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. My major biography of Chaucer - Chaucer: A European Life (Princeton University Press) - comes out in April 2019. I was awarded a British Academy mid-career fellowship to work on this book, and in the past have also received funding from the Leverhulme and the Wellcome Trust. Recent articles have been 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.'
I am an elected Trustee of the New Chaucer Society, and am also 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, at schools, and at literary festivals. 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. For third years, I offer a life-writing option called Writing Lives, which I co-convene with Dr Sophie Ratcliffe. II 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 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. Each year I supervise several Master's dissertations, both within the English faculty and for the Medieval Studies MSt. Recent topics have included the Heroides and Chaucer, suicide in Troilus and Criseyde, and the gender politics of the Flower and the Leaf.
DPhil supervision: I am currently supervising doctorates on topics including medieval medical recipe collections and the influence of Ovid's exile poetry on later medieval literature. 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.