Reconstructing Alliterative Verse: The Pursuit of a Medieval Meter (Cambridge University Press, 2017). This book explores the history and development of English alliterative meter, and considers why the form has remained so enigmatic. The formal practice of alliterative poets exceeded the conceptual grasp of medieval literary theory; modern study, from the nineteenth century forward, has consistently underestimated the peculiarity of this meter, and its difference from subsequent accentual-syllabic forms. [abstract] [press page]

Articles & Essays

The Lay Folks’ Catechism, alliterative verse, and cursus.” Forthcoming in the Review of
English Studies. 12,000 words. Ever since W. W. Skeat’s treatments, the Catechism has been placed in the general orbit of alliterative verse, yet closer identifications have proved elusive. [abstract]

“An Edition of the Archetype of Piers Plowman B.” Review essay, forthcoming in YLS 32 (2018). 10,000 words. Though the difficult problem of ‘rolling revision’ remains unresolved in this new edition, John Burrow and Thorlac Turville-Petre’s B-Version Archetype is the best record now available of the received text of Piers Plowman B. [abstract]

“Grammars and Rhetorics.” In the Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature in Britain, eds Siân Echard and Robert Rouse (J. Wiley & sons, 2017), pp. 912-25. A survey of the foundational disciplines of literate culture in the British isles, from the failure of the Roman imperial project in the fifth century to Henry VIII’s promulgation of uniform Latin grammars in 1540-42. [abstract] [Wiley Online Library]

“Versification.” Commissioned chapter, for Approaches to Teaching Piers Plowman, ed. Thomas Goodmann (Modern Language Association, forthcoming). 3,000 words. A lesson plan for teaching the metrical form of late Middle English alliterative verse in an advanced undergraduate classroom. [abstract]

“Boethius’ Consolatio philosophiae.The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature, vol. 1: the Middle Ages, ed. Rita Copeland (Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 269-98. A narrative history of the reception of Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy in Old and Middle English, with contextualizing discussion of medieval Latin and French traditions. [excerpt]

“The Accentual Paradigm in Early English Metrics.” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 114.4 (2015): 459-81. An essay in the history of knowledge, tracing the nineteenth-century emergence and consolidation of the thesis that Old English poetry was accentual. Argues that this paradigm misrepresents central features of the Old English meter and of the Middle English form that developed from it. See now the revised version in Reconstructing Alliterative Verse. [JSTOR] [Project MUSE] [excerpt]

“Gower and the Peasants’ Revolt.” Representations 131 (Summer 2015): 22-51. A study of the moral and political claims made in John Gower’s poem on the Rising of 1381, situating the poem within three contrastive fields: Gower’s moral project, his Virgilian intertext, and the practices of moral community employed by the rebels of 1381. [press page] [JSTOR] [MLA CORE] [excerpt]

Passus secundus de Dobest: On the Genesis of a Rubric in the Archetype of Piers Plowman B.” Medium Aevum 84.1 (2015): 1-15. An essay on the textual transmission of section titles in the B and C Versions of Piers Plowman, arguing that the final two sections of the poem indeed originated in the B Version. [EBSCOhost] [abstract]

“Alliterative Revival: Retrospect and Prospect.” Review essay. Yearbook of Langland Studies 26 (2012): 261-276. A literature review and reassessment of the twentieth-century scholarship on Middle English alliterative verse; a mapping of questions for future study. [press page] [excerpt]

“The Rhetoric of Advancement: Ars dictaminis, Cursus, and Clerical Careerism in Late Medieval England.” New Medieval Literatures 12 (2010): 287-328. An essay in Bourdieusian cultural studies, on the teaching of rhetoric in late medieval England. [press page] [MLA CORE] [comment]

Books Reviewed

John Burrow and Thorlac Turville-Petre, eds., The “Piers Plowman” Electronic Archive, Vol. 9: The B-Version Archetype (Bx) (2014), published in print as Piers Plowman: The B-Version Archetype (Bx), PPEA Print Series, Vol. 1 (Raleigh, NC: SEENET, 2018)

Ralph Hanna, The Penn Commentary on “Piers Plowman”, Volume 2: C Passūs 5-9; B Passūs 5-7; A Passūs 5-8 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).

Susan E. Deskis, Alliterative Proverbs in Medieval England: Language Choice and Literary Meaning (Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2016)

Rebecca Davis, “Piers Plowman” and the Books of Nature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016)

Stephen M. Yeager, From Lawmen to Plowmen: Anglo-Saxon Legal Tradition and the School of Langland (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014)

Juliet Barker, 1381: The Year of the Peasants’ Revolt (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2014) [Brepols-online]

Michael Calabrese and Stephen H. A. Shepherd, eds., Yee? Baw for Bokes: Essays on Medieval Manuscripts and Poetics in Honor of Hoyt N. Duggan (Los Angeles: Marymount Institute Press, 2013) [Brepols-online]

James H. Morey, ed., Prik of Conscience, TEAMS Middle English Text Series (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2012) [JSTOR] [Project MUSE]

A. V. C. Schmidt, ed., Piers Plowman: A Parallel-Text Edition of the A, B, C and Z Versions, 2 vols, 2nd and revised ed. (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2011) [EBSCOhost] [LION]

Randy Schiff, Revivalist Fantasy: Alliterative Verse and Nationalist Literary History (Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2011) [Brepols-online]