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John-Mark Philo

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UKRI Future Leaders Fellow

John-Mark, originally from Glasgow, completed his studies at Oxford. Since then, he has carried on exploring translation, classical reception, and cross-cultural exchange in early-modern Europe. This means that he is typically to be found in libraries and archives, examining manuscripts and correspondence and trying his best to decipher early-modern marginalia.

He is the Principle Investigator of "English and Scottish Scholars and the Global Library: From Aleppo to Massachusetts (1500-1700)".

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"Scandalous Speech and Slanderous Libelles": Robert Peterson, Claudio Tolomei, and the Translation of Free Speech in Early Modern England

Studies in Philology, 119.4 (2022) 621-653

Ben Jonson’s Sejanus And Shakespeare’s Othello: Two Plays Performed By The King’s Men In 1603

Shakespeare Survey, 75 (2022) 122–136

An Historian fit for a Queen?
Elizabeth I’s translation of the Annales and the Tacitean Turn

Journal of the Northern Renaissance, 13 (2022)

The Printer’s Copy of Henry Savile’s Tacitus

Erudition and the Republic of Letters, 6.12 (2021) 1–31

‘An Ocean Untouched and Untried’: The Tudor Translations of Livy (monograph)

Oxford University Press (2020)

Elizabeth I's Translation of Tacitus: Lambeth Palace Library, MS 683

Review of English Studies, 71 (2020) 44–73.

Tacitus, Hector Boece, and the Writing of Scottish History

Scottish Literary Review, 12.2 (2020) 111–136.

English and Scottish Scholars at the Library of Gian Vincenzo Pinelli

Renaissance and Reformation, 42.2 (2019) 51–80.

John Bellenden’s Livy and Les Decades of Pierre Bersuire: The French in Bellenden’s Scots

Translation and Literature, 28.1 (2019) 1–27

Henry Savile’s Tacitus in Italy

Renaissance Studies, 32.5 (2018) 687–707.

John Bellenden’s Livy and the Tools of Translation

Scottish Literary Review, 9.1 (2017) 19–39.

Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Livy’s Legendary Rome

Review of English Studies, 67 (2016) 250-274.

Tudor Humanists, London Printers, and the Status of Women: The Struggle over Livy in the English Querelle des Femmes

Renaissance Quarterly, 69.1 (2016) 40–79.

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English and Scottish Scholars at the Global Library: From Aleppo to Massachusetts (1500—1700)

Funding Body: UKRI

The Global Library Project aims to reconstruct the journeys made by English and Scottish visitors to libraries across North America, Europe, and the Middle East. By reconstructing the activities of these scholars, poets, and merchants, the project examines how knowledge- and cultural-exchange were enabled by travel to and between libraries. Journeys to and between libraries, this research suggests, acted as a kind of epistemological catalyst across the early-modern period.

English and Scottish Scholars at Italian Libraries (1500–1700)

Funding Body:  Harvard Villa I Tatti

Throughout the early modern period, English and Scottish poets, scientists, and antiquarians travelled to Italy, pursuing their studies at the universities and undertaking diplomatic missions on behalf of the English and Scottish crowns. They also frequented, however, the vast private libraries of northern and central Italy. These scholars left their mark on the Italian collections, annotating manuscripts, trading texts, and making contributions of their very own to these libraries. This project aims to excavate the unstudied works of Anglo-Scottish authorship now extant in Italian archives, locating them within the scholarly and collaborative contexts from which they emerged. The project will thus have important implications for how we understand the transmission of both ideas and physical texts across national borders, from the exchange and study of Arabic scholarship to the Elizabethan spy networks at work in cinquecento Italy.

Tacitus Before Tacitism: The Reception of Tacitus in Tudor England

Funding Body:  The Leverhulme Trust

This project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and hosted at the University of East Anglia, explored the Tudor reception and translation of the Roman historian, Tacitus. Anchored in new archival finds, including the printer's copy of Henry Savile's celebrated translation of the Historiae and Agricola, this project undertook a systematic re-evaluation of the historian’s influence on the culture and politics of Tudor England. Whereas traditionally the reception of Tacitus has been associated with the Earl of Essex, this study offered a fresh account of Tudor engagement with Tacitus, re-establishing the most important site of Tacitus’s reception as among the queen and coterie. So too it examined how English scholarship was influencing the reception of Tacitus on the continent, tracing the journey of Henry Savile’s English translation and commentary to Padua, where it was read and in part translated at the vast private library of Gian Vincenzo Pinelli.

Translating Livy in the Sixteenth Century

Funding Body:  The Arts and Humanities Research Council

​My doctoral research focused on the translation and reception of the Roman historian Livy in sixteenth-century England and Scotland. The sixteenth century saw the study of classical history flourish. From debates over the rights of women to the sources of Shakespeare’s plays, the Greco-Roman historians played a central role in the period’s political, cultural, and literary achievements. My doctorate examined the influence exerted by Livy’s history of Rome, the Ab Urbe Condita, on the most pressing debates of the day, from Tudor foreign policy to arguments concerning the merits of monarchy at the height of the English Civil War. This study also considered how Livy was being translated into different dialects of English, from John Bellenden’s Scots version of 1533 to Philemon Holland’s enormous Romane Historie.

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