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About Dr Graham Atkin

Graham is involved in outreach events at schools and regularly gives lectures at Chester’s Storyhouse arts centre (feedback from which can be found below). These include talks on The Tempest, The CrucibleA Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, Two Gentlemen of Verona and staging Shakespeare.

Audience feedback from Graham’s Twelfth Night lecture at Storyhouse on 18th June 2019

  • My favourite lunchtime lecture to date on Shakespeare! Actors [Department of English students] and Graham good as usual but I felt the addition of Leo as a second speaker worked really well. Carry on!
  • Fantastic lecture, wonderful insight to Shakespeare’s work. Hope to hear another lecture from yourselves in the future.
  • An interesting and informative lecture – great to have this link with the University and free offerings of this quality available. 
  • Excellent! I learned a lot! Can now see Twelfth Night with more understanding. Great to have the acting interludes. Thank you!
  • Informative, insightful, enjoyable and thought-provoking.
  • I was pleased to see the ambiguity of the ending discussed. I always find the ending and its melancholy fascinating. Wonderful, excellent!
  • The actors added a further dimension to the readings. They helped the understanding of events – especially when they gave two versions of the same speech.
  • Excellent! Thank you. Especially student involvement and performances. The use of slides was also very good, all the different productions, etc.
  • Excellent! The added use of props in the acting scenes worked very well. Graham and Leo’s analysis was most interesting and informative. 
  • Thoroughly entertaining and informative as ever – you always open up new avenues! Love the idea of the hats! I think you could take that even further. More hats and a hat-stand maybe?
  • Excellent! Thank you Graham, Leo, Jess and George. I’ve realised that the “neat” resolutions in the ending don’t trouble me enormously – the apparent order at the beginning might appear to be restored but after the chaos, confusion, changed identities, etc, nothing can really be the same. And if the established order can be overturned for even one night, it cannot really be so firmly established or ordered after all. We are invited to be sceptical about that “order” and not trust it again.


Graham specialises in early modern literature and creative writing. Modules he teaches or lectures on include:

  • Shakespeare
  • Writing Drama
  • Tragedy
  • Kill Bill: Representing Trauma
  • Early Modern Literature
  • The American Way

Postgraduate supervision:

He welcomes enquiries about research projects on:

  • Edmund Spenser
  • William Shakespeare
  • Dramatic literature
  • Literature from 1579 to 1667

Also creative writing projects, especially:

  • Drama (stage or screen)
  • Work focusing on Spenser or Shakespeare


Graham has published on Spenser and Shakespeare and is currently working on the topic of loneliness in American literature. Graham is particularly interested in the way that the allegorical imagination evident in earlier American writers, such as Hawthorne and Melville, draws on English literary Renaissance inspirations.

Published Work

  • 'Losing face among the natives: ‘something about tattooing and tabooing’ in Melville’s Typee', chapter in Talking Bodies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Embodiment, Gender and Identity, edited by Emma Rees (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
  • ‘Performance History’, in 1 Henry IV, A Critical Guide, ed. Stephen Longstaffe (Continuum Renaissance Drama, 2011)
  • ‘"The rain it raineth in every frame": A Defence of Trevor Nunn's Twelfth Night', in Textual Revisions: Reading Literature and Film, ed. Brian Baker (Chester Academic Press, 2009).
  • Twelfth Night: Character Studies (Continuum, 2008).
  • ‘Raleigh, Spenser and Elizabeth: Acts of Friendship in The Faerie Queene, Book IV', inEdmund Spenser: New and Renewed Directions, ed. J. B. Lethbridge (Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2006).
  • Online Biographies of Thomas More, Edmund Spenser and Walter Raleigh for Chadwyck Healey (2001-03).
  • Studying Shakespeare: A Practical Guide, with Karen Armstrong (Prentice Hall, 1998).
  • Studying Literature: A Practical Introduction, ed. with Chris Walsh and Susan Watkins (Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1995).


BA, MA, PhD.