Emily Buffey


Doctoral researcher

Department of English Literature


Phd title: The Early Modern Dream Vision: c. 1540-1625
Supervisors: Dr Gillian Wright; Dr David Griffth
PhD English Literature


My PhD thesis, 'The Early Modern Dream Vision: c. 1540-1625' is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and investigates the role of the 'Chaucerian' dream vision in printed poetry of the sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries. By demonstrating the influence of medieval writers in the early modern period, my research project engages in new ways with current debates on the politics of print, reception studies, historical periodization and the concept of a literary tradition. By focusing on the bedchamber or scholar's study as an important site of textual production, my thesis also draws on recent research into the material and social conditions of literate practice and the physiology of reading, sleep and dreams. 

Prior to my PhD, I studied at the University of Birmingham both as an undergraduate and postgraduate student in English Literature. My Masters thesis considered the dream vision as a gendered tradition by comparing the poetry of three early-seventeenth century women writers from England and Scotland. This research led me to discover and develop an entire corpus of previously unexamined primary materials published between 1540 and 1625, thus forming the foundations of my PhD project. My thesis is that the dream vision is the great forgotten genre of the early modern period. Utilized by writers of the 'middle sort' interested in its cultural and commercial capital and humble mode of self-reflexivity, the dream vision was an authoritative and imaginatively flexible vehicle for communicating a range of political, religious and personal ideas to a variety of readers. 

I have given papers at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon and at the University of Birmingham. I am also in the process of preparing several articles for publication. I have recently been appointed PGTA for the University's 'Literary Aesthetics before 1800' and 'Critical Practice' modules for first year undergraduates. I have also worked as a research consultant for the adaptations of medieval texts for musical and visual performance at various national arts festivals. My research interests also include: late medieval English and Scots literature, early prose fiction, women's writing, metafiction and the materiality of literate practice. 

My project is funded by a three-year AHRC Doctoral Award and is due for completion in 2015. 

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