edited collections

This volume contributes to the study of early English poetics. In these essays, several related approaches and fields of study radiate outward from poetics, including stylistics, literary history, word studies, gender studies, metrics, and textual criticism. By combining and redirecting these traditional scholarly methods, as well as exploring newer ones such as object-oriented ontology and sound studies, these essays demonstrate how poetry responds to its intellectual, literary, and material contexts.

The contributors propose to connect the small (syllables, words, and phrases) to the large (histories, emotions, faiths, secrets). In doing so, they attempt to work magic on the texts they consider: turning an ordinary word into something strange and new, or demonstrating texture, difference, and horizontality where previous eyes had perceived only smoothness, sameness, and verticality.

from the back cover

Prosody thus traverses a set of vexing historical oppositions—between structuralist and poststructuralist, or formalist and historicist, or empirical and theoretical, methodologies; between departments in the twenty-first-century university—especially the languages, linguistics, cognitive sciences, and comparative literature; not to mention between poets and critics, the producers and analysts of prosody. Hoping to move past these artificial divides, this Colloquy brings together work in multiple media across disciplines, all considering reciprocal relationships between prosody and history, variously defined. The goal of the discussion is to inspire the kinds of productive disagreements that can move prosody closer to Donald Wesling’s vision of a unified field. This Colloquy shows that verse rhythm and aesthetic pleasure always exist in a dialectic relationship with many histories.

from the headnote


  • with Stephanie L. Batkie, “Introduction.” Yearbook of Langland Studies 32 (2018): 237–44. For the “Chaucer’s Langland” essay cluster. [academia.edu]

book chapters

  • with the assistance of Celia Smithmier, “The Death of Blanche the Duchess.” In The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. Julia Boffey and A. S. G. Edwards (Cambridge University Press, under contract).
  • with Irina Dumitrescu, “Introduction.” In The Shapes of Early English Poetry: Style, Form, History, ed. Dumitrescu and Eric Weiskott (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute, 2019), pp. 1–12.