Professor Nicholas Perkins

My research interests are now based in the late-medieval period. They include English poetry and its audiences, for example the circulation and ownership of manuscripts; and the poet, bureaucrat and melancholic Thomas Hoccleve, along with his contemporaries and influences such as John Lydgate and Geoffrey Chaucer.

More recently, I have been studying medieval romance, and in particular how objects and people circulate in romance narratives, asking what we might learn from work on gifts and material engagements in other fields. This investigation is the subject of my book The gift of narrative in medieval England (2021; paperback 2023), whose research was aided by a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship, and an edited volume of essays, Medieval Romance and Material Culture (2015).

In 2023 I curated a major exhibition, Gifts and Books, in the Bodleian Library, which extended these ideas with items spanning four thousand years and across the globe. The accompanying book is Gifts and Books: From Early Myth to the Present, and the exhibition sparked off a number of creative projects in collaboration with schools, hospitals, and the Oxford Flash Fiction Prize. Amongst my other interests are biblical allusion in medieval literature; and modern encounters with medieval culture.

At undergraduate level I teach language and literature from the beginnings of English up to c.1550, and aspects of language study, criticism and theory.

At postgraduate level, I teach in areas of study linked to my interests. Masters and doctoral projects that I have supervised include work on late-medieval manuscripts and readers; the Gawain-Poet; identities and languages in post-Conquest Britain; source study and translation; late-medieval political literature; and gender and romance.

In 2012 I received one of the University’s Teaching Excellence Awards.