• Describing his task as a commentator on classical Latin poetry, the late Don Fowler said that he aimed “to multiply problems, not to solve them.” This likewise describes the task I set myself in my teaching and research. In the classroom, I try to lead students to close, sustained, and careful engagement with texts in ways that open up multiple meanings and create more problems than they solve.  In my research, I am especially interested in the history of literary criticism in the Middle Ages, working to recover the many different ways in which men and women from the ninth to the fifteenth centuries engaged with their most authoritative (and also most persistently problematic) texts, especially the Bible and the poetry inherited from Latin antiquity. To this end, I study medieval commentaries on these authoritative texts, as well as the history of the book, the material forms in which medieval readers encountered such texts.

    My first book, Biblical Commentary and Translation in Later Medieval England: Experiments in Interpretation (Cambridge, 2020), focuses on the rich culture of scholastic literary criticism that flourished in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England, continuing up to and even through the Reformation. I have also begun work on two new monographs. The first, tentatively entitled Authorizing Chaucer, focuses on the various strategies for cultivating a sense of the vernacular poet’s authority in manuscripts and early printed editions of the Canterbury Tales. My work on this book has been helped by digital humanities projects in my upper-level Chaucer seminar (Engl. 4401), where my students have been undertaking original work on the complex textual history of this foundational collection of English poetry. The second, Before Theory: Four Medieval Ideas about Poetry, explores the complex and contradictory understandings of literature that developed across late antiquity and the Middle Ages, setting out the many different contributions of medieval critics to theoretical and interpretive problems that persist today.

    • Ph.D., Yale University
    • M.A., M.Phil., Yale University
    • A.B., Dartmouth College
    • Biblical Commentary and Translation in Later Medieval England: Experiments in Interpretation. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020.
    • Medieval Cantors and their Craft: Music, Liturgy, and the Shaping of History. Co-edited with Margot Fassler and Katie Bugyis. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer for the York Medieval Press, 2017.
    • The Sermons of William of Newburgh. Toronto Medieval Latin Texts. Toronto: Pontifical Institute, 2010.

    Recent Articles
    • “Latin Manuscripts of Richard Rolle at the University of Illinois.” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 119 (2020): 484-514.
    • “English Hebraism and Hermeneutic History: The Psalter Prologues and Epilogue of Henry Cossey, OFM.” Journal of Medieval Latin 30 (2020): 287-368.
    • “Rolle Reassembled: Booklet Production, Single-Author Anthologies, and the Making of Bodley 861.” Speculum 94 (2019): 959-1005.
    • “Modes of Authorship and the Making of Medieval English Literature.” In The Cambridge Handbook of Literary Authorship, ed. Ingo Berensmeyer, Gert Buelens, and Marysa Demoor, 98-114. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.
    • “Lydgate’s Missing ‘Ballade’ and the Bibliographical Imaginary.” In The Shapes of Early English Poetry: Style, Form, History, ed. Irina Dumitrescu and Eric Weiskott, 191-213. Kalamazoo, Mich.: Medieval Institute, 2018. 
    • “Chaucer’s Bibles: Late-Medieval Biblicism and Compilational Form.” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 47 (2017): 437-60.
    • Digital Approaches to English Literature
    • Early Book and Manuscript Lab
    • Geoffrey Chaucer
    • Imagining Antiquity in the Middle Ages
    • Medieval Lyric Poetry
    • Medieval Christian Mysticism
    • Medieval Latin Poetry
    • Old English Language and Literature
    • Piers Plowman
    • Mrs. Giles M. Whiting Fellowship
    • Visiting Research Fellowship, Institute for Advanced Studies (Jerusalem)
    • Theron Rockwell Field Prize (Yale)