‘These Confusions of Lewd Tongues’: Linguistic Diversity in Early Modern England, 1509-1625


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


English & Comparative Literature


This project explores the dynamic of multilingual exchanges in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England in three major contexts: early modern linguistic theories, the English royal court, and London theaters. It brings into dialogue diverse texts, including Shakespeare's and Jonson's plays, Spenser's writings on Ireland, multilingual documents from the Tudor administrations, and contemporary dictionaries. Arguably, these works formed the people involved in their creation and consumption into members of complex linguistic communities, which in turn constituted a force in the country's political and cultural life with important implications for its literary and dramatic culture. In doing so, the dissertation uncovers a trans-national component in texts too readily considered quintessentially English.