Dr Tom White

  • Medieval and early modern studies
  • Material texts and the history of the book
  • Environmental humantities
  • Critical theory 


I am currently finishing a monograph on late medieval manuscripts and their treatment from the medieval period to the modern day. 'Potential Lives: the matter and materials of late medieval manuscripts' explores the figurative, interpretive and theoretical possibilities of manuscript study, with a particular focus on the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, vernacular romance, The Book of Margery Kempe, The Book of Sir John Mandeville, and Thomas Hoccleve’s Series. Drawing on contemporary theory, this project also looks to position manuscript studies within the developing field of the history and ecology of media. I've published some of this work in the journal Exemplaria and some has also appeared on the Birkbeck Material Texts Network Blog.

My current research project -- 'Written in Trees' -- examines medieval and early modern horticultural manuals. Artfully combining literary, theoretical and practical discourses, these manuals not only provide useful directions, but also engage with a range of philosophical debates around material substance, physical change and the thresholds and limits of life itself. In so doing, they frequently consider issues that are also important in the twenty-first century: to what extent is it possible to manage and control the environment? In what ways does the environment resist reduction to a raw, inert resource for human use? 

I keep a blog and write for MAP Magazine and the Glasgow Review of Books, where I also edit an ongoing thread on ecology and ecocriticism.

  Medieval and early modern studies; manuscript studies; media archaelogy; critical theory



  • Textile Logics of Late Medieval Romance

  • Climate, Power, and Possible Futures, from the Banks of the Humber Estuary

  • Written in Trees

  • Penda's Fen, Geoffrey's Archipelago

  • Sir Orfeo

  • More
List of site pages