Seymour, Dr Laura

Dr Laura Seymour

Stipendiary Lecturer in English

Academic background

State-school educated, BA (Cambridge), MPhil (Cambridge), PhD (London)


Laura primarily teaches FHS Paper 1 (Shakespeare) and FHS Paper 3 (Literature in English 1550-1660, Excluding the Works of Shakespeare) for St Anne’s, as well as supervising dissertations. Laura is a fellow of the HEA.

Research interests

Laura’s research focuses on disability (especially neurodiversity) and early modern literature.

She is currently working on her third book, Early Modern Neurodiversity: a study of neurodivergence in early modern Europe, across languages and cultures focusing on various authors including Lope de Vega, Ben Jonson, legal texts from England and Scotland, Jan Kochanowski, and the Christus Patiens genre of plays.

Her current project, ‘New Understandings of Hamlet’, is supported by a British Academy Small Research Grant. This project centres lived experience of neurodivergence and suicidal ideation in reading Hamlet. Her previous work on neurodiversity was supported by Oxford’s John Fell Fund and English Faculty Covid Recovery Fund. 

Her forthcoming book, Shakespeare and Neurodiversity is about teaching Shakespeare inclusively. Her first book, Refusing to Behave, looks at people who do not behave according to social norms in 16th-17th century English and Spanish literature. 

She has also worked on Shakespeare and cognitive theory, and early modern hell literature.

Laura is also PI of ‘Neurodiversity at Oxford’; this project, run with Dr Siân Grønlie and enabled by a grant from the Oxford Diversity Fund, provides a range of support, social activities, and information for Oxford University’s neurodiverse community starting in the 2021-2022 academic year.

Recent Publications

‘”All Discourses But Mine Own Afflict Me”: Morose’s House as a Seventeenth-Century Autistic Utopia’, in Jenny Bergenmar, Louise Creechan, and Anna Stenning, eds, (Neuro)Divergent Textualities (Bloomsbury, 2023)

‘Shakespearean Echolalia: Autism and Versification in King John (c.1595)’, special issue of Shakespeare journal, ‘Shakespeare and Versification’, ed. Robert Stagg (2022)

‘The uses of anxiety: Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666)’, Bunyan Studies 26 (2022)

Shakespeare and Neurodiversity (forthcoming 2024: Cambridge University Press)

Refusing to Behave in Early Modern Literature (Edinburgh University Press, 2022)

‘Small Things That “Cleave”: Hannah Allen’s Scissors and her Religious Melancholy (1683)’, SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 Summer 2022 (62.3) 

‘The Name of Grim: Tracing the Character of Grim the Collier in sixteenth and seventeenth century drama’, Early Theatre 24(2) (2021)

‘The Silent Classroom: Teaching Lost Plays’, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching 28(2) (2021)

‘Sites of Radical Religious Experience’, in Ros Smith and Tricia Pender (general editors), and Susan Wiseman and Judith Hudson (section editors), Palgrave Encyclopedia of Early Modern Women’s Writing (Palgrave, 2021)

‘“Some Enormous Meaning”: Metaphor, ASD, and Moving Away From The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe’, Moving Impressions, ed. Stuart Bell (London: The87 Press, 2021)

 ‘The Taste of Food in Hell’, ‘The Literature of Hell’, ed. Margaret Kean Essays and Studies (Oxford: Boydell and Brewer, 2021)

‘The Feasting Table as a Gateway to Hell on the Early Modern Stage and Page’, Renaissance Studies 34(3) (2020), 392-411.

 ‘Loving Gardens, Loving the Gardener? “Solitude” in Andrew Marvell’s The Garden’, Marvell Studies 3(2) (2018).

‘Learning and Teaching Resources’, co-authored with Gillian Woods, in Karen Britland and Line Cottegnies, eds, Henry V: A Critical Reader (Arden: 2018).

‘Taking Hands in Titus Andronicus‘, in Tim Chesters and Kathryn Banks, eds, Kinesic Intelligence: Rethinking Movement in Renaissance Literature (Palgrave: 2018).

‘Her Silence Flouts Me: Stillness, Silence, and Cognitive Underload on the Shakespearean Stage’, in Peter Garratt, ed, The Cognitive Humanities: Embodied Mind in Literature and Culture (Palgrave: 2016).

 ‘Doth Not Brutus Bootless Kneel? Kneeling, Cognition, and Destructive Plasticity in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar’, in Rhonda Blair and Amy Cook, eds, Languages, Bodies, and Ecologies: Theater, Performance, and Cognition (Methuen: 2015).