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Anthony Bale

  • Overview



    Anthony Bale is Professor of Medieval Studies and, from 2017-21, was Executive Dean of the School of Arts. He has taught on the BA English and MA Medieval Literature and Culture and currently supervises doctoral students working on medieval topics.

    Bale has published widely on medieval literature, culture, and religion. In particular, his work has explored relations between Christians and Jews in medieval England and, more recently, the culture of medieval pilgrimage. He has also edited and translated several medieval texts, and new translations and editions of The Book of Marvels & Travels by John Mandeville, The Book of Margery Kempe, and Medieval English Travel, a sourcebook, all with Oxford University Press. His current work explores travel, books, and pilgrimage between England and the Holy Land in the later Middle Ages. His new study of Margery Kempe, Margery Kempe: A Mixed Life, was published by Reaktion Books in October 2021. His new book, A Travel Guide to the Middle Ages will be published by Penguin in the UK in November 2023. 

    He has received fellowships and research funding from the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the Australian Research Councils, the British Academy, Harvard University, the Huntington Library, the Leverhulme Trust, the University of Michigan Frankel Institute, the National Humanities Center, and the Pilgrim Trust. He was President of the New Chaucer Society from 2020 to 2022.

    Bale will hold a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship from 2023 to 2026 to support his work on the Siege of Rhodes and the emergence of news writing in Middle English. 



    • DPhil, Oxford University, 2001
    • MA, University of York, 1998
    • MA, Oxford University, 1997

    Web profiles

    Visiting posts

    Honours and awards

    • Preservation and Scholarship Award, Pilgrim Trust, November 2016
    • Brittingham Fellow for Teaching Excellence, University of Wisconsin, Madison, November 2015
    • Beatrice White Prize, The English Association, December 2012
    • Philip Leverhulme Prize, Leverhulme Trust, November 2011
    • Ronald Tress Prize, Birkbeck College, November 2007
    • Jewish Studies Publication Prize, Koret Foundation, November 2005


  • Research


    Research overview

    My research interests are in late medieval English literature, culture, and popular religion. 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, travel, and The Book of Margery Kempe.

    My first monograph was a study of medieval English writing about Jews called The Jew in the Medieval Book: English Antisemitisms 1350-1500 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) which 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 the poetry of John Lydgate; this resulted in several articles, a co-edition of Lydgate's Lives of Ss Edmund and Fremund (Winter: 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, Feeling Persecuted: Christians, Jews and Images of Violence (London: Reaktion, 2010), was awarded the 2011 Beatrice White Prize by the English Association.

    Subsequently, I have edited and translated both The Book & Marvels by Sir John Mandeville and The Book of Margery Kempe for Oxford’s World’s Classics, put together an edited collection of essays for The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the Crusades, and co-edited, with Sebastian Sobecki, a major collection of Middle English writings about the world, Medieval English Travel: A Critical Anthology.

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

    My research has been enriched by a number of creative projects too – including working on animation and medieval manuscripts, and in two exhibitions (Blood: Uniting & Dividing and Jews, Money, Myth), with the Jewish Museum London.

    Research Centres and Institutes

    • Medieval and Early Modern Worlds

    Research projects

    Medieval news media and the writing of the Siege of Rhodes (1480), 2023-26

    Morton Bloomfield Fellowship 2019

    Erika & Kenneth Riley Fellowship, 2018

    Animating the Medieval Book, 2017

    Pilgrim Trust Preservation & Scholarship Award, ‘Four medieval manuscripts at Birkbeck College’, 2016-17

    'Pilgrim Libraries: Books & Reading on the Medieval Routes to Jerusalem and Rome', International Network Grant, 2016-18

    Walter Hines Page Fellowship of the Research Triangle Foundation, 2012-13

    Philip Leverhulme Prize, 2011-14

    SOCRATES Fellowship, Ludwig Maximilians Universitaet, Munich, 2011

    Leverhulme Research Fellowship, ‘Terror, pleasure, and the medieval Jewish image’, 2008-9

    British Academy Conference Grant, 2007

    AHRC Research Leave Award, 'The Minor Poems of John Lydgate: Audience, Context, Interpretation', 2006

    'Arma Christi rolls and books in North American collections', 2003

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    I am currently supervising or co-supervising several doctoral projects. I am happy to consider enquiries from potential doctoral students on topics relating to

    • aspects of medieval English literature and culture 1200-1550
    • Chaucer, Mandeville, Lydgate, Margery Kempe
    • pilgrimage, the medieval Holy Land, Jerusalem, medieval travel writing
    • editing and translating medieval texts, book history, marginalia
    • medieval Anglo-Jewish history, the history of antisemitism
    • medieval hagiography
      Please don't hesitate to contact me if you would like an informal discussion about your ideas for an MPhil or PhD.

    Current doctoral researchers


    Doctoral alumni since 2013-14



    I teach across Foundation Year, BA, and MA programmes in the Department of English, Theatre & Creative Writing. This includes classes on modules such as The Arts: Perspectives and Possibilities (Foundation Year), Reading Literature (BA), Production of the Human (BA), Critically Queer (BA), Medieval Worlds (MA), and Writing the Self (MA). My teaching covers literary criticism and theory, cultural history, and creative non-fiction. My teaching covers medieval literature and culture, but also embraces topics as diverse as travel writing, holocaust writing, autobiography and memoir, 'race' and antisemitism, palaeography, and cultural theory.  

    Teaching modules

    • The Arts: Perspectives and Possibilities (ARAR008S3)
    • Writing The Self (AREN238S7)
    • Production of the Human: Decolonising the Canon (AREN257S4)
    • Medieval Worlds (AREN273S7)
    • Working in the Middle Ages (AREN275Z7)
    • Writing the Planet (AREN292S7)
    • New Directions in Cultural and Critical Studies (ENHU004S7)
  • Publications





    Book Section

    • Bale, Anthony and Giosue, D. (2021) A women’s network in fifteenth-century Rome: Margery Kempe encounters “Margaret Florentyne”. In: Varnam, L. and Williams, L. (eds.) Encountering the Book of Margery Kempe. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. ISBN 9781526146618. (In Press)
    • Bale, Anthony (2021) From Nidaros to Jerusalem; from Feginsbrekka to Mount Joy. In: Aavitsland, K.B. and Bonde, L.M. (eds.) Tracing the Jerusalem Code. Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter. pp. 187-193. ISBN 9783110634853.
    • Bale, Anthony (2021) Foreward. In: Brooks, G. (ed.) The Dancing Plague. London, UK: Abrams and Chronicle. ISBN 9781910593981. (In Press)
    • Bale, Anthony (2021) Chaucer's borders. In: Johnson, I. (ed.) Geoffrey Chaucer in Context. Literature in Context. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 311-319. ISBN 9781009010603.
    • Bale, Anthony (2020) Pilgrims' books. In: Gillespie, A. and Lynch, D. (eds.) The Unfinished Book. Oxford Twenty-First Century Approaches to Literature. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198830801.
    • Bale, Anthony (2020) Lydgate's Chaucer. In: Conklin Akbari, S. and Simpson, J. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Chaucer. Oxford Handbooks. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 580-600. ISBN 9780199582655.
    • Bale, Anthony and Ingham, P. (2020) Chaucer's sense of an ending. In: Grady, F. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Canterbury Tales. Cambridge Companions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781316848463.
    • Bale, Anthony (2019) Where did Margery Kempe cry?. In: Barbezat, M. and Scott, A. (eds.) Fluid Bodies and Bodily Fluids in Premodern Europe: Bodies, Blood, and Tears in Literature, Theology, and Art. Arc Humanities Press. ISBN 9781641892384.
    • Bale, Anthony (2019) Afterword: three letters. In: Burger, G. and Crocker, H. (eds.) Medieval Affect, Feeling, and Emotion. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 203. ISBN 9781108471961.
    • Bale, Anthony (2018) Foreword: The Virgin of Bethlehem, gender, and space. In: Heath, D. and Blud, V. and Klafter, E. (eds.) Gender in medieval spaces, places, and threholds. London: Institute of Historical Research, University of London School of Advanced Study. pp. xv-xviii. ISBN 9781909646858.
    • Bale, Anthony (2017) Dracula's blood. In: Luckhurst, Roger (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Dracula. Cambridge Companions to Literature. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 104-113. ISBN 9781316607084.
    • Bale, Anthony (2016) European travel writing in the Middle Ages. In: Thompson, C. (ed.) The Routledge Companion to Travel Writing. Routledge Literature Companions. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. pp. 152-160. ISBN 9780203366127.
    • Bale, Anthony (2014) Belligerent literacy, bookplates, and graffiti: Dorothy Helbarton's book. In: Partington, G. and Smyth, A. (eds.) Book Destruction from the Medieval to the Contemporary. New Directions in Book History. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 89-111. ISBN 9781137367655.
    • Bale, Anthony (2014) Belligerent literary, bookplates and graffiti: Dorothy Helbarton's book. In: Smyth, Adam and Partington, Gillian (eds.) Book Destruction from the Medieval to the Contemporary. New Directions in Book History. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 89-111. ISBN 9781137367655.
    • Bale, Anthony (2013) Christians and Jews, love and hate. In: Crocker, H. and Smith, V. (eds.) Medieval Literature: Criticism and Debates. Routledge Criticism and Debates in Literature. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. pp. 65-73. ISBN 9780415667895.
    • Bale, Anthony (2013) John Lydgate's religious poetry. In: Boffey, J. and Edwards, A.S.G. (eds.) A Companion to Fifteenth-Century English Poetry. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer. pp. 73-86. ISBN 9781843843535.
    • Bale, Anthony (2013) Afterword: violence, memory, and the traumatic Middle Ages. In: Rees-Jones, S. and Watson, S. (eds.) Christians and Jews in Angevin England. Suffolk, UK: Boydell & Brewer. pp. 294-304. ISBN 9781903153444.
    • Bale, Anthony (2012) Fictions of Judaism in England before 1290. In: Skinner, P. (ed.) Jews in Medieval Britain Historical, Literary and Archaeological Perspectives. Suffolk, UK: Boydell & Brewer. pp. 129-144. ISBN 9781843837336.
    • Bale, Anthony (2010) 'A maner latyn corrupt': Chaucer and the absent religions. In: Phillips, H. (ed.) Chaucer and Religion. Christianity and Culture: Issues in Teaching/Research. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 9781843842293.
    • Bale, Anthony (2009) St Edmund in fifteenth-century London: the Lydgatian miracles of St Edmund. In: Bale, Anthony (ed.) St Edmund King and Martyr: Changing Images of a Medieval Saint. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell & Brewer. pp. 145-162. ISBN 9781903153260.
    • Bale, Anthony (2008) Boys, Lady Sibylle, c. 1370- c. 1456, literary patron. In: Goldman, L. (ed.) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
    • Bale, Anthony (2008) Christian antisemitism and intermedial experience in late medieval England. In: Dimmock, M. and Hadfield, A. (eds.) The Religions of the Book: Christian Perceptions, 1400-1660. Early Modern Literature in History. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan. pp. 23-44. ISBN 9780230020047.
    • Bale, Anthony (2007) The female `Jewish' libido in medieval culture. In: Hopkins, A. and Rushton, C.J. (eds.) The Erotic in the Literature of Medieval Britain. Suffolk, UK: Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 9781843841197.
    • Bale, Anthony (2004) Stow's medievalism and antique Judaism in early modern London. In: Anders Gadd, I. and Gillespie, A. (eds.) John Stow (1525-1605) and The Making of the English Past: Studies In Early Modern Culture and the History of the Book. London, UK: The British Library. pp. 69-80. ISBN 9780712348645.

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