Lucy Rayfield

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 thesis considered 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 thesis additionally assessed how French writers turned Italianate comedy against the Italians themselves later in the century, using their plays as political and polemical weapons in an attempt to overthrow the Italian cultural dominance. Lucy is currently working on turning her thesis into a monograph; she is also making a start on her next project, which examines early modern festival and celebration culture in France and Italy.


Lucy is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and lectures at St Anne’s College and Christ Church College.

French teaching: 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: 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

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

— Review: T. V. Kennedy, Women’s Deliberation: The Heroine in Early Modern French Women’s Theatre (1650-1750) (Routledge, 2018), Early Modern Women (forthcoming)

— Review: H. Taylor, The Lives of Ovid in Seventeenth-Century French Culture (OUP, 2017), Modern Language Review (forthcoming)

— 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.


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