Jessica Brantley

Jessica Brantley's picture
Frederick W. Hilles Professor of English, Department Chair

Ph.D., UCLA, 2000
M. Phil., Cambridge University, 1994
A.B., Harvard University, 1992

I am interested in the cultures of medieval reading as they are preserved in manuscripts. In my first book, Reading in the Wilderness (Chicago 2007), I explore the format of a late-medieval miscellany to reveal surprising connections between the private reading of a meditative lyric and the public performance of civic drama.  My current projects include a handbook of literary manuscript studies and a long-term study of the connections between late-medieval vernacular literature and the book of hours.

Selected Publications

- “Looking at the Word:  Text and Image in Alabaster.”  Reassessing Alabaster Sculpture in Medieval England, ed. and intro. Jessica Brantley, Stephen Perkinson, and Elizabeth Teviotdale.  Studies in Iconography:  Themes and Variations.  Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 2020. Pp. 57-72.

- “The Provocations of Orthodoxy:  Lydgate and Late-Medieval Books of Hours in Literary Culture.”  In The Provocative Fifteenth Century:  A Special Issue of Exemplaria, ed. Andrea Denny-Brown 30.1 (2018):  2-19.

- “Forms of the Hours in Late Medieval England.”  In The Medieval Literary:  Beyond Form, ed. Catherine Sanok and Robert Meyer-Lee.  Cambridge:  Boydell and Brewer, 2018. Pp. 61-83.

- “The Franklin’s Tale and the Sister Arts.”  Chaucer: Visual Approaches, ed. Susanna Fein and David Raybin.  University Park, PA:  Pennsylvania State University Press, 2016. Pp. 139-53.

- “In Things: The Rebus in Pre-Modern Devotion.”  The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 45.1 (Winter 2015).

- “Medieval Remediations.”  Comparative Textual Media, ed. N. Katherine Hayles and Jessica Pressman, 201-20.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013.

- “Reading the Forms of Sir Thopas.” In “Medieval English Manuscripts: Form, Aesthetics, and the Literary Text,” ed. Alexandra Gillespie and Arthur Bahr, a special issue of Chaucer Review 47.4 (2013):  416-38.

- “Forms of Reading in the Book of Brome.” In Form and Reform: Reading Across the Fifteenth Century, ed. Kathleen Tonry and Shannon Gayk, 19-39.  Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 2011.

- “The Pre-History of the Book.”  PMLA 124.2 (2009):  1-15.

- “Venus and Christ in Chaucer’s Complaint of Mars:  The Fairfax 16 Frontispiece.”  Studies in the Age of Chaucer 30 (2008):  171-204.

- Reading in the Wilderness: Private Devotion and Public Performance in Late Medieval England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007). [Winner, 2008 Book of the Year from the Conference on Christianity and Literature]


Undergraduate: Major English Poets, Chaucer, Medieval Women Writers and Readers, Introduction to Manuscript Study, Medieval Dream-Vision, Medieval Manuscripts to New Media, Medieval Drama, and Medieval Lyric. 

Graduate: The Canterbury Tales, Teaching Practicum, Medieval Visionary Writing, Medieval Drama, Medieval Manuscripts and Literary Form.