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Research

My research interests are in late medieval English literature, culture, and popular religion. In particular, my research has explored Christian ideas about Jews and Judaism, the poetry of John Lydgate, the cult of St Edmund, Sir John Mandeville and his Book, pain and affect in medieval religion, the representation of Jerusalem, the history of imprisonment and, now, The Book of Margery Kempe.

My first monograph was a study of late medieval English writing about Jews called The Jew in the Medieval Book: English Antisemitisms 1350-1500 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) was awarded a Koret Foundation Jewish Studies Publications Program award and the 2006/7 Ronald Tress Prize.

This was followed by an AHRC-funded study of audience and prestige in fifteenth-century English writing, in particular concerning the poetry of John Lydgate; this resulted in several articles, a co-edition of Lydgate's Lives of Ss Edmund and Fremund (with A. S. G. Edwards; published by Winter Verlag, Heidelberg, 2009) and a collection of edited essays on the cult of St Edmund (St Edmund King & Martyr: Changing Images of a Medieval Saint).

My second monograph, funded by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship, interrogated affective violence and imaginative persecution in late medieval European representations of Judaism. Much of the research into this project was undertaken as a Frankel Fellow at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, 2008/9; the resulting book is called Feeling Persecuted: Christians, Jews and Images of Violence (London: Reaktion, 2010), which was awarded the 2011 Beatrice White Prize by the English Association.

I was the Principal Investigator and convenor of an AHRC-funded Research Network: Remembered Places and Invented Traditions in 2012. I was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize for 2011-13, which will supported my ongoing research on medieval images of the Holy Land, which was has been followed up by a Leverhulme International Research Network on Pilgrim Libraries: Books & Reading on the Medieval Routes to Rome and Jerusalem.

I am currently thinking mainly about pilgrimage, imprisonment, and blood.