Door Bolts, Thresholds, and Peep-Holes: Liminality and Domestic Spaces in Early Modern England, an Edited Volume


Deadline 20th February 2018

Domestic spaces lay at the centre of the lives of early modern English men and women.  Yet their liminality has often been under-investigated, if not underestimated, by scholars.  On the one hand, households served as a hubbub of familial and filial activity (housewarmings, births, conventicles, fast/feast days and reading groups), on the other hand as sites of the foreign and fatal (burglaries, squatting, murders, possessions, and devastating fires).  The house was as permeable as it was penetrable.  This despite attempts to ward off or perturb would be intruders: via witches’ marks, locks, bars, fences, guard dogs, community patrols and the ‘watch’. Yet domestic spaces could also be semi-public ones.  Alehouses, whorehouses, madhouses, university rooms, inns, and workhouses were also places where people lived, lodged or resided.  These had their own share of complex social interactions and dislocations: generational or contractual lodgers, raids by authorities, renovations, balladeers/gossips, brawls, abductions, mistaken identities, and escapes. We are inviting contributions to an edited volume that aims to investigate the ways that early modern denizens became the unwitting victims or voyeurs and manipulators of the fluidity (rather than the fixity) of the spaces in which they inhabited.  Themes for papers may include (but are not limited to): literary, visual. political, theological, historical, material, musical, polemical or any other treatments of the topics of domestic liminality in print or manuscript in the context of reformation-era England. Initially, we ask for abstracts of around 500 words, (for proposed chapters of 6.000 words), together with a CV, to be sent to Robert. W. Daniel ( and Iman Sheeha ( by 20 February 2018. As a rough guideline, chosen proposals would submit their draft chapters to the editors by November 2018, aiming to go to press by May 2019.