Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Australian National University
Website URL
Balladry, early modern history, early modern cultural history, history of sex, court studies, capital punishment, public execution, history of torture
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I’m a cultural and literary historian who works on the early modern, pan-European tradition of balladry and singing the news. I’m also a specialist on the Western European history of crime and punishment, especially public torture and execution, and I’ve just finished writing a book on execution ballads. I regularly perform the ballads I talk about. I am also an expert on early modern court studies, and on early modern social and cultural history more generally.

Recent Publications


Singing the News of Death: Execution Ballads in Europe 1500-1900 (in press, Oxford University Press series ‘The New Cultural History of Music’, 2022)

Scandal and Reputation at the Court of Catherine de Medici, Series: ‘Women and Gender in the Early Modern World’ (New York: Ashgate/Routledge, 2016)

Refereed Journal Articles

Chanteurs de rues, or Street Singers in Early Modern France’, Renaissance Studies 33/1 (2019), Special Issue: Street Singers in Renaissance Europe

‘When the News Was Sung: Ballads as News Media in Early Modern Europe’, Media History 22/3-4 (2016) Special Issue: ‘Managing the News in Early Modern Europe’, eds. Helmer Helmers and Michiel van Groesen: 1-17

‘The Rich Merchant Man, or, What the Punishment of Greed Sounded Like in Early Modern English Ballads’, Huntington Library Quarterly 79, no. 2 (Summer 2016) Special Issue: ‘Living English Broadside Ballads, 1550-1750: Song, Art, Dance, Culture’, eds. Patricia Fumerton and Megan Palmer-Browne: 279-299

‘The Power of Music: the Significance of Contrafactum in Execution Ballads’, Past & Present 229/1 (November 2015): 47-89

‘Medieval and Early Modern Emotional Responses to Death and Dying’, Parergon 31/2 (2014): 1-10, with Rebecca McNamara

‘Word versus Honor: the Case of Françoise de Rohan vs. Jacques de Savoie’, Journal of Early Modern History 16/4-5, special issue: ‘Speech and Oral Culture in Early Modern Europe and Beyond’ (October 2012): 315-334

Special Journal Issues

Parergon 31/2 (2014), Special Issue: ‘Medieval and Early Modern Emotional Responses to Death and Dying’, co-edited with Rebecca McNamara

Book Chapters

‘Emotions in Public: Crowds, mobs, and communities in early modern Europe’ in Routledge History Handbook to Emotions in Europe, 1100-1700, eds. Susan Broomhall and Andrew Lynch, in press, 2019.

‘Punishment’, in Early Modern Emotions: An Introduction, ed. Susan Broomhall (Routledge, 2017), 195-198

‘Singing Songs of Execution in Early Modern Italy’ in Voice and Texts in Early Modern Italian Society, eds. Stefano Dall’Aglio, Brian Richardson and Massimo Rospocher (New York: Routledge, 2017), 52-68.

‘Ballads of Death and Disaster: The Role of Song in Early Modern News Transmission’ in Disaster, Death and the Emotions in the Shadow of the Apocalypse, eds. Jenny Spinks and Charles Zika (London: Palgrave, 2016), 277-296.

‘Poison, Pregnancy and Protestants: Gossip and Scandal at the Early Modern French Court’ in Fama and her Sisters: Gossip and Rumour in Early Modern Europe, eds. Claire Walker and Heather Kerr (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015), 137-160.

‘A Stable of Whores? The “Flying Squadron” of Catherine de Medici’ in The Politics of Female Households: Ladies-in-Waiting across Early Modern Europe, eds. Nadine Akkerman and Birgit Houben (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 181-208.

Media Coverage
ABC Radio National,, Independent, Aeon, Pursuit, The Conversation
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
British Isles, England, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
Pre-17th century, 17th century, 18th century, 19th century, Early Modern
Expertise by Topic
Gender, Literary History, Public History, Religion, Sexuality, Sexual Violence, Urban History, Women