School of English


My research interests are centred around theological writing in the later Middle Ages, asking questions about the ways in which medieval writers engaged with the religious debates of the day, and how ordinary people, for the most part with very limited access to written texts, experienced religion. The visual culture of the Middle Ages, exemplified in illuminated manuscripts and church architecture and decoration, is an important influence on my thinking, as indeed it was for medieval writers themselves.

A historicist and close reader by instinct and training, I find myself increasingly interested in exploring how far methodologies from other disciplines might illuminate my work. I am currently writing a book which draws upon sociological and anthropological theories of identity and boundaries to explore the ways in which people imagined religious identity in fifteenth-century East Anglia.

From 1st February 2012-31st January 2014 I am working on an AHRC-funded research project, ‘Spreading the Light: Mapping the Vernacular Elucidarium in Medieval England’. With my fellow researcher, Huw Grange, I am examining all extant manuscripts of the Elucidarium in English and French, in order to better understand the production, dissemination and reception of this important religious text. More information can be found on the project website:

Contact Information


School of English, Rutherford College W3.N2

Mondays and Thursdays, 12:00-13:00

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Book section
James, S. (2015). Reading Classical Authors in Capgrave's 'Life of St Katherine'. In: Von Contzen, E. and Bernau, A. eds. Sanctity As Literature in Late Medieval Britain. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 134-150. Available at:
James, S. (2014). Hospitable Reading in a Fifteenth-Century Passion and Eucharistic Meditation. In: Kelly, S. ed. Devotional Culture in Late Medieval England and Europe: Diverse Imaginations of Christ's Life. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, pp. 593 -605.
James, S. (2014). Hospitable Reading: in a Fifteenth-Century Passion and Eucharistic Meditation. In: Kelly, S. W. and Perry, R. M. M. eds. "Diuerse Imaginaciouns of Cristes Lif": Devotional Culture in England and Beyond, 1300-1560. Brepols, pp. 593-605. Available at:
James, S. (2013). Capgrave, Bokenham, and late medieval saints' lives. In: Boffey, J. and Edwards, A. eds. A Companion to Fifteenth-Century English Poetry. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, pp. 99-112.
James, S. (2011). "Langagis, whose reules ben not writen": Pecock and the Uses of the Vernacular. In: Salter, E. and Wicker, H. eds. Vernacularity in England and Wales c.1300-1550. Brepols, pp. 101-117. Available at:
James, S. (2017). Paradise, pleasure and desire: Edenic delight in some late-medieval dramatic fragments. Literature and Theology [Online] 32:53-68. Available at:
James, S. (2014). Oculi carnis, oculi mentis: why seeing is not believing in Capgrave's Life of St Katherine. The Review of English Studies [Online] 65:421-437. Available at:
James, S. (2012). Rereading Henry Suso and Eucharistic Theology in Fifteenth-Century England. Review of English Studies [Online]. Available at:
James, S. (2012). A Previously Unnoticed Extract of Suso's Horologium Sapientiae in English. Notes and Queries [Online] 59:28-30. Available at:
James, S. (2005). "Doctryne and studie": female learning and religious debate in Capgrave's Life of St Katharine. Leeds Studies in English [Online] n.s.36:275-302. Available at:
James, S. (2005). `Doctrye and studie': Female Learning and Religious Debate in Capgrave's Life of Katherine. Leeds Studies in English:275-302.
James, S. (2008). The First English Bible: The Text and Context of the Wycliffite Versions. Review of English Studies [Online] 59:766-767. Available at:
Arthur, C. (2016). The Liturgy of 'Charms' in Anglo-Saxon England.
Wackett, J. (2014). The Litlyngton Missal: Its Patron, Iconography, and Messages.
James, S. and Clarke, P. eds. (2020). Pastoral Care in Medieval England: Interdisciplinary Approaches. UK: Routledge.
James, S. (2020). Unclean priests and the body of Christ: the Elucidarium and pastoral care in fifteenth-century England. In: Clarke, P. D. and James, S. eds. Pastoral Care in Medieval England: Interdisciplinary Approaches. UK: Routledge.
James, S. (2019). Dialogue. In: Johnson, I. ed. Geoffrey Chaucer in Context. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Available at:
Perry, R. (2016). Robert Mannyng and the Imagined Reading Communities for Handlyng Synne. In: Clarke, P. D. and James, S. eds. Pastoral Care. Boydell and Brewer. Available at:
Showing 18 of 19 total publications in KAR. [See all in KAR]
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During the academic year 2016/17 I will be teaching:

EN302 Early Drama (Stage 1)

EN697 Chaucer and Late Medieval English Literature (Stage 2)

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Research supervision

I am currently supervising doctoral students working on the cultural construction of kingship in the late Middle Ages, the relationships between image and text in medieval manuscripts and other mixed media, and Anglo-Saxon charms.

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School of English, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NX

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 823054

Last Updated: 25/10/2018