Dr Bonnie Lander Johnson

BA (Sydney), MA (Melbourne), DPhil (Oxon)

Director of Studies, Postgraduate Mentor

College Roles

  • Director of Studies in English (Parts IA)
  • Postgraduate Mentor

University Roles

  • Teaching Associate, Faculty of English


Telephone: 01223 335719

Email: bcl24@cam.ac.uk


Dr Bonnie Lander Johnson is a Shakespeare scholar with a particular interest in the Elizabethan botanical renaissance. 

In 2012 I took my Oxford DPhil, supervised by Sharon Achinstein and Laurie Maguire. Since then I have held Lectureships in Cambridge, at Selwyn College and the English Faculty. In the Faculty, I am a Teaching Associate. In Part I of the English Tripos I teach Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature and in Part II, I teach Tragedy, Material Renaissance and Early Modern Drama. For the MPhil, I offer a course on the botanical renaissance. I supervise dissertations across these subjects.

Research Interests

Dr Bonnie Lander Johnson is currently researching the Elizabethan botanical renaissance: a movement that involved a wide range of popular practices from domestic decorative arts to pedagogy, gardens and food, printed herbals, and the Shakespearean theatre itself.

Her first monographChastity in Early Stuart Literature and Culture, traced the medical, theological, literary, and revolutionary uses of chastity from The Winter’s Tale to the death of Charlies I. It argued, among other things, that court ‘performances’, including royal birthing ceremonies, need to be considered part of the same debate as political and theological pamphlets. Her subsequent project was Blood Matters, a collection of interdisciplinary essays as part of the Wellcome-Trust funded Blood Project

She is now writing about the Elizabethan botanical renaissance: a movement that involved a wide range of popular practices from domestic decorative arts to pedagogy, gardens and food, printed herbals, and the Shakespearean theatre itself, but which also shaped Elizabethan proto-colonialism and expansionist privateering through growing markets in cochineal, tobacco and sugar. As part of this research interest, she is editing The Cambridge Handbook of Literature and Plants, a large volume charting literature’s interest in plants (from Virgil to contemporary nature writing and spanning all global regions). Bonnie is also finishing a monograph on Shakespeare’s botany.

Her research covers Shakespeare; Ford; Webster; Milton; gender; genre; early modern medical, theological, and political history; gardens; domestic arts; birth and midwifery; court masques; Tudor and Stuart Petrarchism; material cultures; environmental humanities; medical humanities; and English performance of all kinds.