Book Project: (current) Writing a monograph tentatively titled England’s Medieval Literary Heroes: Law, Literature, and National Identity that examines the actual medieval popularity (or relative obscurity) of some of the best known English literary heroes like Beowulf, Richard the Lion Heart, King Arthur, Gawain and Robin Hood in terms of medieval legal motifs and national identity. This project also incorporates research on the relationships between Oxford, Bodleian MS Laud Miscellaneous 108, King’s College, Cambridge MS 13, British Library MS Cotton Nero A.x, the Lincoln Thornton manuscript, and a variety of others based on codicology and rubrication. Part of my discussion involves situating these “English” narratives geographically based on evidence of manuscript production and post-production decoration. I plan to complete and submit this manuscript to Oxford University Press before the end of 2018.
Book Project: (current) Editing a collection of essays titled Treason: Medieval and Early Modern Adultery, Betrayal and Shame. Treason had very specific definitions in the Middle Ages: betrayal of the lord/king or country. But treason manifested in multiple ways throughout the medieval and early modern periods including rebellious lords, disloyal subjects, and unfaithful queens. Treason was adjudicated and punished differently in different periods and different communities; often the shame of treason lingered long after the immediate act. Arranged in three thematic sections, this volume investigates the nature of treason in medieval and early modern society in both practice and representation—its consequences, its lasting effects, its impression on societies and social standing. It includes articles dealing with treason, adultery, betrayal, or the shameful consequences of such betrayal in law, literature, art history, history, from across the span of the medieval period and into the early modern period. The volume is under a preliminary contract with Brill and has been submitted for review.
Book Project: (current) Editing a collection of essays titled Topology of Exile and Identity Formation with Gila Aloni. The collection provides new perspectives on margin/center East/West relations in which binary opposition is insufficient in describing relations in the different spaces that compose world geography today and in the Middle Ages. Such divisions impose artificial structure that create margins and boundaries in a world in which contact and travel between people and culture was (and is) more fluid, more porous. The concept of exiles—those who leave their homes by choice or force, who take up residence in foreign lands—is one that resonates across centuries of displacement, migration, immigration, settlement and separation. Modern exiles struggle to find place and identity in their new surroundings while still holding on to vestiges of who they were and the place that they left. In the medieval world, exiles faced the same conflicts and were torn by the same struggles. This collection seeks to probe new approaches to the relationships between the exiled and the landscape, physical or psychological, into which one is (dis)placed. We are currently collecting abstracts for this project.
Book Project: (current) I am currently gathering research for a book-length project on cross-dressing in medieval literature and culture that includes male and female cross-dressing in a variety of literary, legal and historical contexts, including Old Norse, Old French, hagiography, Middle English romances, and Chaucer.
Book Project: (ongoing) I am researching a monograph tentatively titled Medieval Torture and Modern Popular Culture that examines the proliferation of torture, specifically “medieval” torture, in films, television, news, politics, and foreign policy and the modern association of torture with the Middle Ages—its misrepresentations, misunderstandings, and misconceptions. The study includes crime dramas, “historical” films, political action thrillers, and science fiction, as well as current news and events.
Book Project: (ongoing) Conducting research for a monograph on constructions of king and queenship in medieval chronicles. This project incorporates material from a substantial number of manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Special Collections and examines the differences between Middle English chronicle accounts of certain English monarchs (Richard I, John, Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Empress Maude), how their narratives shifted depending on time and political climate, and how they engage with Middle English romance and hagiography, particularly on issues of English national identity.
Articles in Progress:
Approved for publication: “Peace Weaving and Gold Giving: Anglo-Saxon Queenship in Havelok the Dane,” in Remembering the Present: Generative Uses of England’s Pre-Conquest Past, ed. Brian O’Camb and Jay Paul Gates (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming 2019).
Submitted for review: “Sympathizing with the Werewolf’s Wife: The Dynamics of Trust and Betrayal in Bisclavret and Arthur and Gorlagon,” for inclusion in Animal Husbandry: Bestiality in Medieval Culture, ed. Jacqueline Stuhmiller (to be submitted to Brill for consideration by Jan. 2019).
Submitted for review: “Charlemagne, King Arthur and Contested National Identity in ‘English’ Romances,” in Cross-Cultural Charlemagne: Envisioning Empire in Medieval Europe, ed. Jace Stuckey (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming, 2019 or 2020).
Research Goals: I viewed four rare manuscripts in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, King’s College Library, Corpus Christi Library, and the Pepys Library in Cambridge to further my research on the South English Lengedary, Havelok the Dane, King Horn and William of Palerne found in Oxford, Bodleian MS Laud Miscellaneous 108, and King’s College, Cambridge MS 13. I conducted this research, thanks to a grant from the office of Graduate Studies in July 2009, and will be applying for further funding to continue my work on the relationships between these manuscripts, based on codicology and rubrication.
Research Goals: I am conducting manuscript research on the recently discovered Abbotsford Library MS of Osbern Bokenham’s Middle English translation of the Legenda aurea in Edinburgh, Scotland from microfilm provided by the faculty of Advocates and funded by an Arts and Sciences grant from the Dean’s Fund for Scholarship Excellence (2008). The microfilm will allow me to further my work on Bokenham’s version of St. Dorothy, and John Capgrave’s poem on the same subject.