The English counter-tenor, Theodor (Ted) Tregear, was born and educated in London. He read English at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in 2014. Thanks to a graduate scholarship generously sponsored by Hertford College, he then moved to Oxford to take a Master of Studies course in Early-Modern English Literature, spanning the period from 1550 to 1700 (2014-2015). Within this field, he concentrated on the early-modern letter, and especially on the philosophical and scientific correspondence in Europe that formed part of the burgeoning ‘Republic of Letters’. His dissertation focused on Thomas Hobbes, a figure on the margins of this self-professed web of intellectuals, considering the ways in which Hobbes’s philosophical thought complicated, and continues to complicate, how we think about those intellectuals and their epistolary relations with one another. Far from being a useful but otherwise neutral means of communication, letters according to Hobbes fostered suspicion and rancorous dissent among their writers and recipients, and gave the lie to a sunny picture of collective intellectual endeavour in seventeenth-century Europe. His work in this area was supervised by Sir Noel Malcolm, general editor of the Clarendon Edition of Hobbes’s work.
As another aspect of the course, Ted Tregear also produced a partial edition of a letter-book in the Bodleian Library, including letters by Robert Devereux, the dazzling but politically ill-fated second Earl of Essex. By charting how Devereux furthered his political standing by means of letters, copied and circulated by his tight-knit secretariat - but also, how these same letters were brandished against him in his trial as evidences of treason - this edition offered some thoughts concerning a theory of the letter, drawing on the work of Jacques Derrida, and suggested how such a theory might change the way we edit epistolary texts. While in Oxford, Ted also produced work on Shakespeare’s plays, and on Donne’s sermons.
Having graduated from Hertford in 2015, Ted Tregear has returned to Cambridge for a PhD in Shakespeare and 17th-century anthologies of his poetry and plays, supervised by Dr. Raphael Lyne (2015-2018). Outside the early-modern period, he has keen interests in philosophy, especially German thought from Immanuel Kant to Theodor Adorno, and in music: as an undergraduate he was a choral scholar with Trinity College Choir of Cambridge (Director: Stephen Layton).