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Miss Rachel Fennell

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Member of the Department of English Studies  


Rachel Fennell graduated from Lancaster University in 2010 with a First Class Honours degree in English Literature with Creative Writing. Continuing at Lancaster, she completed her MA in English Literature in 2011, where her dissertation centered on girls who defeat monsters in Children’s Literature and Film. After working as an educational interpreter for the National Trust and three years teaching in Asia and the UK, Rachel returned in 2016 to study at Durham University as a PhD student in the English Department, under the supervision of Professor Corinne Saunders and Dr Patrick Gray. She is currently teaching on the first year undergraduate module ‘Introduction to Drama’.

Rachel has always been drawn to the fantastic, the magical and the monstrous in literature, with particular interest in its occurrence in fairy tales, feminist narratives and renaissance literature. Her current research investigates representations of the Sleeping Beauty motif, considering the cultural and medical implications of the comatose woman in conjunction with Medieval and Early Modern imaginative fictions.

When not buried in her own research, Rachel works as a teaching assistant and taught on the first year undergraduate module Introduction to Drama in 2017/18.

Twitter: @FeministFennell

Publications and Papers

Papers Published

‘To Be And Not To Be: Shakespeare’s Undead Princesses’ in MEMSA Journal Proceedings of the 2017 Student Conference

Public Seminars

“‘Look, her lips. Look there, look there’: The Consequences of Kissing in Early Modern Tragedies, at the Medieval and Early Modern Student Association”’ (MEMSA) Seminar Series, Durham World Heritage Visitor Centre, 6th June 2017


‘Female Madness as Resistance in Drama’ for the Durham English Literature Undergraduate Lecture Day, 5th May 2018

Conference Papers

Fennell R., Saintly Sex Symbols: Christ’s Vagina and The Erotics of Medieval Christian Religious Practice’ at MEMSA ‘Humour and Obscenity in the Medieval and Early Modern World’, MEMSA Conference, Durham University, 9-10th July 2018

Fennell R., ‘Desire and the Corpse in Medieval Romance’ at Leeds Medieval Congress, 5th July, 2018 

Fennell R., ‘Whiter than the Sheets: The Bed as Body in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline’ at Medieval Nudity Workshop, Durham University, 10th March 2018

Fennell R., ‘“Sleeping (Undead) Beauties: Early Modern Drama and the Slumbering Corpse Maiden”’, at MEMSA 'Imitation and Innovation: Uses of the Past in the Medieval and Early Modern World’, MEMSA Conference, Durham University, 11-12th July 2017

Fennell R., ‘”This Will Hurt You A Lot More Than It’ll Hurt Me: Horrible Healers in Medieval Fiction’”, at ‘Cruelty and Compassion Postgraduate Conference’, University of Leeds, 19th June 2017

Fennell R., ‘“To Be And Not To Be: The Undead Princess in Early Modern Drama”’, at ‘Living Well and Dying Well in the Early Modern World CEMS Conference’, Exeter University, 15-16 June 2017

Fennell R., ‘“Four and Twenty Naughty Boys Baked in a Pie: The Song of the Rat Cook and other Cannibal Fairy Tales for Children’”, CRSF, Liverpool Univeristy, 9th June 2017

Fennell R., “‘And she, an eater of her mother’s flesh’: Sex, Cannibalism and the Other in Shakespeare’s Tragedies’”, at ‘Stranger Danger: Literary Explorations of the Nation, Self and Other Pre -1750 Graduate Conference’, University of Cambridge, 24th April 2017

Fennell R., ‘“The Princess Corpse: The Fear of the Sickbed in Fairy Tale’”, at ‘Deeper Than Swords: Fear and Loathing in Fantasy and Folklore Conference’, Edinburgh University, 19-20 January 2017

Organisational Roles

Co-convener of the Late Summer Lecture Series at Durham University, 2017

Durham Student Ambassador 2017/18

Durham Postgraduate Student Ambassador 2017/18