School of English

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Sarah O'Malley

Research Student and Teaching Affiliate, Faculty of Arts


Research Summary

Current Status

PhD (full-time) - currently registered

Research Topic

Gendered Lands: Literary Representations of Seventeenth-Century English Landscapes, Spaces and Places at Home and Abroad

Research Summary

My research interests lie in literary geographies, and the connections between constructions and representations of identity and space. My PhD looks at how the old and New Worlds of seventeenth-century England were connected via a shared discourse and frame of reference through which space was understood and represented. Within this I look at how identity, specifically gender identity, was closely related to conceptions of and interactions with a variety of specific spaces in these two locations. In turn, the role gender and conventions of social order played in constructing material spaces and places is also explored. I look at a variety of source material, including pamphlets, letters, sermons and drama. I am interested in how these various sources of information circulated simultaneously to build multifaceted, overlapping identities for the different spaces they represented. The theatre holds a particular interest as a unique space in which these various, often conflicting ideas were brought together, displayed and interrogated for a wide range of audiences. Methodologically I build on work from cognitive science that has recently begun to emerge in analyses of early modern literature and culture. The frameworks of distributed and embodied cognition allow me to uncover the two-way relationship between subject and environment, and also to explore the influential role theatre, text, and 'imagined geographies' had on construction and understanding of the 'real'.

Research Interests

  • Literary Geographies
  • Distributed and Embodied Cognition
  • Gender
  • Early Modern Literature and Drama
  • Landscape, Space, and Place

Research Supervisor/s

Primary Funding Source/s

  • AHRC Midlands 3 Cities Studentship

Research Institutes, Centres and/or Research Clusters Memberships


  • Book Review of Charlotte Scott's Shakespeare's Nature, in Early Theatre, vol. 19, no. 1 (2016)
  • Book Review of David B. Goldstein and Julia Reinhard Lupton, Shakespeare and Hospitality, in Early Theatre (forthcoming 2017)

Conference Papers & Presentations


  • 'Seventeenth-Century Literature, Territoriality and the Embodied Mind' at Environments: Landscapes and the Mind, 19th June, Goldsmiths University
  • 'Conflicting Identities and the Production of Geography: An Exploration into the Transportation of Landscape Narratives from Greater East Anglia to New England' at Travel and Conflict in the Medieval and Early Modern World, 3rd - 5th September, Bangor University


  • 'Exploring the Relationship Between Representations of Old and New World English Spaces', at the M3C Research Festival, 12th May, Nottingham Trent University
  • ''One can scarce distinguish New-England from Old': The shared spaces of England and the New World in Seventeenth-Century Literature', at Sharing Space in the Early Modern World (1450-1750), 24th - 25th June, University of Oxford
  • '(Re)Creating English Homespaces in the New World' at the World Shakespeare Congress, 31st July - 8th August, London and Stratford-upon-Avon

Additional Information

School of English

Trent Building
The University of Nottingham
University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5900
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5924