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: Reading Across the Channel: Christine de Pizan in England, France, and Burgundy

Reading Across the Channel challenges narratives of national literary history by investigating the cross-channel circulation of French literature, especially the works of Christine de Pizan (1364-c.1430), during the fifteenth century. I argue that during the denouement and aftermath of the Hundred Years War, an extended dynastic conflict between England and France, late-medieval readers used books and literature to register participation in a common Francophone culture and articulate local socio-political identities. I contend that gender is a crucial but overlooked heuristic for understanding transnational literary culture. As a result of marriage alliances, women transport physical books and reading practices across regional and national borders, creating social and literary networks that complicate our understanding of nationalist rhetoric and political identity formation.

Digital Project: Women Book Owners in Late-Medieval Francophone Europe: 1350-1500, a digital humanities project which aims to collect, organize, and present 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.