My research is concerned mainly with the poetry of the later Middle Ages, and Contemporary Literature, particularly poetry.
Currently this research is focused in three main areas:
- The Lyric Voice: The Song of Songs in Medieval English Culture. With a focus on its lyric qualities, this study investigates the influence of the Old Testament book of the Song of Songs in the literature and culture of late medieval England. The sensory qualities and erotic framework of the text, together with its range of allegorical interpretations, encouraged its poetic language to permeate both secular and devotional literature, and this study extends beyond its use in the liturgy and monastic texts to also examine its uses in female devotional practice, secular contexts and literature aimed at a lay devotional audience.
- The Art of Grief: Contemporary Elegy and Visual Culture. This is a study of contemporary elegy and commemorative art, and the interactions of elegiac literature with other art forms, particularly portraiture, textile art, site-specific installation and photography. This research explores the way in which encounters with death and bereavement are increasingly expressed in terms of the communal or collective, of materiality and particularly tactility, and forms related to bricolage, scrapbook or other forms of assemblage.
- Reading and Devotional Practice in the Late Medieval Domestic Household. This is centred on an edition (in progress) of Lambeth Palace MS 853, a small fifteenth-century household anthology of lyric poetry, with an emphasis on devotional, moral, penitential and courtesy texts. This study is concerned primarily with what the particular contents and their arrangement can tell us about how such texts might have been encountered and employed in a private domestic setting, and the relationship between lyric poetry and religious and devotional practice.
I am also working on a book for Palgrave Macmillan: Readers' Guide to Essential Criticism: Medieval English Literature.
I teach on the following courses:
Courtly Desire from Troubadours to Elizabethans (Y3)
Literature 1150-1550 (Y1)
Chaucer and Chaucerians (Y2)
Approaches to Poetry (Y1)
Elegy and Visual Culture (Y2)
Writing After War, After Modernism (MA)
I also lecture on Arthurian Literature (Y2) and Old English (Y2)