Dr Mary Flannery

My work focuses on the intersections between literature, reputation, and emotion in later medieval England (roughly 1350 - 1550). I have a longstanding interest in the roles that literary texts can play in spreading or suppressing gossip--good or bad--and in establishing the fame of poets and the subjects they write about. This formed the subject of my first book, John Lydgate and the Poetics of Fame (2012), as well as a number of articles I have published. I am also interested in what happens when one acquires a bad reputation, or loses a good one. My second book, Practicing Shame: Female Honour in the Literature of Medieval England (forthcoming), focuses on the emotional implications of good and bad reputations for women in medieval texts.


My Marie Skłodowska-Curie project is taking me in a new direction, as I explore how Chaucer's texts and reputation have been affected by his use of occasionally obscene language and content. Over the next two years, I will be examining medieval and early modern versions of The Canterbury Tales to see how scribes, readers, and editors have responded to Chaucer's obscenity, and how this has paved the way for Chaucer's modern reputation. 




  • Practicing Shame

  • Emotion and Medieval Textual Media

  • More
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