Dr Hannah Bower, Churchill




Biographical Information

I am a College Teaching Officer and acting Director of English Studies at Churchill College. I am a medievalist and an early modernist and I am particularly interested in relationships between literature, bodies, and emotions.

My PhD was funded by the Wellcome Trust and completed at the University of Oxford; it explored the linguistic and imaginative connections between medieval medical recipes and more canonical literary writings. Through the Wellcome Trust, I also completed a six-month secondment fellowship at the London Science Museum during which I explored the editorial history and reader reception of eighteenth-century medical pamphlets.

My current research projects continue this interdisciplinary approach. I have produced a series of articles investigating how human-engineered spectacles—performed by bodies and formed (or re-formed) in text—might function as fecund sites within medieval writings for intersections between different written and dramatic genres, literary forms and inhabited spaces. This recently led to the organisation of a conference called The Multimedia Craft of Wonder.

At the same time, I am working on a second book project entitled 'Representing Rupture in Domestic Literature, 1300–1700: Tearing, Splitting, Cutting'. It explores acts of tearing, fragmenting, and dividing in different kinds of writing connected to medieval and early modern households, tracking the way that this recurring imagery changed across manuscript and print versions of works. I explore how this imagery is used to ask fundamental questions about the relationship between family and fragmentation. My research so far suggests that, rather than simply being sensational or conventional, such imagery was a lively cognitive tool in many different genres for thinking about the precarities and strengths of domestic relationships, as well as a means of expressing what domestic connection and disconnection felt like.

Research Interests

Medieval medicine and science; emotions; embodiment; wonder; imagination; genre and form 

Selected Publications


Hannah Bower, Middle English Medical Recipes and Literary Play, 1375-1500 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, March 2022) - available open access here


Journal Articles/Chapters 

Hannah Bower, ‘Science’, in the Routledge Global Chaucer Companion, ed. by Craig Bertolet and Susan Nakley (forthcoming in 2024 with Routledge)

Hannah Bower, 'The Brickmaker, The Tavernkeeper, and the Knight: The Role of Obscurity and Imagination in Medieval Medical Recipes', in Recipes and Book Culture in England, 1350-1600, ed. by Carrie Griffin and Hannah Ryley (forthcoming with Liverpool University Press)

Hannah Bower, ‘“All toragged and torent”: Unity, Fragmentation, and Spectacle in Jack and His Stepdame’, Medium Ævum (forthcoming in May 2023)

Hannah Bower, ‘Bevis of Hampton’, in Women in the History of Science: A Liberating the Curriculum Sourcebook, ed. by Rebecca Martin and others (London: UCL Press, 2023)

Hannah Bower, "Her ovn self seid me": The Function of Anecdote in Henry Daniel's Liber Uricrisiarum', in Reading Henry Daniel: Contexts, Texts, Legacy, ed. by Sarah Star (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming May 2022)

Hannah Bower, 'Restless Rewritings: The Politics of Enigma and Exposure in Chaucer's Squire's Tale', Chaucer Review 57 (2022), 32-67

Hannah Bower, 'An Overlooked Eighteenth-Century Scrofula Pamphlet: Changing Forms and Changing Readers, 1760–1824', Science Museum Group Journal, 12 (2019)

Hannah Bower, ‘Similes We Cure By: The Poetics of Late Medieval Medical Texts’, New Medieval Literatures, 18 (2018), 183–210

Contributor to Revolting Remedies from the Middle Ages, by Daniel Wakelin and compiled by students from the University of Oxford (Oxford: The Bodleian Library, 2017)


Book Reviews:

'Julie Orlemanski, Symptomatic Subjects: Bodies, Medicine, and Causation in the Literature of Late Medieval England', in Journal of British Studies, 59 (2020), 908-909

'Laura Kalas, Margery Kempe’s Spiritual Medicine: Suffering, Transformation and the Life Course'The Review of English Studies (2020), n.p., available online at https://doi.org/10.1093/res/hgaa072