I am a Co-Editor of the journal Shakespeare, Vice President of the Australian and New Zealand Shakespeare Association, and Treasurer of the Australasian Association for Digital Humanities. My research agenda is split between three complementary elements: textual studies, computational stylistics, and literary and cultural history.
My research in textual studies explores the historical and material conditions of dramatic production, mediation, and reception; the theory and practice of textual editing in print and digital formats; and the cultural and institutional processes of canon formation. My foundation of two ongoing, large-scale projects, both of which have received substantial funding from external granting agencies, forms the backbone of this research.
The first of these is Digital Renaissance Editions, which publishes open-access electronic critical editions of non-Shakespearean early modern drama. In addition to serving as the project’s Coordinating Editor, I am preparing a multimedia critical-performance edition of the anonymous Fair Em with Kevin Quarmby. I have also published widely on the politics and pragmatics of digital editions. The second is Reproducing Renaissance Drama, 1744–2014, a study of the editing and publishing of early modern English plays since the eighteenth century and their relationship to canon formation over time. Conceived as a series of case studies, the monograph coming out of this project combines quantitative methods of statistical and network analysis with qualitative and archival research. The project also involves development of a custom-built open-access bibliographical database with detailed records for every play edited 1744–2014, the Bibliography of Editions of Early English Drama.
My research in computational stylistics involves the quantitative and algorithmic analysis of literary style, as well as authorship attribution in theory and practice. Recent projects include an authorship attribution study of Arden of Faversham for the New Oxford Shakespeare (2016), and an article theorising and demonstrating digital methods for Shakespeare source study (2016).
With Hugh Craig, I am completing a monograph, Beyond Authorship: Computational Studies of Early Modern English Drama, for submission to Cambridge University Press. Funded by an ARC Discovery Project grant, the book identifies latent trends in genre, period, repertory, and authorial style across a large corpus of early modern plays, through the application of quantitative methods associated with computational stylistics and authorship attribution. It is the first monograph of its kind in the field of Shakespeare and early modern studies, and it provides a model and rationale for future scholarship.
Literary and Cultural History
My ‘non-digital’ critical work on literary and cultural history focuses on the transmission of texts, images, and other cultural forms and their adaptation to suit changing socio-political agendas. Recent projects include articles on Jews and Judaism (2015, 2016), and an article on Catholicism, witchcraft, and Elizabethan court drama (2014; PDF). My future monograph project, tentatively titled The Drama of Domestication, explores how early modern discourses of domestication and animal husbandry intersect with contemporary notions of gender, race, religion, and nationhood.
Dr Brett D. Hirsch
English and Cultural Studies (M204)
University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley WA 6009