Dr. Alice Leonard

I am a Post-doctoral Researcher at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

I was awarded my doctorate in January 2015 with a thesis entitled ‘Error in Shakespeare: Shakespeare in Error’. This was a joint project between the University of Warwick (UK) and the University of Neuchâtel, supervised by Professor Thomas Docherty (Warwick) and Professor Margaret Tudeau-Clayton (Neuchâtel).

My post-doctoral research expands the focus on error into wider early modern contexts to investigate textual and humanist error. I am currently examining the representation of error in early modern errata and writs of error.


Thesis Title: Error in Shakespeare: Shakespeare in Error

My thesis was a joint project between the Université de Neuchâtel and the University of Warwick (UK). It is a study of error in the early modern period, with particular focus on Shakespeare. The first aim is to establish how error was understood in the early modern period in literary, political, generic and textual contexts, and how these differ from our present-day theories. The second aim is to understand how Shakespeare uses error to overturn the assumptions of Renaissance rhetoric that prize clear and distinct speech.

The first section explores the representation of foreign language as error in Henry V and The Dutch Courtesan, where foreign language is mixed with English. The second section examines The Comedy of Errors, arguing that textual errors multiply conceptual error, complicating the editorial excision of these ‘mistakes’. The third section presses an important early modern meaning of ‘error’, not as incorrect but as wandering in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The final part moves from the histories and comedies to Shakespeare’s tragedies, exploring the nature of the difference between comic and tragic error.


Research Interests

Error, mistake, accident; Shakespeare; Renaissance drama; and theories of error. More broadly, I am interested in metaphor; multilingualism; and textual criticism. 


Research and publications 


Autumn 2015: convening 'An Introduction to Revenge Tragedy', Mondays 2-4pm

Spring 2016: 'Introduction to English Literature', Mondays 2-4pm

Office hour: Mondays 11-12pm


Email: alice.leonard@unine.ch