School of English and Drama

Dr Kirsty Rolfe, BA (Oxford), MA, PhD (QMUL)


Lecturer in Early Modern Studies



I grew up in south Devon, and did my undergraduate degree at St Anne’s College, Oxford. I then did both an MA and a PhD in early modern studies at Queen Mary; my doctoral research focused on the representation of the Thirty Years’ war in English printed texts, especially news and polemical pamphlets. During the first year of my PhD I worked as a research assistant on Volume 1 of The Correspondence of Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia, edited by Nadine Akkerman (Oxford, 2015). After I completed my PhD I worked at the University of Oxford as Postdoctoral Research Associate for the Oxford Edition of the Sermons of John Donne, before joining Queen Mary in 2015. I help to organise Queen Mary’s Research Seminar series (directed by Joad Raymond and Ruth Ahnert), and I’m an associate at the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (CELL) at University College London. I have written on subjects including early modern information networks, contemporaneity in early modern news, and the connections between newswriting and prophecy.

Undergraduate Teaching

Ihave taught on:

  • ESH110: Literatures in Time: Texts and Contexts from the Eighth to the Sixteenth Centuries
  • ESH280: Renaissance Drama

Postgraduate Teaching

I have taught on:

  • ESH7028: Early Modern Studies Research Preparation


Research Interests:

  • Jacobean and Caroline literature and culture
  • Print history
  • Early modern information networks
  • Memory
  • Early modern religion and politics

Recent and On-Going Research

I am currently working on a book, developed from my doctoral work, which will examine the representation of key early events in the Thirty Years’ War in English popular culture and political memory. I am also working on a study of the plague of 1625 and political writing.


  • ‘Probable pasts and possible futures: contemporaneity and the consumption of news in the 1620s’, forthcoming, Media History (2016)
  • ‘“It is no time now to enquire of forraine occurrents”: plague, war, and rumour in the letters of Joseph Mead, 1625’. To be included in Joad Raymond and Noah Moxham, eds., News Networks in Early Modern Europe (Leiden: Brill, 2016; hard copy and open access versions)
  • ‘Joseph Mead and the “Battle of the Starlings”’, in Newberry Essays in Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Vol. 7: Selected Proceedings of the Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies 2013 Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Conference (2013; available at

Public Engagement

I blog about academic issues – and post cartoons – at