Dunstan Roberts

Dr Dunstan Roberts

MA MPhil PhD

  • Position Director of Studies Fellow
  • Subject areas English
  • School Arts & Humanities
  • Email
  • Department link English

Dunstan’s research examines the social and intellectual history of books during the early modern period. Its aim is to broaden our knowledge of what books people owned, what books they read, and how they read them.

Dunstan Roberts

Dunstan obtained his BA in English from the University of Cambridge in 2005, after which he remained in Cambridge to take an MPhil and a PhD in Renaissance Literature. His doctoral thesis investigated the impact of the Reformation on the physical interactions between books and readers, and especially on what people wrote in their books. Before joining Wolfson, he was a researcher on several Cambridge-based projects and a Bye-Fellow and Director of Studies at Fitzwilliam College.



His research examines various aspects of book use and ownership during the early modern period. Much of this work has taken the form of case-studies and much of it has focused on previously unstudied primary sources. To date, he has worked on a diverse range of figures, including royal administrators, rural clergymen, and puritan iconoclasts. At the moment, he is preparing a book-length study of Edward, first Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1582-1648).

He has collaborated with English Heritage and the National Trust to study the role which books played in international travel from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. In doing so, he co-curated public exhibitions at Belton House, in Lincolnshire, and Audley End, in Essex, and the digital exhibition ‘Cultures in Translation: Sir Thomas Hoby and Italy’, hosted by Cambridge University Library.

What's on

Professor Helle Porsdam

Humanities Society: Science as a Cultural Human Right

24/05/2022 at 17.45

Join Professor Helle Porsdam for an evening talk which focuses on the right to science – a little known but potentially powerful human right.

Ellie Bladon, PhD student in the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge

Science Society: Parental care: an evolutionary case of “use it or lose it”

27/05/2022 at 17.45

Phenotypic plasticity enables animals to flexibly adjust their behaviour to their social environment – sometimes through the expression of adaptive traits that have not been exhibited for several generations. The ability to revive these ‘ghosts of adaptations past’ could prove beneficial for populations living in a changing world.

Decorative image.

Working on Your Dissertation

28/05/2022 at 10.00

This workshop will cover several aspects of formatting and proofreading a dissertation.

Kill or Cure poster

Art exhibition: 'Kill or Cure'

28/05/2022 at 10.00

Lethal or life-giving? Wolfson's exciting contemporary art exhibition explores the potential of animals, plants, and substances from the natural world to ‘Kill’ and/or ‘Cure’ (open to the public Saturday and Sundays, 10am - 5pm).

Daniel Phillips playing violin and Victor Wang playing Piano

Music Society Lunchtime Concert: Daniel Phillips & Victor Wang

28/05/2022 at 13.30

Join us live in the Lee Hall for an hour-long lunchtime concert of violin and piano, performed by Daniel Phillips and Victor Wang.