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

My dissertation project investigates the 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. Christine wrote during the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453), a conflict which facilitated long-term cultural and literary exchange between France and England. While scholars have described Christine’s influence on English literary history as limited, I argue that Christine’s love lyrics, political manuals, and proto-feminist texts were read and shared among influential readers in England. The project challenges the concept of literary communities defined by national boundaries, arguing that men and women in England imagined themselves as members of a cross-channel, multilingual reading community.

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 so much by their common experiences as women as by a shared identity as members of an international ruling elite. 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 and the Book, a database of medieval women book owners.

Print Publications:

“Chaste Reading: Diana, Mary, and Christine de Pizan,” in 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.