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Scholarly biography

Dr Kate Aughterson created the BA (hons) English Literature at Brighton University. Her scholarly interests focus on seventeenth-century drama, notably with regard to gender and literature, sexuality and literature, and performance culture. She currently welcomes PhD applicants with interests in gender, sexuality, space in the early modern and contemporary periods.  


With a background in history and art history as well as literature, Kate encourages reading literary texts in the framework and context of the non-literary, linking scientific, textual, philosophical and political discourses, and believes in enabling students to develop reading, analytical and research skills through practical experience of writing and performance. 


Scholarly biography and interests  

Dr Kate Aughterson's interests focus on seventeenth-century drama, notably with regard to gender and literature, sexuality and literature, performance culture. She is the author of Renaissance Woman; The English Renaissance: An Anthology of Documents; John Webster: The Tragedies; and Aphra Behn: The Comedies, as well as articles on Bacon, Middleton, Behn and Marston. Thematically both her teaching and research interests cross disciplinary boundaries, linking scientific, textual, philosophical and political discourses. 

Kate’s most recent work on theatre, performance and gender has been on Aphra Behn and her context, building on the well-received publication of her Aphra Behn: The Comedies in 2003. She has a written articles on Behn’s work within her seventeenth-century performance and reading context and is part of a collaborative enterprise of feminist scholars led by Professor Elaine Hobby who will be editing the complete works of Aphra Behn for Cambridge University Press (2019-). Kate will be editing Behn’s The Lucky Chance, and co-editing The Revenge, should modern computational methods definitively identify it as Behn’s work. Kate also works across centuries – recently co-editing (and writing a chapter on gender) Jim Crace Into The Wilderness (Palgrave 2018) and a chapter in Teaching Twenty-First century Genre (Palgrave, 2017) on the relationships between the first Utopia (1516) and contemporary feminist engagements with utopian discourses. New (contracted) projects include a co-written work with Ailsa Grant Ferguson, Shakespeare and Gender (Arden, Bloomsbury, 2019), and a collected edition with Professor Deborah Philips An Experiment of their Own ((Palgrave, 2020), in which Kate writes about Behn’s literary experimentalism with her early novel Love Letters of a Nobleman to his Sister. 

Kate turned to literature after studying history for a year at Oxford and gained her doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1990 on the philosopher Sir Francis Bacon. She taught art history at the City and Guilds of London Art school, and English literature at the University of Central England before moving to Brighton, with a focus primarily on the English renaissance. She is currently Academic Programme Leader for Literature, Media and Screen at Brighton University.  


Kate Aughterson’s teaching content and style is intimately connected to her research interests: reading literary texts in the framework and context of the non-literary, and enabling students to develop their own reading, analytical and research skills for their own writing or performance. Reviews of her work (for example on Aphra Behn and on Renaissance Woman, and The English Renaissance) bear out the effectiveness of the connections between published research and effective and stimulating teaching practice. 

Kate has pioneered a project-centred approach to teaching early modern writing, which encourages students to undertake individual research in the period, and work as a team to produce a book examining literature in context, the outputs of which have been commended by the external examiner. 

 Kate on teaching seventeenth-century texts: 




Review of essay “’Strange Things So Probably Told: Gender, Sexual Difference and Knowledge in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis”, (2003) in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis: New Interdisciplinary Essays, in Renaissance Quarterly 57 (2004): 1108-9: 

"The three remaining essays seek to redefine our understanding of three crucial components of Bacon's text: natural knowledge, gender, and miracles. Richard Sarjeantson reminds us that we err in referring to Bacon's New Atlantis as a fiction of 'science,' since the latter word, though convenient, is anachronistic for the period. Instead, we should describe Bacon's fable as a one about 'natural knowledge,' drawn largely from magical, medical, and mechanical traditions. Bacon's complex use of the motif, metaphor, and concept of gender is the subject of Kate Aughterson's lucid discussion, which buries the tired notion that Bacon simply advocates the dominance of a masculine science or a feminine nature." 

Nine references in: “Current Bibliography of the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences” 2003 Author(s): Stephen P. Weldon Source: Isis, Vol. 94, Current Bibliography 2003 (2003), pp. 1-193+195-275 Published by: The University of Chicago Press. 

Regina M. Buccola “These So-Called Early Modern Women Writers": Strategies for Integrating Women Writers into English “The Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Spring, 2003), pp. 147-154, shows how Renaissance Woman has been seminal in aiding classroom strategies and teaching of early modern gender. 

Ian M. Borden “Aphra Behn: The Comedies” (review) - Theatre Journal 59:2 Theatre Journal 59.2 (2007) 321-323. Aphra Behn: The Comedies. By Kate Aughterson. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003; pp. ix + 259. $65.00 cloth, $31.95 paper. “In Aphra Behn: The Comedies, part of the Palgrave Macmillan series Analyzing Texts, Kate Aughterson provides a remarkable teaching tool that leads the reader through a detailed textual analysis of three of Behn's plays, The Rover, The Feigned Courtesans, and The Lucky Chance. Aughterson has created an entertaining and effective guide to textual analysis, particularly in discovering political and social issues within a written work, as well as imagining how the play would read when staged. While the use of only three plays might seem to limit the scope of the work, instead it allows Aughterson to include large segments of text and an extremely thorough study of each.” 

Supervisory Interests

My current PhD students are working in both creative and critical areas on sventeenth-century drama, including ideas about hauntology and performing gender and sexuality. Through close integration with our Resarch and Enterprise Group on Theatre and Communities, we are attracting a good local community of like-minded researchers. 

Current projects are:

  • Jane White ‘Queering Women in Restoration London:  Aphra Behn’
  • Ellan Parry ‘Performance, Gender, Queers Studies’
  • Sarah Grange ‘Improvising Moll - staging dialogues between queer pasts and presents’
  • Cara Gathern ‘Discourses of Rape through Lucrece in Seventeenth Century Texts’
  • Katrina Rideout 'Reawakening the Witch: can utilising liminality in creative writing shift persepctives towards the environment?'
  • Alan Meggs 'Reclaiming cabaret: A haunted autoethnography of real, researched and imagined stories from cabarets past and present'
  • Rasha Mousa 'The Image of a Cyborg in Female Playwrighting: Iraq'
  • Gill Balfour, 'The Ageing Woman and the Menopause: Literary Representations'
  • Gill Ide 'Rachel Ferguson, Creativity and Middlebrow Prejudices'

Knowledge exchange

Kate is co-general editor of a new book series on Theatre and Communities for Intellect -an exciting new development which integrates practitioners with critics, communities of performers and audiences. New proposals welcomed. 

Education/Academic qualification

Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy, Higher Education Academy, UK


Award Date: 3 Jul 2017

PhD, Awakening frmoa Deep Sleep: Tropes in the Writing of Francis Bacon, University of Oxford

Award Date: 3 Sept 1990

External positions

General Editor, Book series Performance and Communities, Intellect Journals

30 Jun 201929 Jun 2025

External Reviewer, ESF

20 Jun 201919 Jun 2024

AHRC TECHNE Peer Review College, AHRC Techne Peer Review College

Feb 20192024


  • PR English literature
  • Gender, feminism, early modern


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