Prof Helen Cooper, Magdalene



Biographical Information

Helen Cooper took her BA and PhD at New Hall, Cambridge, now Murray Edwards College, and held a Junior Research Fellowship there.  In 1978 she moved to University College, Oxford, as the first woman fellow in its history, to teach medieval and early modern literature.  She was the Editor for English Language and Literature for Medium Aevum for some years.  In 2004, she returned to Cambridge, to Magdalene College, as the Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English

Research Interests

Anglo-Norman and Middle English romance; the late fourteenth century, especially Chaucer; Chaucer's afterlife; the fifteenth century; connections between the Middle Ages and the early modern, especially in relation to Shakespeare and other drama, pastoral literature and romance.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

Extensive supervision experience in medieval and early modern literature. Topics supervised in the past include both medieval and early modern romance, Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate, the printing of medieval canonical authors, the afterlife of the Classics, Spenser, Jonson, and sixteenth- and seventeenth-century pastoral. Contributes to teaching and/or supervision for the Medieval and Renaissance Literature MPhil

Selected Publications

Publications include:

  •  Shakespeare and the Medieval World, Arden Companions to Shakespeare (2010)
  • The English Romance in Time: Transforming Motifs from Geoffrey of Monmouth to the Death of Shakespeare (Oxford University Press, 2004)
  • Oxford Guides to Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales (second edition, Oxford University Press, 1996)
  • The Structure of the Canterbury Tales (Duckworth and University of Georgia Press, 1983)
  • Pastoral: Mediaeval into Renaissance, D.S. Brewer, 1978
  • Co-edited with Sally Mapstone, The Long Fifteenth Century: Essays for Douglas Gray(Oxford University Press, 1997) (includes "Counter-Romance: Civil Strife and Father-killing in the Prose Romances")
  • Edited: Sir Thomas Malory: Le Morte Darthur - The Winchester Manuscript, Oxford University Press (Oxford World's Classics, 1998) 

Recent articles include:

  • ‘Epilogue: Edmund Spenser and the Passing of Tudor Literature’, in The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature 1485-1603, ed. Mike Pincombe and Cathy Shrank (Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 49-66
  • ‘Poetic Fame’, in Cultural Reformations: Medieval and Renaissance in Literary History, Twenty First Century Approaches vol. 2, ed. Brian Cummings and James Simpson (Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 361-78
  • ‘Going Native: The Caxton and Mainwaring Versions of Paris and Vienne’, in Travel and Prose Fiction in Early Modern England, ed. Nandini Das, special number of The Yearbook of English Studies 41.1 (2011), 21-34
  • ‘Literary Reformations of the Middle Ages’, in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval England, ed. Andrew Galloway (Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 261-78