Elizabeth Leemann


Research title: Spiritual Motherhood in Early Modern Literature

Research Summary

Research Interests

- Early Modern Literature

- Early Modern Women's Writing

- Motherhood

- Gender

- Witchcraft

- Dreams

- Medical Humanities

- History of Science


 PhD thesis

Title: The Spiritual Nature of Motherhood in Early Modern Literature

My thesis examines the soul/body connection and motherhood in early modern literature. I am interested in the spiritual and physical understandings of the female body, as well as its portrayal in literature written by both men and women. The mystical nature related to female bodies allows women to house extra souls in their bodies during pregnancy as well as have other preternatural experiences such as possessions, disturbed sleep (sleepwalking, sleep paralysis) or out-of-body experiences. Authors and texts examined include: The Duchess of Malfi, The Winter's Tale, Hester Pulter's Poetry, Anne Bathurst's writing, Eleanor Davies's writing and others.



College of Arts Graduate School Research Support Funding: to conduct archival research at the Bodleian library at Oxford University, Summer 2023.

College of Arts Graduate School Research Support Funding: to attend SRS 10th Biennial Conference: Difficult Pasts RHS, Liverpool, July 2023.

PGR Community Building and Public Engagement Fund: to organise The Glasgow Early Modern Society PGR conference on "Exclusion in the Early Modern Period" funding received by the society, January 2023.

Funding from La Faculté des Lettres, Université de Lausanne: for a project to create a practical learning methodology to help students approach Shakespearean drama confidently from page to stage (funding in 2015-2016, during MA in English Literature).


The Crossroads of Life and Death: The Spiritual Womb in The Duchess of Malfi. SRS 10th Biennial Conference: Difficult Pasts RHS, Liverpool, 20th July 2023. 



Graduate Teaching Assistant in Novel & Narratology (1B), 2022-current.

Additional Information

In addition to my work in academia, I have worked as a dramturg and playwright in Switzerland, the UK and the US. I hold an MA in playwriting and directing from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, have worked at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. and have had a number of plays produced professionally. For more information please visit my website.

I am also the co-chair of the Postgraduate Early Modern Society at the University of Glasgow. We recently organised a conference for postgraduates from the College of Arts ('Exclusion in the Early Modern Period', 1-2 June 2023).