Dr Peter Auger

Dr Peter Auger

Department of English Literature
Lecturer in Early Modern Literature

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I study the relationship between literature and cross-channel mobility in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. My research contributes to understanding imitation and translation practices, the history of reading, literary reception, women’s writing, comparative and transnational literature, literary multilingualism, cultural diplomacy and language learning.


  • BA and MPhil, University of Cambridge
  • DPhil, University of Oxford


I went to school in Nottingham and Norwich, and then studied at Cambridge and Oxford. After lecturing at Exeter College, Oxford for several terms, I then held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Queen Mary University of London. I joined Birmingham in 2017. Like many early career researchers, I made many (in my case, over fifty) unsuccessful job and funding applications while on fixed-term contracts.


I have taught courses on early modern literature (c. 1500-1700) for over a decade. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. My teaching seeks to help students to become sensitive critical readers and global-minded citizens who can appreciate the value of historical perspectives for understanding the present.

At Birmingham I teach or have taught on the first-year modules Poetry and Reading English, and the second-year modules Renaissance Poetry, Restoration and Revolution, and Shakespeare. My final-year module, The Art of Translation, is an introduction to translation studies that considers English translations of works including the Odyssey, the Bhagavad Gītā, and the Tale of Kiều. (You can watch me give a talk informed by past seminar discussions of feminist translation.) I have also taught master’s seminars on various topics.

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome enquiries from prospective students interested in aspects of early modern literature related to my research.. My present and past doctoral students include:

Thomas Clifton, 'Forms of textual mediation in English meditative practices 1661-1678'

Caroline Curtis, 'Faber Fortunae: Autobiographical Practices of the Early Royal Society'

Michele Piscitelli, ‘An Englishman without techyng can not speake the words of an Ytalyan’: Italian language learning during the reign of Henry VIIII'

Lenhardt Stevens, 'The Metaphysics and Psychology of Freedom of Paradise Lost'

Find out more - our PhD English Literature  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research is about literature and mobility, that is, how the movement of people, books and ideas affects how people read and write. I study how early modern writers in England and Scotland draw on literary and linguistic resources associated with France, with a particular interest in how sociocultural factors affect writing and reading practices. My work is conscious of ‘English literature’ as a powerful category that shapes my research but does not reflect the historical diversity of multilingual literary practices in places where English is used.

At present I’m working on a monograph about Franco-British poetry during James VI and I’s reign. It uses a wider range of manuscript and print sources than the traditional focus on ‘French influence on English literature’ has usually invited, with case studies on poets writing in French to James, Esther Inglis, and William Drummond among others. I also have wider interests in the impact of Huguenot culture in Britain, and foreign-language publication in anglophone territories.

My research is increasingly informed by the analytical framework that critical and ethnographic sociolinguistic research offers for investigating complex and diverse writing and reading practices across time. I wrote a preliminary description of this style of ‘historical ethnographic’ research in the introduction to a volume called Multilingual Texts and Practices in Early Modern Europe (Routledge, 2023) that I co-edited with Sheldon Brammall. This grew out of an international symposium in 2019 on ‘Multilingual Practices in Early Modern Literary Culture’, which was funded by the AHRC Open World Project MEITS. This project developed in turn from the Early Modern Boundaries network (2015-17) that I set up using a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award.

These theoretical and methodological questions arose from my detailed empirical work on the reception history of James VI and I’s favourite poet, Guillaume de Saluste Du Bartas (1544-90). My doctoral thesis and numerous shorter pieces supplied case studies that support the argument made in Du Bartas’ Legacy in England and Scotland (Oxford, 2019) that Du Bartas’ extraordinary renown led his works to provide a vital model for popular religious and epic verse to which Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Anne Bradstreet, John Milton, Lucy Hutchinson and many other sixteenth- and seventeenth-century poets writing in English responded. A highlight of my archival research for this project was re-discovering 800 verses from Du Bartas’ late poetry.

Please see my personal web-page for a full list of publications with links.


Recent publications


Auger, P & Brammall, S (eds) 2023, Multilingual Texts and Practices in Early Modern Europe. Routledge Critical Studies in Multilingualism, 1st edn, Routledge, London and New York. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003094104

Auger, P 2019, Du Bartas' Legacy in England and Scotland. Oxford English Monographs, Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198827818.001.0001


Auger, P 2021, 'Astrological Description in Spenser and Du Bartas', Spenser Review, vol. 51, no. 1, 5. <http://www.english.cam.ac.uk/spenseronline/review/item/51.1.5>

Auger, P 2020, 'The Poetics of Scriptural Quotation in the Divorce Tracts', Milton Quarterly, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 23-40. https://doi.org/10.1111/milt.v54.1

Auger, P 2017, 'The Books of Tho. Hobbes', Hobbes Studies, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 236-253. https://doi.org/10.1163/18750257-03002006

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Auger, P 2023, Introduction: Historical Ethnography of Multilingual Texts and Practices. in P Auger & S Brammall (eds), Multilingual Texts and Practices in Early Modern Europe. 1st edn, Routledge Critical Studies in Multilingualism, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 1-33. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003094104-1

Auger, P 2023, Old England and New in Anne Bradstreet's Poetry. in D Clarke, SCE Ross & E Scott-Baumann (eds), Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Women's Writing in English, 1540-1700. Oxford Handbooks, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 437-450. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198860631.013.27

Auger, P 2020, Du Bartas’ Pattern for English Scriptural Poets. in A-P Pouey-Mounou & PJ Smith (eds), Ronsard and Du Bartas in Early Modern Europe. Intersections, vol. 69, Brill, pp. 302-331. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004438569_015

Auger, P & Bjaï, D 2020, The King James Text of Du Bartas’ “Les Peres”: An Edition. in A-P Pouey-Mounou & PJ Smith (eds), Ronsard and Du Bartas in Early Modern Europe. Intersections, vol. 69, Brill, pp. 332-70. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004438569_016

Auger, P 2019, Translation and Cultural Convergence in Late Sixteenth-Century Scotland and France. in TA Sowerby & J Craigwood (eds), Cultures of Diplomacy and Literary Writing in the Early Modern World. Oxford University Press, pp. 115-28. <https://global.oup.com/academic/product/cultures-of-diplomacy-and-literary-writing-in-the-early-modern-world-9780198835691?cc=gb&lang=en&#>

Book/Film/Article review

Auger, P 2023, 'Jessie Hock. 2021. The Erotics of Materialism: Lucretius and Early Modern Poetics. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 234 pp., $59.95.', Anglia, vol. 141, no. 4, pp. 661-664. https://doi.org/10.1515/ang-2023-0040

Auger, P 2023, 'Michael Ullyot, The Rhetoric of Exemplarity in Early Modern England', Spenser Review, vol. 53, no. 2. <https://spenser.tardis.janeway.systems/spenser/article/id/45/>

Auger, P 2021, 'The Shakespearean comic and tragicomic: French inflections, by Richard Hillman', Translation and Literature, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 188-94. https://doi.org/10.3366/tal.2021.0448

Auger, P 2019, 'Review of Kristina Bross, Future History: Global Fantasies in Seventeenth-Century American and British Writings', Modern Language Review, vol. 114, no. 3, pp. 548-549. https://doi.org/10.5699/modelangrevi.114.3.0548

Auger, P 2018, 'Review: Robert Garnier in Elizabethan England: Mary Sidney Herbert's ‘Antonius’ and Thomas Kyd's ‘Cornelia’, edited by Marie-Alice Belle and Line Cottegnies; Montaigne in Transit: Essays in Honour of Ian Maclean, edited by Neil Kenny, Richard Scholar, and Wes Williams', Translation and Literature, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 353-60. https://doi.org/10.3366/tal.2018.0356

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