Faculty Members and Current Projects

Dr Lucy Allen: “My current research project looks at gendered representations of truthfulness in medieval romance, and I’m interested in feminist readings of popular fiction more widely. My PhD thesis focussed on religious manuscript cultures in England, and I’m preparing parts of this for publication. I’ve also just contributed to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Four Thought’ programme, which airs on Wednesday 13th January at 8.45pm. I speak about my research on the programme as well as my personal responses to modern perceptions of ‘the medieval’ and of women’s voices.’ Read my blog here

Professor Richard Beadle: “I have recently deposited the typescript of my Sandars Lectures, on ‘Henry Bradshaw and the Foundations of Codicology’, (which I gave last Lent Term) with the University Library and the British Library, where they are now openly accessible. I hope a published version will follow in due course. Early in September I gave a paper at a workshop on ‘Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the North of England in the Later Middle Ages’ (University of Lausanne) which explored the significance of the parts written for, and played by children in medieval English plays. Later that month I visited the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC for consultations with the staff there concerning the history, materials and conservation of the manuscript of the Macro Plays, and I am now working on a study aimed at reconstructing the much larger compilation within which the plays were bound during the eighteenth century”

Dr Victoria Condie: “I wrote my DPhil thesis on Representations of Christ’s Nativity in Anglo-Saxon Literature and Art. Since then I’ve been teaching a lot of Middle English language and literature, which is what I’m doing now at Fitz as a Bye Fellow. I have a couple of papers coming up, one in January at the “Art and Articulation” conference in Oxford, and then later at Leeds. I am primarily interested in the connections between Old English text and image. Currently I am working on the multivalent interpretations articulated by the images contained within the Aelfwine Prayerbook, considering the drive for meaning encoded in Anglo-Saxon image making.  I am also interested in the transmission of the apocryphal infancy gospels in the Anglo-Saxon period and the Middle Ages and their use in different genres. At present I am also working on the use and interpretation the apocrypha in Vercelli Homilies V and VI.”

Dr Alex da Costa: “I’m working on a book on the marketing of early print and how the strategies printers used shaped reading in the early sixteenth century. I’m particularly interested at the moment in the rhetorical ways paratextual features like indexes, notes and even errata notices were used. This summer, has been satisfying diverse. I’ve sent three articles to the press which should be out next year: one on Thomas Godfray, who seems to have had a subversive streak; one on print correction in England; and another on the ‘Pardoner’s Tale’.”

Dr Orietta Da Rold: I’m currently working on a major book project on the role of paper in medieval literary history and book production in England up to the introduction of print. Writing Europe 500-1450: Texts and Contexts (with Philipp Shaw and Aidan Conti) has just appeared. It brings together papers on a range of topics in medieval manuscript studies and textual criticism, seeking to explore these issues from a pan-European perspective. I’m currently editing with Elaine Treharne the Cambridge Companion to Medieval British Manuscripts.

Dr Jane Hughes: “For the past three years I have been Pepys Librarian at Magdalene, in addition to my teaching and research post in English.  My book on the Pepys Library and Historic Collections was published in September (Scala, 2015) and I have recently contributed to a new collection of essays on Pepys (Thames and Hudson, 2015).  Over the summer, I have been working on developing an on-line catalogue of the medieval manuscripts in the Old Library: this is a small but very interesting collection, which has been somewhat overshadowed by the spectacular holdings of the Pepys Library, and I’d very much like it to receive more scholarly attention. I have a long-term project to write on the application of contemporary literary theory to Latin and English texts of the 12th to the 14-centuries, thinking about the methods and critical assumptions of this approach as well as explicating medieval writings. I am currently completing a piece on politeness theory, which is (predictably) mostly about rudeness.”

Dr Philip Knox: “My main research project at the moment is a monograph I’m calling The ‘Romance of the Rose’ in Fourteenth-Century England: Poetry, Reproduction, and Deviance. I’m also co-editing (with Jonathan Morton and Daniel Reeve) a collection of essays entitled Medieval Thought Experiments: Poetry, Hypothesis, and Experience in the European Middle Ages. My own contribution to this volume examines the idea of an inherent universal desire for the good in Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, and argues that Jean de Meun uses his Roman de la rose to explore (critique?) the furthest reaches of this metaphysical notion and the sites at which it begins to break down. Over the summer, I went to a great conference at the IEA in Paris about the Rose and scholastic philosophy, where I talked about the text’s use of juristic ideas about human nature. Finally, Jamie Fumo is putting together a collection of new readings of the Book of the Duchess, and I’m contributing a chapter in which I talk about voice.”

Dr Simon Meecham-Jones: “My primary research priority has been to work towards completing the monograph Chaucer and Imagination. In July, I presented a paper on a related theme at the London Chaucer conference, ‘Virtue, Patience and the Earth in Chaucer’s Former Age’. This year I have also delivered a paper ‘Honesty and Irony in Gerald of Wales’ at the New Perspectives on Gerald of Wales conference in Harvard. and one on ‘Code-switching and language contact in manuscripts from the Welsh March’ at the International Celtic Congress in Glasgow. My chapter ‘”He in salte terms dreynte”: understanding Troilus’s tears’ was published in  War and Emotions ed. Stephanie Downes, Andrew Lynch and Katrina O’Loughlin (Palgrave Macmillan July 2015).”

Dr Charles Moseley: “I published last year a long article in YBES on the English printed editions of Mandeville in the context of early modern travel writing and the development of travel fiction, and I am continuing to explore along that lode. But a second mediaeval interest (as distinct from my work on Elizabethan theatrical assumptions) is increasingly on the reception and dynamics of religious art, and I published a chapter on this entitled ‘Speaking pictures: mediaeval religious art and its viewers’ in the recent Edinburgh Companion to the Bible ed. Prickett.” See my website here.

Professor Christopher Page: “My book The Guitar in Tudor England: A Social and Musical History is now out with CUP. I am currently giving a series of lectures as Gresham Professor of Music in London.”

Dr Jacqueline Tasioulas

Dr James Wade: “I’ve recently completed two articles: one on ethics and emotions in Middle English romance, and one on the fortunes of penitential romance in the wake of the reformation. I have a larger project on analogy in the works, and I’m putting the finishing touches on a new edition of Sir Torrent of Portingale, which will come out in the Middle English Texts Series.”

Dr Edward Wilson-Lee: “My current medieval projects include a study of the library of Hernando Colón, illegitimate son of Columbus and the greatest book collector of the first age of print, and a long-term project on sublime rhetoric in the late-medieval and early modern periods.”

Professor Barry Windeatt: “My parallel-text edition of the  of Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love is due to be published by Oxford University Press in March 2016 and my translation of Julian for Oxford World’s Classics came out in 2015.  I’ve also contributed an essay on ‘Julian of Norwich and Medieval English Visual Culture’ to a recently published Festschrift for A.V.C.Schmidt.”

Dr Laura Wright: “I am working on the Multilingual Practices in the History of Written English Project funded by the Academy of Finland (, currently completing an article on the language of medieval merchants.  I am also writing a book on the history and development of medieval British mixed-language business writing, whereby clerks routinely integrated Medieval Latin, Anglo-Norman French, and Middle English in a linguistically orderly way.

Professor Nicolette Zeeman: “I am just about back from a Leverhulme Fellowship, finishing a study of allegory that pivots on Piers Plowman, many of whose narrative structures are characterized by various forms of internal tension and disruption. In Arts of Disruption. Conflict and Contradiction in Medieval Allegory I will be looking at some of these narrative structures and the traditions with which they are in dialogue. My next book, provisionally entitled Caught in the Body, will look at medieval theories about image use and the problem of idolatry (image ‘misuse’), asking how these ideas shape medieval attitudes to the body and its accoutrements, especially in the secular world. A plenary paper, ‘Theory Transposed: Chivalric Images and Idols’, recently given at the meeting of the Swiss Association of Medieval and Early Modern English Studies in Zurich, will shortly appear in the Association’s journal. My two most recent publications are ‘Mythography and Mythographical Collections’, in The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature, vol. 1, ed. Rita Copeland (OUP); and ‘The English Charles: Subjectivity, Textuality and Culture’, in the festshrift for A.C. Spearing, who formerly taught here in Cambridge (Readings in Medieval Textuality, ed. Cristina Maria Cervone and D. Vance Smith (D.S. Brewer).”

Research Fellows

Dr Sara Harris: “My new project is called ‘Britain’s Legal Romances: Late Medieval Perceptions of Pre-Conquest Law’; I also work on medieval views of the history of Britain’s languages.” Sarah is also co-organising a research group at CRASSH (Cambridge Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities) this academic year, entitled ‘Multilingualism and Exchange in the Ancient and Medieval World‘. The group will discuss the intellectual and commercial trajectories of goods, travellers and texts which enabled contact between early languages in western Europe and the Mediterranean.

PhD Students          

Kathryn Crowcroft: “My dissertation looks at the interaction between theological and early scientific approaches to the tongue and the mouth from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance.”

Brianna Dougher: “I”m working on a diachronic study of exile and the trickster in medieval narrative.”

Marcel Elias: “My research focuses on emotional rhetoric and holy war in Middle English romance.”

Abigail L. Glen: ‘My thesis explores the effects of animal imagery on the sexual control of both enclosed and travelling women. I consider a range of sources, from the Kilpeck Corbels to Henryson’s ‘Twa Mice’, via a manuscript of Gerald of Wales’ ‘Topography of Ireland’,where a woman smooches a goat in the margins. Ultimately, I am interested in the interplay between text and image, and how far feminised animals and monstrous women were used to educate, entertain, or admonish female readers and viewers.’

Conor Leahy:My thesis examines the aesthetic and social contexts of vernacular poetics in late medieval Scotland and England. I focus especially on the artistic function of theoretical statements in the poetry of Robert Henryson, Gavin Douglas, Stephen Hawes, and John Skelton.”

Arabella Milbank: I am (I hope, fearlessly) working on a dissertation on high and late-medieval fear: spiritual, visceral and eschatological.  I am seeking to develop an account of the vernacular medieval theory and theology of fear. This will include love and fear in fourteenth-century devotional and mystical texts and a chapter on apocalyptic spirituality in Piers Plowman. I am currently exploring the traces of terror in romance and the chivalric ideal and an account of the longer medieval debate concerning whether and how Christ, and how Mary, experienced fear. I am also very excited this year about a new literature and theology enterprise I am co-convening.  Entitled the Logos Series, this project of linked seminars and colloquia brings together theologians and literary scholars in a new way: as collaborative close-readers of texts:

Lotte Reinhold: “I am working on an examination of landscapes in Ricardian dream poetry, and am currently thinking about literary landscapes in Chaucer’s dream poems.”

Devani Singh: “I’m interested in the history of reading and the libraries in which the bibliographic remains of the Middle Ages were preserved. My PhD studies the readership of Thomas Speght’s Renaissance editions of Chaucer.”

Johannes Wolf: “My PhD focuses on the disciplinary techniques of the pastoral and confessional literature written in Middle English in the late-fourteenth and fifteenth-centuries. I am interested in theories of subjectivity and knowledge, medieval and modern, and the techniques by which human beings come to understand themselves and their environments.”

Shirley Zhang: “My PhD research focuses on Malory’s “Book of Sir Tristram” and its known sources. I am interested in the transitional features of Malory’s reworking of the Arthurian characters and motifs, and I try to answer questions about authorial intention through close textual comparison and discourse analysis. My twitter is @suxuezhang.”