School of English

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Jem Bloomfield

Assistant Professor in Medieval and Early Modern Literature, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

I joined Nottingham in September 2012, having previously taught at Oxford Brookes University, the University of Exeter and the University of Southern New Hampshire. I studied at Oxford and Exeter, writing my PhD on the production history of Webster's The Duchess of Malfi.

Expertise Summary

My main research interests at the moment focus around two major areas. The first is the relationship between Shakespeare and the Bible, tracing the ways in which these collections of texts have been shaped, performed and interpreted. I am especially concerned with the ways they are both treated as "sacred texts", and subject to different kinds of reading than other books - and the ways those kinds of reading intersect.

The second is the British detective and fantasy fiction of the mid-twentieth century. My work explores the intellectual and social worlds of these books, relating them to contemporary concerns around gender, art, magic and religion.

Teaching Summary

Undergraduate modules taught:

Studying Literature (Level One)

Drama, Theatre, Performance (Level One)

Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Page (Level Two)

Postgraduate modules taught:

Literary Histories

Poetry: Best Words, Best Order

Research Summary

I am engaged at the moment on a study of witchcraft in British women's detective fiction in the twentieth century. I began this project simply to investigate why this apparently logical and… read more

Recent Publications

  • JEM BLOOMFIELD, 2020. Spectral Authority: The Presence of Shakespeare in Biblical Scholarship Christianity and Literature. 69(2),
  • JEM BLOOMFIELD, 2020. Midcentury Jacobeans: Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, P.D. James and "The Duchess of Malfi" ELH.
  • JEM BLOOMFIELD, 2017. “My eucharist to the people of District Eleven”: Bread, Sacrifice and Thanksgiving in The Hunger Games Theology.

I am currently supervising two PhD projects, one on the papers and sermons of a seventeenth-century librarian, and the other on the concept of "relevance" in contemporary Shakespearean production and discourse.

I would be interested in supervising PhD projects on the following areas: detective fiction, literature and religion, Shakespeare and the Bible.

Current Research

I am engaged at the moment on a study of witchcraft in British women's detective fiction in the twentieth century. I began this project simply to investigate why this apparently logical and rationalistic genre of fiction was so full of witches, pagans and magic. In pursuing this question, I investigate how detective fiction provides a space for the indulging of subversive and fantastical impulses in the British midcentury.

At the same time, I am exploring the textuality and allusiveness of the same genre. Women's detective fiction is often discussed simply in terms of its conventional plots or its representation of social life. By mapping its networks of allusion inside and outside the genre - for example, allusions to Shakespeare, the Bible, Milton and other detective novelists - I demonstrate the cohesiveness and self-consciousness of this literary movement.

Past Research

My past work centred on "The Duchess of Malfi" by John Webster, and its four centuries of performance history. Webster's play is now the most performed play by one of Shakespeare's contemporaries, and my research traced the various adaptations and reframings it was subjected to. I paid particular attention to the use of the play to construct an essential "female identity", to define Britishness by contrast with Spanish Catholic characters, and the positioning of Webster as a "Jacobean" playwright whose work tackled risky and deviant topics which Shakespeare ignored.

  • JEM BLOOMFIELD, 2020. Spectral Authority: The Presence of Shakespeare in Biblical Scholarship Christianity and Literature. 69(2),
  • JEM BLOOMFIELD, 2020. Midcentury Jacobeans: Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, P.D. James and "The Duchess of Malfi" ELH.
  • JEM BLOOMFIELD, 2017. “My eucharist to the people of District Eleven”: Bread, Sacrifice and Thanksgiving in The Hunger Games Theology.
  • JEM BLOOMFIELD, 2016. Words of Power: Reading Shakespeare and the Bible 1st. Lutterworth Press.
  • JEM BLOOMFIELD, 2016. The Critical Backstory. In: PAUL FRAZER and ADAM HANSEN, eds., The White Devil: A Critical Reader Bloomsbury Academic. (In Press.)
  • 2013. "Ben Jonson, 2011" The Year's Work in English Studies.
  • 2013. Two Jacobean Malfis: Controversy and Reception in 1892 and 2010 Shakespeare Bulletin.
  • 2011. "The Shame of this Pacific Reign": Engagement With the Past in Domestic Tragedy During the 1730s Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatre Research. 25(1),

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