Contact details

Role: Career Development Fellow in English Literature


Dr Ben Higgins


I joined Lady Margaret Hall as Career Development Fellow in English Literature in October 2021 after training at Exeter University and the University of Oxford. I have held lectureships at Corpus Christi College, Lincoln College, and the University of London, and research fellowships at the Huntington Library and the Folger Library among others. My first monograph, Shakespeare’s Syndicate: The First Folio, its Publishers, and the Early Modern Book Trade, is published by Oxford University Press in March 2022.

Research interests

My research focuses on the literary and material cultures of the early modern period, with particular focus on Shakespeare, book history, and editorial practice. I have published essays on early Shakespearean libraries, on feminist book history, and on the conceptual status of early modern bookshops, among other topics. I am also particularly interested in forms of collaboration and in promoting reflective conversations about the shape of early modern studies amid an era of scholarly haste.

My first book, Shakespeare’s Syndicate, offers a fresh account of how the most important document in the history of the Shakespearean text was published. The monograph presents a series of bibliographically rigorous yet interpretively creative readings of how the book trade created Shakespeare's First Folio. Current projects involve an examination of the relationship between literature and space in the early modern period, for a book coauthored with Dr Alice Leonard of Coventry University and under contract to Cambridge University Press. My next monograph (provisionally entitled Copy/Edition/Work) examines how the bibliographical categories on which we rely for literary study have shaped the questions we can ask of books and the literary values we have inherited. An essay that forms a trial for this project appeared in English Literary Renaissance in January 2022.


At LMH I work with the second and third years to teach a range of material for English and its associated Joint Schools. I teach courses on Shakespeare, on Renaissance literature more broadly, and on Restoration literature; I also teach link papers on Tragedy and Epic for the Classics and English degree. Throughout my pedagogy I strive to convey the literary vibrancy and formal richness of the past and have recently explored object-led teaching in collaboration with the Ashmolean Museum.


A selection of recent publications includes:

Monograph: Shakespeare’s Syndicate: The First Folio, its Publishers, and the Early Modern Book Trade (Oxford University Press, 2022)

Journal Article: ‘Judith and Lucrece: Reading Shakespeare Between Copy and Work’: English Literary Renaissance 52.1 (2022): pp. 34–71.

Book Chapter: ''The Book-sellars Shop’: Browsing, Reading, and Buying in Early Modern England’ in Adam Smyth ed., The Oxford Handbook to the History of the Book in Early Modern England (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2022).

Journal Article: "The Library of James Marsh, DD (1593-?1645), with ‘Shackspeers playes’ and ‘Donnes Poem’" in The Library 22.1 (2021): pp. 33–56.

Review Article: David Pearson, Provenance Research in Book History: A Handbook (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2019). Times Literary Supplement, 10 April 2020.

Review: Emma Smith, The Making of Shakespeare’s First Folio (Oxford: The Bodleian Library, 2016). The Bodleian Library Record, April 2019.

Review: Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen, The Bookshop of the World: Making and Trading Books in the Dutch Golden Age (Yale UP, 2019). Times Higher Education, No. 2,411 (6-12 June 2019) p. 50.

Book Chapter: ‘Printing the First Folio,’ in Emma Smith ed., The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare’s First Folio (1623), (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), pp. 30-47.