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School of English and Drama

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


Professor of Medieval Studies



I work in the medieval and early modern areas, especially on Chaucerian and fifteenth-century poetry and its transmission. I came to Queen Mary after studying at Newnham College, Cambridge and then the Centre for Medieval Studies at York, where my D.Phil. thesis was on late Middle English verse manuscripts.  A book about The Manuscripts of English Courtly Love Lyrics in the Later Middle Ages (Boydell and Brewer, 1983) grew from that work; and an edition of Fifteenth-Century English Dream Visions: An Anthology (OUP, 2003) developed from it. More recently my research has concerned late medieval writing and manuscript production in London, and early printing.

Undergraduate Teaching

I have taught on:

  • ESH110: Literatures in Time
  • ESH282: Chaucer: Telling Medieval Tales
  • ESH6050: Medieval Dreams and Fantasies

In the 2020-21 academic year, I teach on

  • ESH110 Literatures in Time


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

Recent and On-Going Research

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. Harlaxton Medieval Studies, XXX (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2020)

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

(with Christiania Whitehead), ed., Middle English Lyrics: New Readings of Shirt Poems (D. S. Brewer, 2018)

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

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

with Virginia Davis, eds, Recording Medieval Lives: Proceedings of the 2005 Harlaxton Symposium, Harlaxton Medieval Studies, 17 (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2009)

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

ed., Fifteenth-Century English Dream Visions: An Anthology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)

Selected Articles:

Selected articles from 2010:

‘Manuscript and print: authors, books and readers’, in A Companion to Medieval Poetry, ed. Corinne Saunders (Blackwell Publishing: Oxford, 2010), pp. 538-54

‘London books and London readers, c. 1475-1550’, in Cultural Reformations: Medieval and Renaissance in Literary History, edited by Brian Cummings and James Simpson (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2010), pp. 420-37.

‘The English Verse of Robert Fabyan’, in In praise of writing: Festschrift for Peter Beal, ed. S. Cerasano and S. May (British Library: London, 2012), pp. 1-24

‘Popular Verse’ in A Companion to Fifteenth-Century Poetry, ed. J. Boffey and A. S. G.

Edwards (D. S. Brewer: Cambridge, 2013), pp. 213-23

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

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

‘Assessing manuscript context: visible and invisible evidence in a copy of the Middle English Brut’, for New Directions in Medieval Manuscript Studies and Reading Practices, ed. Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, John J. Thompson, and Sarah Baechle (University of Notre Dame Press: Notre Dame, Indiana, 2014), pp. 165-76

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

‘Reading in London in 1501’ for Spaces for Reading in Later Medieval England, ed. Mary C. Flannery and Carrie Griffin (Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke, 2016),  pp. 51-61.

(with Paula Simpson) ‘A Middle English Love Poem on a Binding Fragment’, Review of English Studies, 67 (2016), 844-54

(with M. W. T. Payne) ‘The Gardyner’s Passetaunce, the Flowers of England, and Thomas Gardyner, Monk of Westminster’, The Library, 7th series, 18 (2017), 177-90

‘Lydgate’s Thoroughfare of Woe and lyric as epitome’, for Middle English Lyrics: New Interpretations, ed. Julia Boffey and Christiania Whitehead (Boydell and Brewer, 2018), pp. 189-200

‘Robert Fabyan’s two hats: The Great Chronicle of London and The New Chronicles of England and France’ (Turnhout: Brepols 2018), pp. 102-13

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

‘The Description of the World: A Summary from Polychronicon, Book I’, in Medieval English Travel: A Critical Anthology, ed. A. Bale and S. Sobecki (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), pp. 91-121

‘William Lichfield’s Remorse of Conscience: Contexts and Transmission’, in Church and City in the Middle Ages: Essays in Honour of Clive Burgess, ed. C. Steer and D. Harry, Proceedings of the Harlaxton Symposium, 2017 (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2019), pp. 417-31

‘The printing of English narratives in Wynkyn de Worde’s later career’, for a collection of essays on early printed narratives in Europe, ed. B. Besamusca, E. de Bruijn, and F. Willaerts (forthcoming from Rodopi, 2018-19)

‘English Poets in Print: Advertising Authorship from Caxton to Berthelet’, in John Gower in Manuscripts and Early Printed Books, ed. R. F. Yeager, M. Driver and D. Pearsall (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2020), pp. 219-30

‘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 (Institute of Historical Research, London, 2019), pp. 55-70

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’
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