Skip to main content
School of English and Drama

Professor Julia Boffey, MA (Cambridge) DPhil (York)


Professor Emerita of Medieval Studies



I joined the department of English at Queen Mary in 1980, having studied at Cambridge and at the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York. My DPhil was about the manuscript context of late Middle English lyrics, and I’ve remained interested in the production and circulation of manuscripts and of early printed texts, and more generally in matters of reception. Over the years at Queen Mary I enjoyed teaching the works of Chaucer, developing other modules on medieval dreams and visions, medieval drama, and life-writing, and supervising postgraduates working on medieval and early modern topics. I’m a member of the council of the Early English Text Society and of the Harlaxton Symposium Steering Committee. I retired from Queen Mary in 2022 but continue with research and writing.


Research Interests:

  • late medieval and early sixteenth-century literature (especially Chaucer and fifteenth-century verse)
  • Medieval lyrics
  • manuscript production and early printing
  • reading and writing in late medieval London
  • editing
  • the production, transmission and reception of late medieval and early sixteenth-century literature in Britain, especially poetry
  • English and French in the late Middle Ages

Recent and On-Going Research

I’m currently co-editing a volume on fifteenth-century poetry for The Oxford History of Poetry in English, and am one of the general editors of a collaborative new edition of the works of Chaucer for Cambridge University Press.

Much of my research concerns medieval verse. With A. S. G. Edwards I’ve published A New Index of Middle English Verse (British Library, 2005), and a Companion to Fifteenth-Century English Poetry (Boydell and Brewer, 2013); we are currently co-editing a new collection of essays on the fifteenth-century for a multi-volume history of poetry in English, and are the general editors of a forthcoming new edition of Chaucer’s complete works. Recently I co-edited Middle English Lyrics: New Readings of Short Poems (with Christiania Whitehead; D. S,. Brewer, 2018). My interest in reading and writing in medieval London prompted a book on Manuscript and Print in London, c. 1475-1530 (British Library, 2012), and an edition of modernized selections from a late fifteenth-century chronicle, Henry VII’s London in ‘The Great Chronicle’ (Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, 2019). I’ve also edited a collection of essays on Performance, Ceremony and Display in Late Medieval England: Essays from the 2018 Harlaxton Symposium (Shaun Tyas, 2020).



(Ed.), Performance, Ceremony and Display in Late Medieval England. Essays from the 2018 Harlaxton Symposium (Shaun Tyas: Donington, 2020)

Henry VII’s London in The Great Chronicle, TEAMS, Documents of Practice Series, (Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University: Kalamazoo, 2019)

(Ed., with Christiania Whitehead), Middle English Lyrics: New Readings of Short Poems (D. S. Brewer: Cambridge, 2018)

(Ed., with A. S. G. Edwards), A Companion to Fifteenth-Century Poetry (Boydell and Brewer: Cambridge, 2013)

Manuscript and Print in London c. 1475-1530 (British Library: London, 2012)

(with A. S. G. Edwards), A New Index of Middle English Verse (London: British Library, 2005)

Fifteenth-century English Dream Visions: An Anthology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)

Selected Articles

‘Chaucer in Small Parcels: Odd Texts of Chaucer’s Short Poems, and their Manuscript Contexts’, in Middle English Manuscripts and their Legacies: A Volume in Honour of Ian Doyle, ed. R. Gameson and C. Saunders (Brill: Leiden, 2022), pp. 55-68

‘Morton's Feast and the Transmission of Bills of Fare in Late Medieval English Manuscripts and Printed Books’, in ‘Of latine and of othire lare’: Essays in Honour of David R. Carlson, ed. R. F. Green and R. F. Yeager (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 2022), 284-96

‘Huntington Library MS HM140: Household Reading for Londoners?’ in Medieval Londoners: Essays to mark the Eightieth Birthday of Caroline Barron, ed. E. New and C. Steer (London: Institute of Historical Research, 2019), pp. 55-70

‘Lyrics and short poems’, in A Critical Companion to Skelton, ed. J. Scattergood and S. Sobecki (D. S. Brewer: Cambridge, 2018), pp. 102-13

‘Robert Fabyan: A Merchant, Reader and Translator’, in The Medieval Merchant. Proceedings of the 2012 Harlaxton Symposium, ed. C. M. Barron and A. F. Sutton (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2015), pp. 284-98

‘Manuscript and Print: Continuity and Change’, in A Companion to the Early English Printed Book in Britain, ed. V. Gillespie and S. Powell (D. S. Brewer: Cambridge, 2014), pp. 13-26

‘Banking on translation: English printers and continental texts’, in The Medieval Translator: Traduire au Moyen Age. In principio fuit interpres, ed. A. Petrina, with the assistance of M. Santini (Brepols: Turnhout, 2013), pp. 317-29

See also my Queen Mary Research Publications profile


I have supervised PhD theses on later medieval verse and prose, especially Chaucer and post-Chaucerian writing; on medieval manuscript anthologies; on textual production in London; on medieval lives and their documentation and representation.  

I welcome applications from prospective postgraduate students interested in late medieval texts and literary culture.

I have recently supervised the following successful PhD projects:

  • Rob Ellis, '"Verba Vana": Empty Words in Ricardian London'
  • Jane Williams, 'A Late-Medieval Family and its Archive: The Forsters of London, c.1440-c.1550'
  • Hetta Howes, ‘In Search of Clearer Water: An Exploration of Water Imagery in Late Medieval Devotional Prose Addressed to Women’
  • Joel Grossman, ‘Authorising Courtly Verse: Poetics in the Reign of Henry VIII’
Back to top