I joined the University of Kent in September 2011 after working as a post doctoral researcher in the School of English, Queen’s University of Belfast. I was employed on two large AHRC-funded projects; most recently, ‘Geographies of Orthodoxy’ and previously, as a research associate on the ‘Imagining History’ project. These projects gave me the opportunity to look at two of the largest and most significant corpora of Middle English books in existence.
My research focuses on the situation of texts within their material contexts; that is, within the hand-made books produced, patronised and read by medieval consumers. I have an interest in the ways in which the people who read (and heard) Middle English texts may have responded to them, what meanings literature held for contemporary audiences, and what the books that carried these texts tell us about literary reception.
Medieval religious literature is one specific focus for my research, particularly in respect of how those who owned books containing such material recruited these texts as part of their devotions. It is in so-called ‘devotional manuals’, miscellaneous collections of varied religious texts, that my current and future research lies. I contend that such books might have been the most ‘popular’ kind of book in the English language in the late Middle Ages, dwarfing the numbers of copies of texts such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository
I would like to supervise students exploring Middle English textual cultures in any genre, or students with interests in book history and reception studies.