Ann Killian

Ann Killian's picture
6th Year
Areas of Interest: 

Medieval literature; devotional culture; history of the book

Dissertation Topic: 

Expanding Lyric Networks: The Transformation of a Genre in Late Medieval England directed by Ardis Butterfield, Jessica Brantley, and Alastair Minnis

My research focuses on lyric poetry, textual production, and religious reform in late medieval England. My current project, Expanding Lyric Networks, examines changes in manuscript circulation and how these effected lyric reading practices. I consider mixed-language lyrics that quote the biblical Song of Songs, poetic verses in sermons and The Book of Margery Kempe, as well as works by named authors, from pastors like Richard Caistre and William Lichfield, to major authors Richard Rolle and John Lydgate. I demonstrate that, over the long fifteenth century (c. 1380-1534), clerical poets reconceived of vernacular religious lyrics as a genre worthy of transmission in writing, alongside oral delivery. The public dissemination of lyrics by religious institutions helped to create a culture of ecclesial reform.

My teaching and research areas include medieval literature (English, French, and Latin), historical poetics, religion and theology, as well as manuscript studies and book history.


“Menacing Books: The Prick of Conscience and the Rhetoric of Reproof,” Yearbook of Langland Studies (2017) 5-41.

“Listening for Lyric Voice in Sermon Verses and The Book of Margery Kempe,” forthcoming in Studies in the Age of Chaucer 41 (2019).