Research Stream

Lucy Potter

Lucy Potter is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Creative Writing at The University of Adelaide. Her PhD (2007), Re-reading Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage, suggested a new approach to Marlowe’s first play, one based on re-reading Dido in the light of the currency of Aristotle’s Poetics in the Early Modern period. She demonstrated that Dido is a serious exercise in generic transformation that enacts two interpretations of catharsis – the therapeutic and the structural – to ‘translate’ Virgil’s entire Aeneid as tragedy and promote the authority of that epic in the emerging genre of Elizabethan tragedy. In the process of generic translation, Dido becomes a ‘modernised’ Poetics, an English Renaissance tragedy that defends tragedy. Aspects of her thesis have been published as articles in refereed journals and as chapters in edited collections. She maintains a fascination with the Classical period – upon which the Early Modern period drew so productively – that is expressed in her most recent publication on the enigmatic Classical goddess Fama (Rumour), and her influence on the authorial aspirations of Virgil, Ovid and Marlowe. Her other research interests include the critical history of catharsis, Marlowe’s influence on Shakespeare, theories of tragedy, the development of Early Modern English literary theory and practices of ‘translation’, the contemporary reception of Classical texts and ekphrasis.

Lucy is also the recipient of six major teaching awards, including a national award for ‘outstanding modelling of effective, student-centred teaching and dynamic leadership in the Discipline of English’. Her interest in and commitment to student learning led her to the positions of Associate Dean, Student Experience (2011-2012) and Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching (2013-2015). She is also a self-confessed grammar ‘tragic’ who has a thriving
consultancy practice in effective business communications. Her clients have included The National Centre for Vocational Education Research; The Legal Practitioners Conduct Board (South Australia); Australian Vocational Education and Training Association; Department of Education, Science and Training; Australian Bureau of Statistics; and Principals Australia Institute.

The University of Adelaide Staff Profile


Ekphrastic Catharsis: Act 2, Scene 1 of Christopher Marlowe’s Tragedy of Dido, Queen of Carthage


Potter, Lucy. ‘Telling Tales: Negotiating 'Fame' in Virgil's Aeneid, Ovid's Metamorphoses, and Christopher Marlowe's Tragedy of Dido, Queen of Carthage’. In Fama and her Sisters: Gossip and Rumour in Early Modern Europe. Eds Heather Kerr and Claire Walker, pp. 37-63. Turnhout: Brepols, 2015.

Potter, Lucy. ‘Casting a Shadow of One's Own: Marlowe's Dido and the Virgilian Intertext’. In The Shadow of the Precursor, edited by Diana Glenn et al, pp. 154-169. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012. 

Potter, Lucy. ‘Informing Audiences: Marlowe's Early Tragedies’. In This Earthly Stage: World and Stage in Late Medieval and Early Modern England, edited by Brett D. Hirsch and Christopher Wortham. Turnhout: Brepols, 2011. Print. Cursor Mundi, 13, pp. 236-256.

Potter, Lucy. ‘Shakespeare, Marlowe, and the Fortunes of Catharsis’. In Rapt in Secret Studies: Emerging Shakespeares, edited by Darryl Chalk and Laurie Johnson, pp. 287-303. Newscastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010.

Potter, Lucy. ‘Marlowe's Dido: Virgilian or Ovidian?’. Notes and Queries 56.4 (December 2009): 540-544.

Potter, Lucy and Sue McGowan. ‘The Implications of the Chinese Learner for the Internationalization of the Curriculum: An Australian Perspective’. Critical Perspectives on Accounting Special Issue: Chinese Learning 19.2 (2008): 181-198.

Potter, Lucy. ‘Marlowe's Dido and the Staging of Catharsis’. AUMLA: Journal of the Australasian Universities Modern Language Association 107 (May 2007): 1-23.

Potter, Lucy. ‘Ophelia Centre Stage’. In Extensions: Essays in English Studies from Shakespeare to the Spice Girls, edited by Sue Hosking and Dianne Schwerdt, pp. 25-41. Kent Town: Wakefield Press, 1999.

Potter, Lucy. ‘Hamlet and the Scene of Pedagogy’. Australasian Drama Studies Special Focus Issue: Renaissance in the South 33 (1998): 96-116.

Published Reviews

Potter, Lucy. Review of Christopher Marlowe the Craftsman: Lives, Stage, and Page. Edited by Sarah K. Scott and M. L. Stapleton (Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2010). Marlowe Society of America Newsletter 30.1 (Fall 2010): 11-12.

Potter, Lucy. Review of Shakespeare's Marlowe: The Influence of Christopher Marlowe on Shakespeare's Artistry by Robert Logan (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007). Marlowe Society of America Newsletter 27.1 (Fall 2007): 3-4.

Potter, Lucy. Review of Redefining Elizabethan Literature by Georgia Brown (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). Marlowe Society of America Newsletter 26.2 (Fall 2006): 2-

Undergraduate Teaching

Honours English
Old Texts Made New: Literary Imitation and Allusion

Postgraduate Supervision (awarded and / or submitted)

Bodies and Becomings: Human and Animal Encounters in Early Modern English Literature. (MPhil)

Exchanging Flesh: Prostitution and Plastic Surgery in Seventeenth-Century England. (PhD)

Looking Without Knowing: Rancière, Aristotle, and Spectating in the Representative Regime. (MPhil)

Sacrifice in Suburbia: American Novels as Troubled Tragedies. (PhD)

"What doctrine call you this?”: an Inquiry into Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus, and Hermetic Thought. (MA)

Conference Papers

Marlowe’s Mural and a Paradox: The Virgilian-ness of the Tragedy of Dido, Queen of Carthage, 8th International Conference of the Marlowe Society of America, 10‒13 July 2018, Wittenberg, Germany.

‘Risible Bullets: Understatement in Marlowe’s Tamburlaine Plays’, The University of Queensland (ANZAMEMS), 2015.

‘Self-Directing Early Modern English Plays: Christopher Marlowe’s Tragedy of Dido, Queen of Carthage’, University of New South Wales (Preparing to Perform: from page to Early Modern Stage), 2012.

‘“In fear and feeling of the like distress”: Cathartic Emotions on Early Modern Stages 1594-1626’, The University of Adelaide (ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions International Collaboratory), 2011.

‘Casting a Shadow of One’s Own: Marlowe’s Dido and the Virgilian Intertext’, Flinders University (The Shadow of the Precursor), 2010.

‘The ‘Dark Side’ of Virgil’s Aeneid: Evidence and Implications’, University of Tasmania (ANZAMEMS), 2008.

‘Marlowe’s Virgil: Ekphrasis’, University of Kent, (6th International Marlowe Conference), 2008.

‘The Shifting Locus of Tragedy in the Plays of Christopher Marlowe’, University of Antwerp (The Locus of Tragedy), 2006.

‘Informing Tragedy: Marlowe’s Dido and 1 Tamburlaine the Great’, The University of Western Australia (World as Stage / Stage as World), 2006.


Potter, L. Calvin & Rose G Hoffman Prize for a distinguished publication on Christopher Marlowe for ‘“From forth Troy’s ashes”: Ekphrastic catharsis and alius Achilles in Christopher Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage’. Awarded 13 December 2017.