My main areas of interest are Middle English manuscripts, authorship, and Chaucer. In several publications I have contributed to the ongoing, collaborative (though only sometimes formally so) effort to describe more accurately and to contextualize Middle English manuscripts. I have a particular interest in what might be called the textual criticism of extra-textual material, such as glosses, rubrics, and paraph marks that help to constitute the material forms of texts in manuscript. My articles explore how this material was handled by scribes; how it can reveal heretofore undetected relationships among manuscripts; and how we might determine whether its origins were scribal or authorial. My study of authorship seeks to join considerations of those material forms of texts with reflection on those moments in the literary works that express authorial self-consciousness. I am interested in many aspects of Chaucer’s work, including the development of Chaucer’s self-conception as an author; his interest in science, especially astronomy; his literary relations with contemporaries and antecedents in England and on the Continent. In the 1990s I collaborated with the Canterbury Tales Project and my work appears on Chaucer: The Wife of Bath’s Prologue on CD-ROM, which won the Beatrice White award of the English Association. In subsequent years I have co-edited three collections of essays, on medieval authorship; on the editing of medieval works; and the Cambridge Companion to Baseball. I have held research fellowships at the Huntington, Folger, and Houghton libraries, and at the Harry Ransom Center.
I regularly teach Chaucer, usually the Canterbury Tales. I also teach a course on women writers of the high and late Middle Ages. In the past I have several times taught English department courses on Old English language and literature, including a graduate seminar focused on Beowulf, and also for many years a course in the Medieval Studies program on epic and romance. I welcome the opportunity to work with graduate students in any of these areas, and on any topic related to Middle English manuscripts.
- “The Legacy of John Shirley: Revisiting Houghton MS Eng 530,” in New Directions in Medieval Manuscript Studies and Reading Practices, ed. Kathryn Kerby-Fulton et al. (University of Notre Dame Press, 2014), 425-45.
- Author, Reader, Book: Medieval Authorship in Theory and Practice, ed. (with Erik Kwakkel), University of Toronto Press, 2012.
- “‘The Makere of this Boke’: Chaucer’s Retraction and the Author as Scribe and Compiler,” in Author, Reader, Book, 106-53.
- “Designing the Page,” in The Production of Books in England 1350-1500, ed. Alexandra Gillespie and Daniel Wakelin (Cambridge University Press, 2011), 79-103 .
- “Wynkyn de Worde’s Manuscript of the Canterbury Tales: Evidence from the Glosses,” Chaucer Review 41:4 (2007): 325-59.
- The Book Unbound: Editing and Reading Medieval Manuscripts and Texts, ed. (with Siân Echard), University of Toronto Press, 2004.
- “Minding the Gaps: Interpreting the Manuscript Evidence of the Cook’s and Squire’s Tales,” in The English Medieval Book, ed. A. S. G. Edwards et al. (British Library, 2000), 51-85.
- “A Newly Identified Manuscript by the Scribe of the New College Canterbury Tales,” English Manuscript Studies 1100-1700 6 (1997): 229-36.
- “The Manuscript Glosses to the Wife of Bath’s Prologue,” on Chaucer: The Wife of Bath’s Prologue on CD-ROM,” ed. Peter Robinson (Cambridge University Press, 1996).