My work focuses on the intersections between literature, reputation, and emotion in later medieval England (roughly 1350-1550), as well as on the postmedieval reception of medieval literature. I have a longstanding interest in the roles that literary texts can play in spreading or suppressing gossip–good or bad–and in establishing the fame of poets and the subjects they write about. This formed the subject of my first book, John Lydgate and the Poetics of Fame (2012), as well as a number of articles I have published. I am also interested in what happens when one acquires a bad reputation, or loses a good one. My second book, Practising Shame: Female Honour in the Literature of Medieval England (2019), focused on the emotional implications of good and bad reputations for women in medieval texts.
In 2018 and 2019, I was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, where I examined medieval and early modern versions of The Canterbury Tales to see how scribes, readers, and editors have responded to Chaucer’s obscenity, and how this has paved the way for Chaucer’s modern reputation. At the beginning of 2020, I embarked on a five-year SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowship at the University of Bern that will build on my previous research by investigating ‘Canonicity, Obscenity, and the Making of Modern Chaucer (COMMode)’ from 1700 to the present day.
My branch of the COMMode project concentrates on the tension and interplay between Chaucer’s status as a canonical English poet and his reputation as a bawdy humourist. Examining textual variants across editions of The Canterbury Tales published between 1700 and the present day will enable me to uncover those moments when Chaucer’s bawdy content was celebrated or suppressed. When viewed in the light of contemporaneous allusions to Chaucer and his work, these moments of textual variation provide clues as to when–and why–Chaucerian obscenity went in and out of fashion over the centuries.’
- Read about Mary’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie research at the CORDIS (European Commission) website.
- See Mary’s personal website for her full CV & other information.
A.E. completed their PhD in Medieval English at the University of Geneva in 2018. They hold prior degrees in Medieval Studies from the University of Sydney and remain active in both Swiss and Australian Medieval and Early Modern Studies networks. They have taught a range of subjects in Medieval English, introductory English literary studies, and interdisciplinary Medieval Studies. They are also a teacher of English as a Second Language and have taught Academic English in Japan. From 2020 to 2023, they were responsible for COMMode’s website and data management as well as their own research project.
A.E.’s ongoing academic interests include adaptation studies, sexuality and gender studies, and the history of emotions. They are interested in both adaptation as medieval practice, and contemporary adaptations of premodern literature, especially in the capacity of adaptation to illuminate the particularities of authorial viewpoints and the prevailing norms of the intended audience.
A.E.’s work for COMMode focused on Chaucer’s fabliaux, and on modernisations and adaptations of these short comic narratives. They are particularly interested in sexual humour and sexual violence: in the choices which mean that some adaptations elide the sexual content of Chaucer’s work, some embrace it, and others problematise the sexual humour in light of its reliance on rape culture and misogyny.
Kristen Haas Curtis studied English Literature and Language at the University of Fribourg, where she completed her Master’s degree in 2020 with a thesis examining adaptation as a process and a product, explored through contemporary adaptations of Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest’s Tale. This project included the creation of a short comic adaptation of the tale, available digitally at https://zco.mx/KristenHaasCurtis/TheNunsPriestsTale .
At the University of Bern, Kristen is joining Prof. Dr Flannery and Dr Brown as the doctoral student on the COMMode project. Her work will focus on the Wife of Bath’s Prologue and a number of its many adaptations and spin-offs.
In addition to her scholarly interests, Kristen continues her work as a cartoonist, often seeking to blend these two pursuits. Her work includes autobiography, travel writing, and literary adaptation in comic form.
- See Kristen’s artist website http://www.hellomizk.com for more of her creative work.