester University). Prior to resuming her studies, Rebecca practiced as a Chartered Accountant for a number of years.
Crossroads of Knowledge, Researcher
January 2016 - Present