Elsa Reuter

Elsa Reuter received her PhD at The University of Adelaide under the supervision of Chief Investigator David Lemmings. Her thesis, titled 'Justice and the Passions in English Treason Trials, 1660-1714', demonstrated that the passions were integral to negotiations of power and fundamental in defining both individual and national identity in Restoration England.

General rejoicing greeted the Restoration of Charles II to the English throne in 1660; however the twenty-five year reign of the “merry monarch” was to become one characterised by division and dissent. Elsa's research demonstrates that the passions not only defined individual and national identity, but also framed the bond between subject and sovereign. Her work illuminates the foundation of this relationship by tracing public expression of the passions in political and print culture surrounding treason trials, from the first decade of the king’s reign to the infamous plots of the Exclusion period. Through the passions, she contends that one can see the connection between the king and his people becoming increasingly fraught as a result of a decline in deference towards traditional authority, in conjunction with a changing concept of the English nation, in which the person of the monarch was reduced to a supporting role. This research demonstrates that seventeenth-century individuals and communities revealed themselves to be more than capable of using emotion to both communicate political desires and to renegotiate the balance of power between the state and opposition groups.

Contact

Please direct any queries to Claire Walker (claire.i.walker@adelaide.edu.au).