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John Lavagnino 132

Dr John Lavagnino

Reader in Digital Humanities

Research interests

  • Digital


Before arriving in my current areas of early modern literature and digital humanities, I spent time in a number of other fields: physics, atmospheric science, American literature, and modernism, in particular. I studied some of these things at Harvard University and Brandeis University, and worked on others at the Smithsonian Institution and Brown University, before coming to King's in 1998, to what was then called the Centre for Computing in the Humanities. Since 2009 I've been a member of the King's Department of English as well; I've also spent some time as a visiting scholar at the National University of Ireland in Galway and at Tsuda College in Tokyo.

Research Interests and PhD Supervision

  • early modern drama
  • textual scholarship
  • literary reception
  • digital approaches to literature        

My current work focuses on early modern drama from 1580 to 1642, and in particular its reception since the closing of the theatres in 1642: while Shakespeare's works have always been popular on stage and in print, the reputations of other playwrights of the era have had enormous swings from fame to oblivion and back, and I'm working to trace this history and its driving forces in more detail.

Earlier in my career, I was one of the general editors of The Collected Works of Thomas Middleton, a vast collaborative project to publish the writings of the great Jacobean playwright; it won the Modern Language Association’s Prize for a Distinguished Scholarly Edition in 2009. More recently I've been one of the creators of the Catalogue of English Literary Manuscripts 1450-1700, a free online guide to the manuscripts of major authors from Skelton to Congreve, published in 2013.I welcome applications from prospective doctoral students planning to work on early modern drama in English, textual scholarship, reception studies, and digital approaches to literature.

For more details, please see John's full  research profile.


In the Department of Digital Humanities, my teaching areas are open cultures and digital textuality; in the Department of English, I teach modules on seventeenth-century literature.