Amy Appleford

Associate Professor Director, Medieval Studies Program

  • Title Associate Professor
    Director, Medieval Studies Program
  • Phone 617-358-2551
  • Education BA, MA, University of Guelph
    PhD, University of Western Ontario

My teaching and research are focused on the literature and culture of the English middle ages. I teach courses on medieval romance; early English drama; European early women writers; Chaucer; Langland; fifteenth-century poetry; disability studies; critical race theory; histories of the body; and history of the English language. I have on-going research interests in the interrelations of literature, civic culture, and political thought with Christian belief and practice; medieval women’s visionary writing and mysticism; book history and early text technologies; histories of the body and cultural understandings of embodiment.

My first book, Learning to Die in London, 1380-1530 (UPenn 2015), argues that the structured awareness of death and mortality was in several ways a vital aspect of medieval civic culture, critical not only to the shaping of single lives and the management of families and households but also to the practices of cultural memory, the building of institutions, and the good government of the city itself. My current project, In Place of the Self: Matters of Asceticism in Late Medieval England, is a study of late medieval asceticism, especially outside of monasteries and other enclosed religious communities. In this project, I am particularly interested in ascetic theory’s understanding of material bodies and the built environment and their contribution to the formation of subjectivity; and in medieval Christian asceticism as a resistant praxis in which ascetic persons identify with a transcendent alternate reality, setting themselves against the dominant culture and its institutions — familial, political, and religious — and working to root out the traces these have scored in body, mind, and soul.

I have published on Middle English poetry; early drama and civic culture; late medieval visionary writing; fifteenth-century urban culture; and Shakespeare.

Amy Appleford’s CV

Selected Publications
  • “Singing the Dirige: Lyric and Vernacular Liturgy in Fifteenth-Century England.” Church and City in the Middle      Ages: Essays in Honour of Clive Burgess, Proceedings of the 2017 Harlaxton Symposium, edited by David Harry and Christian Steer, Shaun Tyas Publications, 2019, pp. 432-448.
  • “Askesis, Dissent, and the Tudor State: Richard Whitford’s Rule for Lay Men,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 46.2 (May 2016)
  • “Into the Sea Ground and the London Street: The Limits of the Ascetic Body in Julian of Norwich and Thomas Hoccleve,” The Chaucer Review 51.1 (January 2016)
  • “Performance in Households and Merchant Halls.” In Oxford Handbooks Online, New York: Oxford University Press (December 2015).
  • Learning to Die in London, 1380-1540, The Middle Ages Series (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) (monograph)
  • “The Good Death of Richard Whittington: Corpse to Corporation,” The Ends of the Body in Medieval Culture, eds. Suzanne Akbari and Jill Ross (2012)
  • “Julian of Norwich,” History of British Women’s Writing. Vol. 1: 1350-1500, eds. Diane Watt and Liz Herbert McAvoy (2012)
  • Amy Appleford and Nicholas Watson, “Merchant Religion in Fifteenth-Century London: The Writings of William Litchfield,” The Chaucer Review 46.1 and 2 (2011)
  • “Shakespeare’s Katherine of Aragon: Last Medieval Queen, First Recusant Martyr,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 40.1 (Winter 2010)
  • “The Dance of Death in London: John Lydgate, John Carpenter, and the Daunce of Poulys,” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 38.2 (Spring 2008)
  • “The ‘Comene Course of Prayer’: Julian of Norwich and Late Medieval Death Culture,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 107.2 (April 2008)
Work in Progress
  • In Place of the Self: Ascetic Matters in Late Medieval England (monograph)
Honors, Grants, and Awards
  • Leverhulme International Network Grant, 2015-2018: Women’s Literary Culture and the Medieval Canon
  • Frank and Lynn Wisneski Award for Excellence in Teaching, College of Arts and Sciences, 2016
  • Boston University Center for the Humanities Junior Fellowship, 2012-13
  • Stanford Humanities Center External Faculty Fellowship, Stanford University, 2010-11
  • Certificate of Teaching Excellence, Harvard University, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

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