Our work on medieval literature has several distinct strands, unified by an attention to vernacular culture and its physical and textual embodiment in manuscripts and inscription.

The Department of English Literature is actively involved in Birmingham’s interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages (CeSMA). One distinctively interdisciplinary strain of our research probes the relationship between text and image in Old English and Middle English culture.

Another recurrent theme is manuscript culture in medieval England and Scotland, with individual studies covering a range of genres from polemic to romance.

A third key interest is in the cultural forms and expressions of religion in the medieval period, from devotional literature to the parish church. Our aim throughout is to advance the understanding of medieval culture into new fields both in scholarship and for the public at large.


Staff especially engaged with this research theme

Amy Burge - popular fiction, in particular romance, both medieval and modern

Megan Cavell - Old English and comparative literature, especially poetry

Dr Victoria Flood - pre-modern historical and legendary content, alongside its later reception histories

David Griffith - late medieval literature and visual culture

Olivia Robinson - Anglo-French literary cultures and medieval theatre

Wendy Scase - medieval English literature and culture

Dr Philippa Semper - Old English literature and modern fantasy literature

Emily Wingfield - medieval Scottish literature, including romance, manuscript study and book history

Major publications


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Medieval convent drama - Olivia Robinson