Specific research interests:
My research and teaching interests cover a wide range of medieval (and early modern) genres and themes, such as:
- Medieval ideas of curiosity and craft in textual and material culture (especially knots!);
- Medieval and early modern poetics and aesthetics;
- Medievalisms (such as cinematic representations of the Middle Ages);
- Hagiography, mysticism and medieval religious cultures;
- Writings on virginity (medieval to modern)
I am currently working on a project tentatively entitled Curious Knots: The Arts of Craft in Late Medieval England, which looks at how vernacular culture conceptualised an aesthetic 'curiosity'. The figure of the knot offers a conceptual focus for this study, as it ranges across different media and categories - following the 'curious' curiously. I am also interested in considering the ways in which vernacular poetry (ca. 1380-1600) approached the question of poetic invention, particularly through representations and discussions of cognitive process (memory, imagination, curiosity). I have a longstanding interest gender studies, particularly in relation to virginity and abstinence (both medieval and contemporary), and I also work on medievalism - that is, on post-medieval representations and popular conceptions of the 'medieval' or 'middle ages'.
Current research projects:
I completed a history of female virginity, entitled Virgins: A Cultural History with Granta in 2007. This study explores different discourses of virginity from ca. 1200 to the present day. In 2009, Bettina Bildhauer and I co-edited and published a collection of essays on cinematic representations on the Middle Ages, Medieval Film, with Manchester University Press. I have also been researching late medieval and early modern treatments of the Albina myth, in relation to theories of memory and history. Three articles about this have been published since 2007. I recently published chapters on 'Memory' ; on 'Purity', and on on 'affective thinking' in Pearl. I co-edited a volume entitled Sanctity as Literature in Late Medieval Britain (with Eva von Contzen), which considers the contributions religious literary genres, such as hagiography, make to the development of forms of 'literariness' (Manchester University Press, 2015). I have published a journal article on the Albina myth in Thomas Elyot's Dictionary (JMEMS, 2017) and another on lists ('Enlisting Truth', in Style, 2017). I have just finished a chapter on affect and form in Gavin Douglas's Palis of Honoure, and another on form and translation in Patience (both forthcoming 2018-19).
From August 2011 - January 2013 I was holder of a Humboldt Experienced Researcher Fellowship at the Freie Universitaet, Berlin. During this time, I started work on a new project, which is interested in how vernacular, literary treatments of memory, imagination and curiosity are used to explore and articulate changing ideas concerning poetics (especially in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries).