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Professor Julia Boffey, MA (Cambridge) DPhil (York)

Professor of Medieval Studies



Julia Boffey

I work in the medieval and early modern areas, especially on traditions of English verse writing, and with a particular focus on Chaucer and fifteenth-century literature. I came to Queen Mary after studying at Newnham College, Cambridge and then the Centre for Medieval Studies at York, where my D.Phil. thesis was on late Middle English verse manuscripts.  A book about The Manuscripts of English Courtly Love Lyrics in the Later Middle Ages (Boydell and Brewer, 1983) grew from that work; and an edition of Fifteenth-Century English Dream Visions: An Anthology (OUP, 2003) developed from it. My long-term interest in the  material aspects of literary production has recently involved research into the early intersections between manuscript and print, and on the compilation and transmission of local chronicles.


Research interests:

  • late medieval and early sixteenth-century literature (especially Chaucer and fifteenth-century verse)
  • medieval lyrics
  • manuscript production and early printing
  • literary production and reception in late medieval London
  • editing

Recent and On-Going Research

In recent years I have worked more extensively on Middle English verse manuscripts, on the relationship between manuscript and printed production of texts c. 1475-1530, and on late medieval London texts and readers.  As the fruit of periods of externally funded leave I have published A New Index of Middle English Verse (with A. S. G. Edwards; British Library, 2005), a book on Manuscript and Print in London, c. 1475-1530 (British Library, 2012), and a co-edited Companion to Fifteenth-Century English Poetry (Boydell and Brewer, 2013). I am currently investigating the activities of the chronicler Rober Fabyan, and editing his account of life in London during the reign of Henry VII.  I remain interested in lyrics and am part of a collaborative venture concerned with critical approaches to short forms of Middle English verse.



with A. S. G. Edwards, eds, Companion to Fifteenth-Century English Poetry (Cambridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2013)

Manuscript and Print in London, c. 1475-1530 (London: British Library, 2012)

with Virginia Davis, eds, Recording Medieval Lives: Proceedings of the 2005 Harlaxton Symposium, Harlaxton Medieval Studies, 17 (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2009)

with A. S. G. Edwards, A New Index of Middle English Verse (London: British Library, 2005)

ed., Fifteenth-Century English Dream Visions: An Anthology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)

Selected Articles:

‘Scattered Verse in British Library, Additional MS 18752’, English Manuscript Studies 1100-1700, 16 (2011), 30-47

‘London Books and London Readers, c. 1475-1550’, in Cultural Reformations: Medieval and Renaissance in Literary History, ed. Brian Cummings and James Simpson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 420-37

‘Manuscript and Print: Authors, Books and Readers’, in A Companion to Medieval Poetry, ed. Corinne Saunders (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2010), pp. 538-54

‘London, British Library Add. MS 18752: A Tudor Hybrid Book’, English Manuscript Studies 1100-1700, 15 (2009), 41-64

‘The Early Reception of Alain Chartier's Works in England and Scotland’, in Chartier in Europe, ed. E. Cayley and A. Kinch (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2008), pp. 105-16

‘"Cy ensuent trois chaunceons": Groups and Sequences of Middle English Lyrics’, in Medieval Texts in Context, ed. G. Caie and D. Renevey (Routledge, 2008), pp. 85-95

The Kingis Quair and the Poems of Bodleian Library, MS Arch. Selden. B. 24’, in A Companion to Early Scottish Poetry, ed. Priscilla Bawcutt and Janet Hadley-Williams (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2006), pp. 63-74

‘From Manuscript to Modern Text’, in A Companion to Medieval English Literature and Culture, c. 1350-1500, ed. Peter Brown (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), pp. 107-22

‘Chaucer’s ‘Fortune’ in the 1530s: Some Sixteenth-CenturyRrecycling’, in Studies in Late Medieval and Early Renaissance Texts in Honour of John Scattergood: ‘The Key of All Good Remembrance’, ed. A. Fletcher & A.-M. D’Arcy (Four Courts Press: Dublin, 2005), pp. 53-64

‘Middle English Lyrics and Manuscripts’, in A Companion to the Middle English Lyric, ed. Thomas Duncan (Boydell and Brewer, Woodbridge: 2005), pp. 1-18

‘“Forto Compleyne she had gret desire”: The Grievances Expressed in Two Fifteenth-Century Dream-Visions, in Nation, Court and Culture: New Essays on 15th-century English Poetry, ed. Helen Cooney (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2001), pp. 116-28

‘“Twenty thousand more”: Some Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Responses to The Legend of Good Women’, in Middle English Poetry: Texts and Traditions, ed. A. J. Minnis (Woodbridge: Boydell Press for York Medieval Press, 2001), pp. 279-97

‘Proverbial Chaucer and the Chaucer Canon’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 58 (1996), 37-47

The Treatise of a Galaunt in Manuscript and Print’, The Library, 6-15 (1993), 175-86

See also my Queen Mary Research Publications profile


PhD Supervision

I have supervised PhD theses on later medieval verse and prose, especially Chaucer and post-Chaucerian writing; on medieval manuscript anthologies; on textual production in London; on medieval lives and their documentation and representation.  

I welcome applications from prospective postgraduate students interested in late medieval texts and literary culture.

I have recently supervised the following successful PhD projects:

  • Lucy Lewis, 'British Boethianism, 1380-1436' (2000)
  • Jacqui Johnson, 'Elysabeth ye Quene: Understanding Representations of Elysabeth of York in the Tudor Period, 1485-1603' (2010)
  • Michael Wheare, '“The meane peoples capacite”: Writing Readers in Early Print' (2010)
  • Rob Ellis, '"Verba Vana": Empty Words in Ricardian London' (2012)
  • Jane Williams, 'A Late-Medieval Family and its Archive: The Forsters of London, c.1440-c.1550' (2012)

Public engagement

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