Dr Lucy Rayfield

Dr Lucy Rayfield BA MSt DPhil (Oxon)
Research Associate, St Benet's Hall

Lucy is a specialist in early modern drama and theatrical literature and culture, primarily in France and Italy. Her first book, forthcoming with Legenda, considers the reception of Italian comedy in early modern France, investigating how sixteenth-century French writers used Italian sources to transform erudite comedy from a scholarly exercise into an autonomous literary genre, which could be employed by humanists both to enrich their culture and to elevate their language. Her book also assesses the ways in which French writers turned Italianate comedy against the Italians themselves later in the century, using their plays as weapons to overthrow the Italian cultural dominance.

As well as completing revisions to her book, Lucy has written chapters and articles on a range of subjects, which include festival culture, early modern and modern humour theory, print culture, and Renaissance poetic treatises. She is also a reviewer for Early Theatre, Modern Language Review, Early Modern Women, the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and French Studies.

Lucy is a Research Associate in Modern Languages at St Benet’s Hall, and the MHRA Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, University of Warwick. She is also an Associate Fellow at Warwick’s Institute for Advanced Studies.


Lucy is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and teaches at St Anne’s College and Christ Church College. For three years she was also the Graduate Teaching Assistant at Lincoln College. Lucy is currently a Lecturer in Italian at the University of Bristol, where she teaches a range of modules in both French and Italian. Previous to this she was Lecturer in French at the University of Exeter, where she taught French language and culture. She also currently teaches on the MA in Renaissance Studies at the University of Warwick, as well as supervising dissertations.

French teaching at Oxford: Prelims Papers IIA (Unprepared Translation into English), IIB (Prepared Translation into English), III (Short Texts) and IV (Narrative Fiction); FHS Papers IIA (Translation from Modern French), VII (Early Modern Literature 1530-1800), X (Modern Prescribed Authors: Montaigne, Voltaire, Molière, Racine, Diderot), and XII (French Satire from Rabelais to Beaumarchais)

Italian teaching at Oxford: FHS Papers II (Translation from Italian into English), III (Translation from Pre-Modern Italian), and VII (Renaissance Italian Literature: 1430-1635)

Select Publications and Papers

Poetics, Performance and Politics in French and Italian Renaissance Comedy (Cambridge: Legenda, forthcoming 2021). Link to book here.

— ‘Rewriting ‘Humour’ in Early Modern Europe’, chapter in The Palgrave Handbook of Humour, History, and Methodology, ed. by H. Burrows, D. Derrin (London: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2021).

— Critical edition: Thomas Kyd, Cornelia, in The Collected Works of Thomas Kyd, ed. by D. Freebury-Jones, B. Vickers (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, forthcoming).

— ‘The Legitimacy of Laughter in Renaissance France’, Society for French Studies Conference, University of Bath (forthcoming July 2020).

— ‘Hobbes, Humour, and Laughing out Loud in Early Modern Europe’, Society for Renaissance Studies Conference, University of East Anglia (forthcoming July 2020).

— ‘Poetics, Joy and the Emotions in Sixteenth-Century France’, Scientiae Annual Conference, University of Amsterdam (forthcoming June 2020).

— ‘Charles Estienne’, Literary Encyclopaedia (online, forthcoming March 2020).

— ‘No Laughing Matter: Superiority Theory and Early Modern Humour’, STVDIO Seminar Series, Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, University of Warwick (February 2020).

— Review: BBC Radio 3’s Candide series (read by Adrian Scarborough), British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Criticks (January 2019). Link to review here.

— ‘Translating Dante’s Inferno into Welsh: An Outreach Workshop’, Multilingualism and Multi-identities in Wales Conference, Cardiff University (November 2019).

— ‘Podcasting as a Teaching Resource’, Teacher Development Workshop, University of Exeter (November 2019).

— ‘Festival and Diplomacy in the Ballet de Circé (1627)’, Society for European Festivals Research Conference, Turin (September 2019).

— Review: T. V. Kennedy, Women’s Deliberation: The Heroine in Early Modern French Women’s Theatre (1650-1750) (Routledge, 2018), Early Modern Women (October 2019). Link to review here.

— Review: H. Taylor, The Lives of Ovid in Seventeenth-Century French Culture (OUP, 2017), Modern Language Review (October 2019). Link to review here.

— Review: A. Cayuela, M. Vuillermoz, eds., Les mots et les choses du théâtre: France, Italie, Espagne, XVIe-XVIIe siècles (Droz, 2017), French Studies (April 2019). Link to review here.

— Review: J. Stefano, G. Pieri, eds., Chivalry, Academy, and Cultural Dialogues: The Italian Contribution to European Culture, Italian Perspectives; 31 (Legenda, 2017), Modern Language Review (January 2019). Link to review here.

— Review: B. Papenburg, ed. Gender: Laughter (Macmillan, 2017), International Society for Humour Studies Quarterly Publication (August 2018).

— ‘Reevaluating Theatrical Space in Early Modern France’, Before Shakespeare Conference, University of Roehampton, London (August 2017).

— ‘Humour and Heritage: Theories on Comic Theatre in Early Modern France’, Humours of the Past Collaboratory: ‘Humour, History and Methodology: A Multidisciplinary and Trans-Professional Enquiry’, University of Durham (July 2017).

— ‘Charles Estienne and Theories on Comic Theatre’, French Graduate Showcase, Maison Française, Oxford (April 2017).

— ‘Charles Estienne: France’s Forerunner of Humanist Comedy’, International Society for Humour Studies Conference, Trinity College Dublin (July 2016).

— ‘Patronage and Performance in Sixteenth-Century French Comedy’, Institute of Modern Languages Research Forum, Senate House, London (June 2016).

— ‘Humanist Comedy at the Early Modern French Court: The Italian Impact’, British Graduate Shakespeare Conference, Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon (May 2016).

— ‘The Migration of Italian Comedy into Early Modern France: Gabiano, Roffet and L’Angelier’, Italian Graduate Seminar, Taylor Institution, Oxford, (March 2016).

— ‘Renaissance Theatre in France’, Adventures on the Bookshelf Blog (January 2016). Link to article here.

— ‘St Cross Historical Collections Centre’, Balliol College Annual Report (January 2016).

— ‘A New Perspective on French and Italian Renaissance Theatre’, Arts and Humanities Research Council Forum, St Anne’s College, Oxford (October 2015).

— ”Qui Meurt Suyvant Dieu est Heureux’: Providence and Paradox in French Renaissance Biblical Tragedy’, Institute of Modern Languages Research Forum, Senate House, London (May 2015).

— ‘Performance of the Bacchae at the East Oxford Community Classics Centre’, Oxford Early Career Academic Outreach Network Blog (February 2015). Link to article here.


Subscribe to Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages