|Language, Thought, and Writing: Writing as a Reader
|Foundations of Literary Studies
|Global Middle Ages
- Ph.D., English, University of Pennsylvania
- M.A., English, New York University
- B.A., Political Science, University of Michigan
Areas of Expertise
- Middle English language and literature
- History of the book
- Editorial history and textual theory
- Early modern poetry and prose
I teach medieval literature, with an emphasis on Chaucer and other late medieval poets, and I research and write about the fate of Middle English texts and books in the early modern period. I am the author of The Poet and the Antiquaries: Chaucerian Scholarship and the Rise of Literary History, 1532-1635 (Penn, 2019), which examines the scholarly reception of Chaucer's works in sixteenth-century England, with special emphasis on the role of antiquarians in the production of early printed editions. Drawing on both intellectual history and studies in the material book, I seek to understand how antiquarian readers used Middle English poetry to produce new knowledge about literary history and how this, in turn, informed emerging views of the English past. Work related to this project has also appeared in Spenser Studies, Chaucer Review, Manuscript Studies, and Studies in Philology, as well as in an edited collection on Chaucer and Spenser from Manchester University Press.
I care deeply about the ways that language, poetry, and politics combine in the stories we tell ourselves about shared pasts and collective presents, and I am currently in the early stages of a new project that explores how late medieval and early modern English people understood vernacular language change, and the (often political and polemic) purposes to which they put that understanding.
As I've pursued this research, I've developed a related interest in textual editing. With Elizaveta Strakhov, I am the co-editor of John Lydgate's Dance of Death and Related Works (Medieval Institute Publications, 2019), and with R.D. Perry, I am editing Chaucer's Legend of Good Women for a new critical edition of Chaucer's collected works from Cambridge University Press.
I've also written and lectured on the Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries, heralds and heraldry, the history of the miscellany, pre-photographic representations of medieval books and artifacts, and pedagogy of the History of the Book. I currently serve on the council of the Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School and was co-organizer of the 2018-19 theme for the Colby Center for Arts and Humanities, The Presence of the Past.