Dr Barber’s PhD explored the Shakespeare authorship question, the first doctorate in the UK (and the second in the world) to do so. She is a senior lecturer in the English and Comparative Literature Department of Goldsmiths, University of London. Her area of interest is Early Modern literary biography, with research focused primarily on Shakespeare and Elizabethan poet and dramatist Christopher Marlowe, and connected members of Elizabethan literary circles. She also works in the field of what is known as ‘computational stylistics’, the computer-based analysis of texts for signifiers of individual style, a branch of authorship attribution studies. Her academic articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals including Rethinking History, Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, Notes & Queries, American Notes and Queries, Critical Survey, and the Journal of Early Modern Studies.
Three times joint winner of the Annual Calvin & Rose G Hoffman Prize for a distinguished work on Christopher Marlowe (2011, 2014, 2018), she delivered the inaugural Annual Christopher Marlowe lecture in London in 2015. Her contribution to Christopher Marlowe the Craftsman (Ashgate, 2010) questions the notion that Marlowe was any more violent than his contemporaries. She has written articles about Marlowe for The Huffington Post and other outlets and discussed Marlowe at literature festivals and on European television and UK radio programmes.
Dr Barber is editor and co-author of 30 Second Shakespeare (2015), part of the successful 30 Second series of books, now republished as Know-It-All Shakespeare (2017). In attempting to clarify the evidence (and lack of evidence) that has given rise to the Shakespeare’s authorship question, Dr Barber is the author of ongoing e-book project Shakespeare: The Evidence. She has given papers on aspects of the Shakespeare authorship question at conferences at Queens University Belfast, the University of Sussex, the Institute of Ideas, The Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship in Ashland, Oregon, and The Globe Theatre in London. Her articles addressing issues arising out of the Shakespeare authorship question have been published in peer-reviewed journals Rethinking History and the Journal of Early Modern Studies, as well as scholarly news outlet The Conversation. She is writer and presenter of the first MOOC on the authorship question, Introduction to Who Wrote Shakespeare, which launched on the Coursera platform in February 2018.