Dissertation Project: Women, Reading, and Literary Culture: The Reception of Christine de Pizan in Fifteenth-Century England

My dissertation challenges the concept of literary communities defined by national boundaries, arguing that men and women in late-medieval England imagined themselves as members of a transcontinental, multilingual reading group. To this end, my dissertation investigates the cross-channel circulation of works by Christine de Pizan (1364-c.1430), a Parisian author who is often described as the first professional woman writer in the West. Through extensive archival research in London, Oxford, Cambridge, and New York, I uncover Christine de Pizan’s influence on English literary history, demonstrating that Christine’s love lyrics, political manuals, and proto-feminist texts were read and shared among readers in England. I consider the insular reception of Christine’s texts as part of a larger translatio of French literature to England, a cultural exchange facilitated by the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) and mediated by the physical transfer of books and people across the English Channel.

Book Project: Cities of Ladies: Real and Imagined Communities of Women Readers in Late Medieval France and England.

This book will examine a transcontinental community of women readers in fifteenth-century England and France, arguing that these readers were joined not only by their common experiences as women but also by a shared identity as members of an international literary culture. These aristocratic “ladies” read a common body of literature and engaged in similar reading practices. While my book will focus on women readers, it will also consider the literate activities of men, arguing that women’s literary culture should be treated not as a separate entity but as an integral part of mainstream literary culture.

Digital Project: Women Book Owners in Late-Medieval Francophone Europe: 1350-1500, a digital humanities project which aims to collect and organize data related to medieval laywomen and their books. Currently preparing this project in collaboration with S.C. Kaplan (Rice University).

Print Publications:

“Another Woman Reader of John Gower’s Confessio Amantis: Jacquetta of Luxembourg and Cambridge, Pembroke College MS 307.” The Journal of the Early Book Society, vol. 21 (forthcoming).

“Chaste Reading: Diana, Mary, and Christine de Pizan.” Le Moyen Français, vol. 78-79 (2016), pp. 297-309.

“Grace holds the ‘cliket’ to the heavenly ‘wiket’: Piers Plowman, the Roman de la Rose, and the Poetics of Penetration.” The Yearbook of Langland Studies, Vol. 30 (2016), pp. 207-226.

Blog posts:

“Jacquetta of Luxembourg – A Female Reader of Christine de Pizan in England”

Ongoing research interests:

Medieval English literature and culture, medieval and early modern women writers and readers, Chaucer, medieval drama and its modern revival, gender and sexuality studies, French literature in late medieval England, Anglo-French literary and cultural relations.