David Matthews

David Matthews

Prof, Professor of Medieval and Medievalism Studies

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Personal profile


I joined the department at Manchester in 2006 and am now professor of medieval and medievalism studies. I was Head of the Division of English, American Studies, and Creative Writing between 2013 and 2015.

I previously taught at the University of Newcastle in Australia and then had a short stint at the University of Liverpool after moving to Britain, before commencing at Manchester.

I contribute to teaching in late medieval English at all levels. I lecture in ENGL10051 Mapping the Medieval and at level 2 I lecture on the Chaucer module which runs in most years. I contribute to the MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies (further information here). I run a reading group in Middle English literature (contact me if you are interested in joining). 

I was editor of Studies in the Age of Chaucerthe annual journal of the New Chaucer Society, 2007 to 2013.

Research interests

My current work is on the continuities of Middle English literature into the Tudor period. An initial foray in this area was the collection of essays I co-edited with Gordon McMullan in 2007, Reading the Medieval in Early Modern England. My own contribution to that book was on the Chaucer editions of Thomas Speght. I've also published on the Chaucer edition of William Thynne and the Gower edition of Thomas Berthelette, and am now considering the continuity of less canonical literature, such as devotional prose writings. I'm working on a book project with the provisional title, Marvellous Darkness: The Presence of the Middle Ages in Tudor England.

I remain interested in English literature in the century or so immediately before Chaucer. My book Writing to the King: Nation, Kingship and Literature in England , 1250-1350 (Cambridge, 2010), looks at ideas of nationhood in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, particularly as represented in chronicles and political verses.

I am also interested in most aspects of the post-medieval reception of the Middle Ages, particularly in the British and Australian contexts. I have charted the development of Middle English studies in two books (The Making of Middle English1765-1910 [U of Minnesota Press, 1999] and The Invention of Middle English: An Anthology of Sources [Penn State Press, 2000]). I am also interested in medievalism in its various manifestations (popular and scholarly) especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; this is the focus of my book Medievalism: A Critical History (Brewer, 2015) and also of Subaltern Medievalisms (co-edited with Mike Sanders, Boydell, 2021). With my colleague James Paz, I organised the MAMO conference at Manchester in 2017 (see themamo.org).



Supervision areas:

I would be happy to hear from potential research students interested in most areas of Middle English literature, particularly Chaucer and other Ricardians, fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century writing, Arthurian literature, vernacular romances, vernacular chronicles. I would also supervise on most aspects of the reception of the Middle Ages, particularly the survival of Middle English texts. The impact of medievalism in colonial cultures, especially Australia, is another interest.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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