Our partners

Professor Diane Watt

Network Lead

I have published extensively on women’s religious and literary cultures and communities. However I am also interested in the representation of gender and sexuality in canonical writings, in particular in the work of John Gower, who was a contemporary and friend of Geoffrey Chaucer. My previous work has focused on later medieval and also early modern writers, and their readers, but my current research looks back to the eleventh and twelfth centuries and beyond. For example, at the moment I’m exploring connections between Goscelin of Saint-Bertin’s Liber Confortatorius and the famous Middle-English poem Pearl. I am excited about leading this network because it will allow me the opportunity to work with a team of international researchers who are all interested in thinking about the ways in which research into women’s literary culture might redefine the literary canon.

Professor Corinne Saunders

Professor of Medieval Literature

Corinne Saunders is Professor of Medieval Literature in the Department of English Studies and Co-Director of the Centre for Medical Humanities at the University of Durham.  She specialises in medieval literature and the history of ideas, with a particular emphasis on medicine, emotions, gender and the body.  She is a co-Investigator on the interdisciplinary project ‘Hearing the Voice’ and a collaborator on ‘The Life of Breath’, both funded by the Wellcome Trust. Her third monograph, Magic and the Supernatural in Medieval English Romance, was published in 2010, and she is currently writing A Concise History of Medieval English Literature.  She is also the author of The Forest of Medieval Romance (1993) and Rape and Ravishment in the Literature of Medieval England (2001). She has edited A Companion to Medieval Poetry (2010), Chaucer (2001), A Companion to Romance: From Classical to Contemporary (2004), (with Françoise le Saux and Neil Thomas) Writing War: Medieval Literary Responses (2004), Cultural Encounters in the Romance of Medieval England (2005), (with Jane Macnaughton) Madness and Creativity in Literature and Culture (2005), (with David Fuller) Pearl (2005), A Concise Companion to Chaucer (2006), and (with Ulrika Maude and Jane Macnaughton) The Body and the Arts (2009).  She is also the English editor of the journal Medium Ævum.

Professor Amy Appleford

Associate Professor of English

Amy Appleford is Associate Professor of English at Boston University. Her teaching and research interests are the interactions of literature, civic and political culture with Christian belief and practice; medieval women’s visionary writing and mysticism; and early drama, especially in relation to performance and ritual theory.  She has published articles on Middle English poetry, late medieval women’s writing, fifteenth-century urban culture and Shakespeare.  

Her first book, Learning to Die in London, 1380-1530 (Philadelphia, 2014) argues that the structured awareness of death and mortality was a vital aspect of medieval civic culture, critical not only to the shaping of single lives and the management of families and households but also to the practices of cultural memory, the building of institutions, and the good government of the city itself. This project was supported by the Stanford Humanities Center (2010-11), and by the Boston University Center for the Humanities (2012-13). Her current project, In Place of the Self: Askesis, Writing, and Urban Life in Late Medieval England, explores the literature and practice of asceticism in the works of Julian of Norwich, Thomas Hoccleve, Margery Kempe, and Thomas Malory, as well as in widely circulating pastoral and devotional texts. The project traces asceticism’s relation to aesthetic form and literary production, as the ascetic strives to shape and express herself (body and soul) in relation to pre-existing  texts and exemplary lives; and studies asceticism as a form of what Michel Foucault calls “counter conduct” in complex and changing relation to religious and political hierarchy.

Liz Herbert McAvoy

Specialist in medieval women’s literature

Liz Herbert McAvoy is a specialist in medieval women’s literature and is particularly interested in how representations of gender are played out within medieval texts by, for or about women. She has recently completed a book on intersections of gender and space within texts written by, for and about medieval anchorites.

Liz has published widely in the area of gender and medieval women’s literature and is the author of Authority and the Female Body in the Writings of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2004). She has also produced an abridged translation of The Book of Margery Kempe (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2003) and has co-edited two volumes of essays on gender in medieval literature: Consuming Narratives: Gender and Monstrous Appetite in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2002) and Anchorites Wombs and Tombs Intersections of Gender and Enclosure in the Middle Ages (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2005).

She has also edited several other volumes of essays, including Rhetoric of the Anchorhold: Space, Place and Body within the Discourses of Enclosure (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2008); A Companion to Julian of Norwich (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2008); and Anchoritic Traditions of Medieval Europe (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2010). She has recently published three further books: a monograph on the cultural meanings attached to the anchoritic life: Medieval Anchoritisms: Gender, Space and the Solitary Life (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2011);  edited with Diane Watt, The History of British Women's Writing. Vol. 1 700-1500 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); and, edited with Elizabeth Cox and Roberta Magnani, Reconsidering Gender, Time and Memory in the Middle Ages (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2015).

Laura Saetveit Miles

Associate Professor in English Literature

Laura Saetveit Miles is Associate Professor in English Literature at the Institutt for Fremmedspråk (Department of Foreign Languages) at the University of Bergen, Norway. She teaches and researches British literature, specifically Middle English and Old English literature, medieval religious culture, mystical and visionary writings, monastic culture, liturgy, history of the book, paleography and codicology, feminist theory and gender and sexuality studies. She has published articles on women mystics, book production at Syon Abbey, the translation of vernacular religious writings into Latin,  and the origins of Mary’s Book of the Annunciation. Five years ago she co-founded the Syon Abbey Society, and she continues to coordinate its website (www.syonabbeysociety.com) and sponsored conference sessions.

Laura’s current work includes a monograph in progress, Interpreting the Annunciation: The Virgin Mary’s Book in Medieval England, examining the development of the motif of Mary’s book in the literature and art of medieval England.  Her next project will be on the English cult of St. Bridget of Sweden.

Sue Niebrzydowski

Deputy Director of the Graduate School

Sue is Deputy Director of the Graduate School for the College of Arts and Humanities, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of Bangor University Academy of Teaching Fellows. Her areas of scholarship include: Chaucer, medieval drama, and medieval women’s writing (devotional and secular), early modern drama and poetry.  She has a particular interest in literature for, by and about medieval women, especially ways in which medieval literature is in dialogue with non-literary works, including the visual arts.

Sue’s research profile has always been interdisciplinary in nature, focusing particularly upon women and the dialogue between literature and cultural texts that attempt to construct paradigms of medieval womanhood. Her monograph, Bonoure and Buxum: A Study of Wives in Medieval Literature (2006) paid particular attention to married women, a group often overlooked in preference for virgins and widows. Her more recent research has focused on the effects of ageing on women’s responses medieval literature, a topic that resulted in her edited collection of essays, Middle-Aged Women in the Middle Ages (2011). She has a particular interest in the intersections of age, gender and devotional practice, and is currently exploring medieval women’s devotion to the Virgin Mary. Some of this work has already been published in ‘Secular Women and Late-medieval Marian drama’ in Early English Drama, Yearbook in English Studies, 43 (2013), ed., S. Niebrzydowski, P. King and D. Wyatt, pp. 121-139.

Sue is interested in digitising medieval manuscripts, and was a member of the AHRB-funded, St Albans Psalter project (2003). She is Reviews Editor (medieval and early modern) of the English Association's academic journal English, published by Oxford University Press.

Professor Nancy Bradley Warren

Professor of English

Nancy is Professor of English at the A&M University, Texas. Areas of specialization include medieval literature and culture with emphases on women and religion; intersections of gender, religion, and nationality; and the ongoing importance of medieval religion in the early modern period.

Nancy has published a book on female spirituality and political conflict, Women of God and Arms: Female Spirituality and Political Conflict, 1380-1600, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005) and a book on female monasticism in later medieval England, Spiritual Economies: Female Monasticism in Later Medieval England, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001) as well as numerous articles on medieval female spirituality.  She has also co-edited a collection of essays on religion and the vernacular in the Middle Ages.

Her most recent book, The Embodied Word: Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures 1350-1700, is a comparative study of medieval and early modern women's ways of writing about God and religious experience. It undertakes an exploration of the ways in which textual and historical relations among gendered individuals, human others, and God are negotiated. At this books heart is a call to reconsider the binaries of medieval and early modern, Catholic and Protestant, orthodoxy and heterodoxy, that have obscured important aspects of English religious cultures.

Her current book project is entitled, Chaucer and Confessional Controversies from the Middle Ages to the Augustan Age.

Professor Denis Renevey

Professor of Medieval English Language and Literature

Denis is Professor of Medieval English Language and Literature at the University of Lausanne. He is the author of several articles and book chapters on vernacular theology.

His recent book publications include The Doctrine of the Hert: A Critical Edition with Introduction and Commentary, co-edited with Christiania Whitehead and Anne Mouron (Exeter. University of Exeter Press, 2010), A Companion to the Doctrine of the Hert: The Middle English Translations and its Latin and European Contexts, co-edited with Christiania Whitehead (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2010); Poetica 72, Special Issue, Convergence/Divergence: The Politics of Late Medieval English Devotional and Medical Discourses, co-edited with Nao. Kukita Yoshikawa (Tokyo: Yushodo Press, 2009). His most recent book, Medieval and Early Modern Literature, Science and Medicine, co-edited with Rachel Falconer (Tübingen: Gunter Narr, 2013), explores the meeting of the literary and scientific spheres of knowledge in medieval and early modern England.

He is currently the recipient of a three-year Swiss National Science Foundation grant that allows him to direct a project on late medieval English religiosity that investigates the impact of devotional compilations (http://wp.unil.ch/devotionalcompilations/).  He is also completing research for a monograph on the Name of Jesus, with the following title: Name Above Names: Devotions to the Name of Jesus in Medieval England.