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Idaho State University
Jessica Winston

Jessica Winston

Professor of English; Chair of English and Philosophy

Office: LA 263



PhD, English (2002), University of California, Santa Barbara

MA, English (1996), University of California, Santa Barbara

BA, English (1994), Wellesley College

Complete CV available online at:


My expertise lies in early modern literature and culture (c. 1485-1642), with a specialization in early modern drama and allied expertise in poetry. My research aims to reframe critical understandings of Tudor literature, a period long neglected by scholars, who viewed it as “drab” as compared to a Shakespearean “golden age” (to use C.S. Lewis’s enduring terms). In the past decade, critics have sought to revive interest in this literature, showing that it contributed in significant ways to the period’s major cultural transformations. My first book, Lawyers at Play, advanced this work, examining how the the literary culture of the Inns of Court responded to and shaped transformations in the English legal profession in the 1560s. My new book project “Tudor Drama in Modern Performance, 1890–present” aims to further reframe Tudor studies by showing how modern productions have reinforced older critical notions of Tudor literature, even as they have demonstrated the plays’ continuing significance.

I teach courses in Shakespeare, early modern drama, and Renaissance literature, as well as lower-division, general education, and required major courses in writing and literary analysis.


Lawyers at Play: Literature, Law, and Politics at the Early Modern Inns of Court, 1558-1581 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). Awarded Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award, 2017, American Association of Law Libraries

Elizabethan Seneca: Three Tragedies (co-edited with James Ker), MHRA Tudor and Stuart Translations Series, vol. 8 (London: Modern Humanities Research Association, 2012). 340pp.

Articles and Book Chapters

"Digital Resources for Performance History: Online Newspaper Archives and Modern Productions of Gorboduc" in Early Modern Literary Studies 20:1 (2018). 2200 words. Web.

"Legal Satire and the Legal Profession in the 1590s: John Davies's Epigrammes and Professional Decorum." Oxford Handbook to English Law and Literature, 1500-1700, ed. Lorna Hutson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. 121-141.

"Rethinking Absolutism: English de casibus Tragedy in the 1560s," A Mirror for Magistrates in Context: Literature, History and Politics before the Age of Shakespeare, ed. Harriet Archer and Andrew Hadfield. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 199-215.

"Early 'English Seneca': From 'Coterie' Translations to the Popular Stage," Brill's Companion to the Reception of Senecan Tragedy: Scholarly, Theatrical, and Literary Receptions, ed. Eric Dodson-Robinson. Leiden: Brill, 2016. 174-202.

"A Note on Jasper Heywood's 'Free Compositions' in Troas (1559)" (co-authored with James Ker). Modern Philology 101:4 (2013), 564-75.

"Lyric Poetry at the Inns of Court: Forming a Professional Community." The Intellectual and Cultural World of the Early Modern Inns of Court. Ed. Jayne Archer, Elizabeth Goldring, Sarah Knight. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2011. 223–44.

"Literary Associations of the Middle Temple." History of the Middle Temple. Ed. Richard Havery. Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2011. 147–71.

"English Seneca: Heywood to Hamlet" in The Oxford Handbook in Tudor Literature. Ed. Mike Pincombe and Cathy Shrank. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 472-89.

"National History to Foreign Calamity: A Mirror for Magistrates and Early English Tragedy." Shakespeare's Histories and Counter-Histories. Ed. Dermot Cavanagh, Stuart Hampton-Reeves, and Steve Longstaffe. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2006. 152-165.

"Seneca in Early Elizabethan England." Renaissance Quarterly 59:1 (2006): 29-58.

"Expanding the Political Nation: Gorboduc at the Inns of Court and Succession Revisited." Early Theatre: A Journal Associated with the Records of Early English Drama 8:1 (2005): 11-34.

"Love's Labor's Lost." The Greenwood Companion to Shakespeare: A Comprehensive Guide for Students. Ed. Joseph Rosenblum. 4vols. (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005): 2:380-97.

"A Mirror for Magistrates and Public Political Discourse in Elizabethan England." Studies in Philology 101:4 (2004): 381-400.




  • Huntington Library Travel Grant, 2018
  • Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award, American Association of Law Libraries, 2017
  • Outstanding Researcher Award, ISU, 2017, 2018
  • Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2011-12
  • Master Teacher, ISU, 2007, 2010
  • Research Fellowship, Idaho Humanities Council, spring 2009
  • Mellon Sawyer Seminar Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Aberdeen, 2003-04


Courses Taught


  • Censorship and Renaissance Literature (graduate seminar)
  • Adaptations of Seneca in Renaissance Drama (graduate seminar)
  • Non-Shakespearean Renaissance drama (graduate seminar)
  • Adaptations of Shakespeare, 1600-2000 (senior seminar)
  • Shakespeare in Performance (combined undergraduate/graduate)
  • Shakespeare (combined undergraduate/graduate)
  • Renaissance Literature - Women in Renaissance Literature (combined undergraduate/graduate)
  • Genre Studies in Drama - Survey of Tragedy (upper-division)
  • Writing and Research about Literature (upper-division)
  • Survey Early British Literature (lower-division)
  • Introduction to Literary Analysis (lower-division)
  • Critical Reading and Writing (general education)
  • Honors Humanities I (general education)
  • English Composition (general education)