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Matthew Giancarlo

Research Interests:
Medieval English literature, history, and culture
Old English literature, history, and culture
Renaissance and Seventeenth-Century Literature and Culture
History of the English language
Literary Theory

Fall 2023 Teaching: ENG 518 Advanced History of the English Language, Wednesdays 5:00-7:30 pm., POT 110

Fall 2023 Office Hours: Wednesdays 3:00-4:00 pm., and by appointment


Ph.D. Yale University, 1998

M.A. Duke University, 1994

A.B. Cornell University, 1991



I teach and research English literature of the Middle Ages. My current major research project is a new critical edition of the works of Peter Idley, who was an English bureaucrat-poet from the mid-fifteenth century. My other long-term project is a book on popular constitutionalism, mirrors for princes, and the poetics of governmentality in English literature from the Second Barons' War to the early Tudor period, c. 1246-1541.

My publications include books and articles on parliament and constitutionalism in medieval literature and culture; the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland, and John Gower; the historiography of English philology; and other topics involving medieval literature, history, politics, and criticism. I am the co-editor of Middle English for the Journal of English and Germanic Philologyone of the oldest scholarly journals in Medieval Studies. 

At the undergraduate level I teach Chaucer and late medieval literature, as well as Arthurian literature, Old English language and literature, History of the English Language, and literary critical theory. I have directed several exceptional undergraduate students in Independent Studies on different topics. At the graduate level I teach all of these subjects as well as the professional literature pedagogy seminar. I actively participate on graduate committees at both the M.A. and Ph.D. levels (as director or member) covering medieval and early modern literature.

Selected Publications:

“Conduct Poetry.” Chapter 16 in The Oxford History of Poetry in English. Vol 3: Medieval Poetry 1400-1500. Oxford University Press, 2023.

“Editing JEGP: some (ambivalent) reflections.” With Robert J. Meyer-Lee.  New Chaucer Studies: Pedagogy and Profession 3, 2022.

“Chaucer and Contemporary Courts of Law and Politics: House, Law, Game.” Chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Chaucer. Oxford University Press, 2020.

“The Other British Constitution: Fürstenspiegel texts, Popular Constitutionalism, and the Critique of Kingship in the Franco-British De regimine Tradition.” Chapter in Kritik am Herrscher: Möglichkeiten, Chancen und Methoden der politischen Schelte in vormodernen monarchischen Gesellschaften. Bonn, 2019.

"Philology, Theory, and Critical Thinking Through the History of the English Language." Chapter in Approaches to Teaching the History of the English Language. Oxford, 2017.

“Gower’s Governmentality: Revisiting John Gower as a Constitutional Thinker and Regiminal Writer.” In John Gower: Others and the Self.  D. S. Brewer, 2017.

"Mirror, Mirror: Princely Hermeneutics, Practical Constitutionalism, and the Genres of the English Fürstenspiegel." Exemplaria 27, 2015.

Parliament and Literature in Late Medieval England. Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Other articles and reviews in journals such as Speculum, ELH: English Literary History, Representations, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, The Medieval Review, The Yearbook of Langland Studies, Modern Language Quarterly, and Renaissance Quarterly.