I work mainly on Chaucer and other secular late-medieval literature, and have interests in critical theory, in literature and medicine, in place and literature, and in biography. I am currently writing a new biography of Chaucer for Princeton University Press and was awarded a British Academy mid-career fellowship for the academic year 2015-2016 to focus on this major project. I currently have articles in press or contracted on topics including Chaucer and the senses, his English context, premodern biography, and the form(s) of the Canterbury Tales.
My first book, Chaucerian Conflict came out with OUP in 2007, and argued for a dark Chaucer, whose texts focus on conflict and antagonism. Another book, out in 2013, A Handbook of Middle English Studies, is part of Wiley-Blackwell’s Critical Theory Handbooks series, and includes 26 essays by leading scholars on issues ranging from the imagination to postcolonialism, ecology to material culture, public interiorities to sovereignty.
I have also published many articles on Chaucer, on topics including London, conflict, and carnival; and have also published widely on Thomas Usk, on Thomas Hoccleve, and on topics such as literary depictions of revolution.
I also have a particular interest in medieval medical texts and in the literary use of medical imagery. I recently (2016) published an essay on medieval illness narratives as part of a special issue of JMEMS that I edited on the topic of 'Medical Discourse in Premodern Europe.'
Over the past few years I have received external funding awards from the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy, and the Wellcome Trust. I am Book Reviews Editor for Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies. I regularly give talks about my work both at conferences and in university settings and to more public literary societies, at museums and galleries, and at schools. I have also spoken on Radio 4 and on several TV programmes.
Undergraduate papers: I teach the core undergraduate papers 650-1350 and 1350-1550 in the first and second years. I have in the past offered a third year special option on 'Anchorites to Asylums: Writing Bodies, Writing Minds.' I have supervised many undergraduate dissertations on topics including the Arthurian 'loathly lady' story across time (from Chaucer to Shrek!), medieval mystics and the senses, and a comparative approach to ancient Greek drama and one of Chaucer's dream vision poems. I mainly lecture on Chaucer, including core commentary lectures on Troilus and Criseyde. I also teach the Course II romance paper and regularly supervise Course II students.
Graduate teaching: I usually offer an MSt C-course; currently 'Placing Chaucer,' a course that explores Chaucer's texts through various spaces, places, and institutions, such as court, city, and chamber, and sets the poet in European and global contexts.
DPhil supervision: I am currently supervising doctorates on topics including medieval medical recipe collections and lovesickness. I welcome inquiries about possible supervision and am happy to supervise projects on topics relating to Chaucer, critical theory, medicine, life-writing, and late-medieval literature more generally.