The Matter of Virtue: Women’s Ethical Action from Chaucer to Shakespeare. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019.

Winner, Medieval Academy of America, Jerome E. Singerman Prize, best second book in any area of medieval studies, 2022. [Prize Committee: Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski, emerita, University of Pittsburgh, Chair; Julia Smith, University of Oxford, Nicholas Watson, Harvard University]

This monograph project argues English poets (including Capgrave, Chaucer, Fletcher, Henryson, Lodge, Lydgate, Shakespeare, and Spenser) elaborate a positive account of women’s ethical action. They do so through a poetic reformulation of virtue as material, animate, and enacted. In a host of medieval and early modern representations, virtues are not abstract principles or disembodied ideals. Rather than confine women within rigid prescriptive schema, writings under consideration in this study articulate a material conception of virtue that allows women to show strength, dignity, beauty, and constancy, among other qualities. By treating feminine virtues as embodied powers that exert material influence, these poets not only create livelier female characters, they also foster an ethics based on forbearance and endurance rather than governance and domination.

Reviews: Speculum, 97.1 (2022): 163-5; Renaissance Quarterly, 75.1 (2022): 357-8; Medieval Feminist Forum, 58 (2022); Choice, 58 (2020); Comitatus, 52 (2021): 236-8; Shakespeare Newsletter, 70.2 (2021); The Medieval Review, 21.04.16:; SEL: 1500-1900, 61.1 (2021): 127-77 (review essay).


Editor, with Glenn Burger, Medieval Affect, Feeling, and Emotion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

This edited volume rethinks how feelings are represented in late Middle English literature (ca. 1375-1501). Across eight chapters and an afterword, this project demonstrates that the history of emotions and affect theory are similarly insufficient for investigating the intersection of body and mind that late Middle English literatures evoke. And, while medieval studies has generated a rich scholarly literature on “affective piety,” essays in this collection chart an exciting new investigation of feelings in non-religious contexts. From Geoffrey Chaucer to Gavin Douglas, and from practices of witnessing to the adoration of objects: essays in this volume analyze the coexistence of emotion and affect in late medieval representations of feeling.

Reviews: Arthuriana, 30.2 (2020): 122-3; Studies in the Age of Chaucer 47 (2021): 291-94.


Editor, with D. Vance Smith, Medieval Literature: Criticism and Debates. London: Routledge, 2014.

Chaucer’s Visions of Manhood. The New Middle Ages. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. 

Editor, Comic Provocations: Exposing the Corpus of Old French Fabliaux. Studies in Arthurian and Courtly Cultures. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Journal Issues and Essay Clusters

Editor, Studies in the Age of Chaucer 46 (2023, accepted for publication). An essay cluster on “Reconsidering the Subject.” [Contributors: Robyn Bartlett, Lisa H. Cooper, Andrea Denny-Brown, Matthew Boyd Goldie, Wan-Chuan Kao, Marion Turner, and Usha Vishnuvajjala]

Editor, with Carissa Harris, Exemplaria (2024, accepted for publication). A special issue on “Theorizing Gender, Patriarchy, and Liberation: Imani Perry’s Vexy Thing and Medieval Studies,”[Contributors: Sarah Baechle, Laurie Finke, Alani Hicks-Bartlett, Misho Ishikawa, Matthew Irvin, Katharine Jager, Lynn Shutters, Fiona Somerset; afterword, Imani Perry]

Editor, with Kathryn Schwarz, postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 4.4 (2013). A special issue on “Premodern Flesh.” [Contributors: Cynthia Turner Camp, Frances Dolan, Jonathan Goldberg, Jonathan Gil Harris, Emily King, Kathryn Schwarz, Elaine Treharne, and Jay Zysk]

Journal Articles

(in print)

“Since March…Rethinking Vulnerability, Taylor Swift’s Pandemic Records, and Piers Plowman’s Women,” New Chaucer Studies: Pedagogy and Profession 2 (2021): 50-62.

“Feminism Without Gender: Piers Plowman, “Mede the Mayde,” and Late Medieval Literary Studies,” Exemplaria, 31 (2019): 93-104. e-print here:

“W(h)ither Feminism? Gender, Subjectivity, and the Knight’s Tale,” Chaucer Review, 54 (2019): 352-70.

“Medieval Affects Now,” Exemplaria 29.1 (2017): 82-98.

“The Problem of the Premodern.” The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, 16.1 (2016): 146-52.

“John Foxe’s Chaucer: Affecting Form in Post-Historicist Criticism.” New Medieval Literatures 15 (2015 for 2013): 96-118.

“‘As false as Cressid’: Virtue Trouble from Chaucer to Shakespeare.” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 43.2 (2013): 303-34.

“Communal Conscience in Tyndale’s Obedience of a Christian Man.” Special Issue: Conscience and Contestation, Langland to Milton. Ed. Paul Strohm. Exemplaria, 24.1-2 (2012): 62-79.

“Disfiguring Gender: Masculine Desire in the Old French Fabliau.” Exemplaria, 23.4 (2011): 342-67.

“The Tamer as Shrewd: Domestic Tyranny in John Fletcher’s Woman’s Prize, or the Tamer Tam’d.” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, 50.2 (2011): 127-44.

“Affective Politics in Chaucer’s Reeve’s Tale: ‘Cherl’ Masculinity after 1381.” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 29 (2008 for 2007): 225-58.

“Manufacture in the Archive: Impingham’s Chaucer in BL MS Harley 7333.” Medieval Feminist Forum, 39 (2005): 29-37.

“Performative Passivity and Fantasies of Masculinity in The Merchant’s Tale.” Chaucer Review, 38.2 (2003): 178-98.

“Affective Resistance: Performing Passivity and Playing A-Part in The Taming of the Shrew.” Shakespeare Quarterly, 54.2 (2003):  142-59.

Book Chapters

(in process)

“Medieval Affect, The Book of Margery Kempe, and Medical Treatments of the Embodied Soul,” Medicine and Literature, Ed. Monika Pietrzak-Franger and Anna Elsner, Cambridge Critical Concepts, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.

“Medieval Affects, Medieval Shrews” The Routledge Companion to Gender and Affect, Ed. Todd W. Reeser, forthcoming.

“Behind Every Great Man? Women, Virtus, and Vertues in Malory’s Gareth,” Arthurian Ethics, Ed. Melissa Ridley Elmes and Evelyn Meyer, Boydell and Brewer (volume under contract).

(in print)

“Vertu,” A New Companion to Critical Thinking on Chaucer, Ed. Stephanie Batkie, Matthew Irvin, and Lynn Shutters. ARC Humanities Press, 2021. 171-85.

“Griselda and the Problem of the Human,” Cambridge Companion to Chaucer. Ed. Frank Grady, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020. 136-50

“Engendering Masculinity in Hoccleve’s Series.” Medieval Affect, Feeling, and Emotion. Holly A. Crocker and Glenn Burger, Cambridge University Press, 2019. 70-89.

“The Matter of Feminine Virtue in Pearl.” Middle English Literature: Criticism and Debate. Ed. Holly A. Crocker and D. Vance Smith. London: Routledge, 2014. 136-46.

“Hidden in Plain Sight: Masculinities in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.” Approaches to Teaching Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Ed. Peter W. Travis and Frank Grady. New York: Modern Language Association Press, 2014.

“Cresseid’s Dignity: Cosmology and Sexuality in Henryson’s Testament.” Sexuality, Sociality, and Cosmology in Medieval Literary Texts, Ed. Marla Segol and Jennifer Brown. New York: Palgrave, 2012. 159-79.

“Engendering Shrews, Medieval to Early Modern.” Gender and Power in Shrew-Taming Narratives, 1500-1700. Ed. David Wootton and Graham Holderness. Afterword, Anne Thompson. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. 48-69.

“Masochism, Masculinity, and the Pleasures of Troilus.” Men and Masculinities in Troilus and Criseyde. Ed. Tison Pugh and Marcia Smith-Marzec. Cambridge, UK: S. Brewer, 2008. 153-81. Co-authored with Tison Pugh.

“Chaucer’s Man Show: Anachronistic Authority in Brian Helgeland’s A Knight’s Tale.” Race, Class, and Gender in “Medieval” Cinema. Ed. Lynn Ramey and Tison Pugh. The New Middle Ages. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. 183-97.

“Teaching Masculinities in Chaucer’s Shorter Poems: Historical Myths and Helgeland’s A Knight’s Tale.” Approaches to Teaching Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and the Shorter Poems. Ed. Angela Jane Weisl and Tison Pugh. New York: Modern Language Association Press, 2006. 76-80.

“Masculinity.” Reading the Lord of the Rings. Ed. Robert Eaglestone. London: Continuum, 2005. 111-23.

“Wifely Eye for the Manly Guy: Trading the Masculine Image in the Shipman’s Tale.” “Seyd in forme and reverence”: Essays in Memory of Emerson Brown, Jr. Ed. John F. Plummer and Tom Burton, Chaucer Studio, 2005. 133-47.

“How the Woman Makes the Man: Chaucer’s Reciprocal Fictions in Troilus and Criseyde.” New Perspectives on Criseyde. Ed. Marcia Smith-Marzec and Cindy Vitto. Fairview, NC: Pegasus Press, 2004. 139-64.

Short Pieces

“Troilus and Criseyde,” “The Reeve,” “Eva, Eve,” “Advice and Instruction,” “Bawdeswelle,” The Chaucer Encyclopedia. Ed. Richard Newhauser, Vincent Gillespie, Jessica Rosenfeld, Katie Walter. Wiley-Blackwell, 2021.

“White People in Pictures: Forgetting Histories and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Buried Giant,” ARCADE: Literature, Humanities, and the World:’s-buried-giant.

“The Hamlet Effect,” ARCADE: Literature, Humanities, and the World:

“Introduction: The Public Middle Ages,” Forum V: The Public Middle Ages, postmedieval FORUM, July 2015. ( [Forum contributors: Brantley Bryant, Matthew Gabriele, Kathleen. E. Kennedy, Leila K.N. Norako, David M. Perry, Marion Turner].

“The Fabliau.” Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, 4th Ed. Roland Greene and Stephen Cushman. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012. 477-8.

“Introduction: Dissent Happens,” Forum III: Dissent, postmedieval FORUM, December 2012. ( [Forum contributors: Andrew Cole, Irina Dumitrescu, Patricia Ingham, Julie Orlemanski, R.D. Perry, Thomas Prendergast].

“Introduction: How Open, or, Can Vulnerability Go Digital?” Forum II: State(s) of Review, postmedieval FORUM, March, 2012. ( [Forum contributors: Jen Boyle, Martin Foys, Eileen Joy, Sharon O’Dair, Katherine Rowe, Sarah Werner, Bonnie Wheeler].

“Introduction.” Forum I: Historicity without Historicism? Responses to Paul Strohm, postmedieval FORUM, October, 2011. ( [Forum contributors: Bettina Bildhauer, Brantley Bryant, Ruth Evans, Larry Scanlon, Tara Williams].

“Playing Household.” Critical Essay, The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, DC, Guide to the Season’s Plays, 2007-2008. 16-24.

 Books in Progress

The Feminist Subject of Late Medieval Literature (book). Three of five chapters complete.

This book has two aims: 1) address the ossification of feminist scholarship within late medieval English literary studies; 2) offer a positive account of feminist subjectivity in five major writers of the period—Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland, the Pearl-poet, Thomas Hoccleve, and Margery Kempe.

 Feeling Medieval: The Affects of the Past in Reformation England (book). Three of five chapters complete.

This book studies connections between affect and history in the development of a reformist aesthetics in sixteenth-century England. In investigating the rhetorical sophistication of William Tyndale, Anne Askew, John Bale, John Foxe, and the apocryphal Shakespearean play, The First Part of the True and Honorable History of the Life of Sir John Oldcastle, The Good Lord Cobham, this project shows these writers’ continued reliance on medieval literary traditions.

Book Reviews

Review of Lucy M. Allen-Goss, Female Desire in Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women and Middle English Romance. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2020. Arthuriana, 32.1 (2022): 95-6.

Review of Ann Marie Rasmussen, ed., Rivalrous Masculinities: New Directions in Medieval Gender Studies. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2019. Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 121.1 (2022): 142-3.

Review of Suzanne Conklin-Akbari and James Simpson, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Chaucer. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2020, The Medieval Review,11.13:

Review of Megan L. Cook, The Poet and the Antiquaries: Chaucerian Scholarship and the Rise of Literary History, 1532-1635. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019. Spenser Review, 50.3 (2020), online:

Review of Cristina Maria Cervone and D. Vance Smith, Eds., Readings in Medieval Textuality: Essays in Honour of A.C. Spearing. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2016. Journal of English and Germanic Philology, forthcoming.

Review of Nicole Nolan Sidhu, Indecent Exposure: Gender, Politics, and Obscene Comedy in Middle English Literature. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016. Speculum,

Review of Joseph Campana, The Pain of Reformation: Spenser, Vulnerability, and the Ethics of Masculinity, New York: Fordham University Press, 2012. Criticism, 58.2 (2017 for 2016): 347-52.

Review of Helen Barr, Transporting Chaucer, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014. Spenser Review,2.36 (Fall 2015).

Review of E. Jane Burns and Peggy McCracken, eds., From Beasts to Souls: Gender and Embodiment in Medieval Literature, South Bend, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 2013. Studies in the Age of Chaucer, 36 (2014): 279-83.

Review of Anthony Hasler, Court Poetry in Late Medieval England and Scotland: Allegories of Authority. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Studies in Scottish Literature, 39 (2013): 245-49.

Review of David Wallace, Strong Women. Life, Text, and Territory 1347-1645. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen, 249 (2012): 187-9.

Review of Laurie A. Finke and Martin B. Shichtman, Cinematic Illuminations: The Middle Ages on Film. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010. Speculum, 86.2 (2011): 487-9.

Review of Roy Pearcy, Logic and Humour in the Fabliaux: An Essay in Applied Narratology. Gallica no. 7. Woodbridge, Suffolk: D.S. Brewer, 2007. Speculum, 82.3 (2009): 477-8.

Review of Gretchen Mieszkowski, Medieval Go-Betweens and Chaucer’s Pandarus. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Arthuriana, 18.3 (2008): 83-5.

Review of Sasha Roberts, Reading Shakespeare’s Poems in Early Modern England. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. Shakespeare Quarterly, 56 (2005): 224-26.

Review of Julia Crick and Alexandra Walsham, eds., The Uses of Script and Print, 1300-1700. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Shakespeare Studies, 33 (2005): 135-38.

Review of Valeria Finucci, The Manly Masquerade: Masculinity, Paternity, and Castration in the Italian Renaissance. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003. Medieval Feminist Forum, 37 (2004): 48-50.

Review of Stephanie Trigg, Congenial Souls: Reading Chaucer from Medieval to Postmodern. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002. Envoi, 10.2 (2003): 148-56.

Review of Katherine Eggert, Showing Like a Queen: Female Authority and Literary Experiment in Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000. Renaissance Quarterly, 54 (2001): 1665-66.