Dr Robert Wilcher BA, MA, PhD

Shakespeare Institute
Honorary Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute

Contact details

The Shakespeare Institute
Mason Croft
Church Street
CV37 6HP

I retired as Reader in Early Modern Studies in the English Department of the University of Birmingham in 2007.


  • BA Honours in English from Oxford University (1963)
  • MA from the University of Birmingham (1966)
  • PhD from the University of Birmingham (1972)   


Born in Didcot (Oxfordshire) in 1942; educated at King Alfred’s Grammar School, Wantage, and Exeter College, Oxford; Assistant Lecturer in English at Fourah Bay College (Freetown, Sierra Leone) 1963-1965; Lecturer in English at Trinity and All Saints’ Colleges of Education (Horsforth, near Leeds) 1968-1972; Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader in the English Department of the University of Birmingham 1972-2007. Married Miriam Somerville in 1966; three daughters; five grandsons.


Robert Wilcher taught courses on Shakespeare, modern drama, and the literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; he has also lectured at the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford-upon-Avon on both early modern and contemporary plays in the repertoire of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Postgraduate supervision

Supervised many MA and PhD theses on Herbert, Milton, Elizabethan-Jacobean drama, and modern drama.


Over the years, research interests have included Shakespeare, mid-seventeenth-century poetry and prose, and modern drama. Forthcoming publications include a paper on Henry Vaughan in Scintilla 15 (2011) and a chapter on the Eikon Basilike in a handbook on the English Revolution.

Currently preparing a colloquium paper on Henry and Thomas Vaughan for publication and working on a book about Henry Vaughan.

Other activities

Read papers at conferences on early modern literature in Holland, France, New Zealand, New York, Cambridge, and Reading, and on Shakespeare and Rudkin in Germany and at Aberystwyth.

Governor of local Comprehensive School.


  • "Only a Bard": The Theatre of David Rudkin', in David Rudkin, Red Sun and Merlin Unchained (Intellect Ltd: Bristol, 2011), pp. 247-59.
  • ‘Henry Vaughan and the poetry of trees’, Scintilla 14 (2010), 28-50
  • ‘Dying for love: the tragicomedy of Shakespeare’s Cleopatra’, in Eroticism and Death in Theatre and Performance, ed. Karoline Gritzner (Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, 2010), 28-45
  • ‘Lucy Hutchinson and Genesis: paraphrase, epic, romance’, English 59 (Spring 2010), 25-42
  • ‘Henry Vaughan, Jeremy Taylor, Edward Sparke, and the preservation of the Anglican communion’, Scintilla 12 (2008), 141-159
  • The Discontented Cavalier: The Work of Sir John Suckling in its Social, Religious, Political, and Literary Contexts (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2007)
  • ‘“Adventurous song” or “presumptuous folly”: the problem of “utterance” in John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Lucy Hutchinson’s Order and Disorder’, The Seventeenth Century 21 (Autumn 2006), 304-314
  • ‘The “true, practic piety” of “holy writing”: Henry Vaughan, Richard Crashaw, Christopher Harvey, and The Temple’, in Of Paradise and Light, ed. Donald R. Dickson and Holly Faith Nelson (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2004), 
  • The Writing of Royalism 1628-1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001)
  • Understanding Arnold Wesker (Columbia SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1991)
  • Andrew Marvell: Selected Poetry and Prose, editor (London: Methuen/Routledge, 1986)
  • Andrew Marvell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985)

Many other articles and chapters in books on the poetry of Marvell, Milton, Vaughan, Suckling, Quarles and the drama of D.H. Lawrence, Beckett, Wesker, Stoppard, Rudkin, Barker, et al.