Rebecca A. Davis

Associate Professor, English
School of Humanities

Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2006, English, Medieval Literature


University of California, Irvine
350 Humanities Instructional Building
Mail Code: 2650
Irvine, CA 92697

picture of Rebecca A. Davis

Old and Middle English literature; medieval Latin; Piers Plowman; medieval religious culture; women’s writing; medieval philosophy; animals in literature; new formalism
URL Medieval Devysings (English Department research cluster)
Hellman Fellowship, UCI (2014 Fellow)
Professor of the Year, UCI (campus-wide teaching award, 2013)
Dean’s Honoree, Humanities Teaching Award, UCI (2013)
My research focuses on Middle English literature. I've recently completed a book titled Piers Plowman and the Books of Nature (OUP, 2016), which examines the representation of creativity, nature, and ethics in William Langland’s Middle English poem. My ongoing research interests include representations of thought and interiority in medieval allegory, drama, and dream vision; form, especially the mechanics of motion and plastic or porous forms; the phenomenology of fiction; representations of body and soul; and medieval notions of freedom, vulnerability, and liberality. Since 2013 I've served as co-editor (with Emily Steiner, Penn) of the Yearbook of Langland Studies.

I regularly teach courses on Chaucer, the Arthurian tradition, medieval visions, medieval women’s writing, vernacular theology, surveys of medieval English literature from Beowulf to Malory, and animals in literature. In 2015-16 I'll be teaching an introduction to poetry and courses on Anglo-Saxon language and literature and medieval psychologies.
Publications Piers Plowman and the Books of Nature (Oxford University Press, 2016)
  "Childish Things: Charity and the Liberal Arts," postmedieval 6.4 (2015): 457-66.
  "Fugitive Poetics in Chaucer's House of Fame," Studies in the Age of Chaucer 37 (2015): 101-32.
  “‘Save man allone’: Human Exceptionality in Piers Plowman and the Exemplarist Tradition,” Medieval Latin and Middle English Literature: Essays in Honour of Jill Mann. Ed. Chris Cannon and Maura Nolan. Cambridge, UK: Boydell and Brewer, 2011. 41-64.
  “‘Fullynge’ Nature: Spiritual Charity and the Logic of Conversion in Piers Plowman,” Yearbook of Langland Studies 19 (2006): 59-79.
  “More Evidence for Intertextuality and Humorous Intent in The Weddynge of Syr Gawen and Dame Ragnell,” Chaucer Review 35:4 (2001): 430-39.
New Chaucer Society
International Piers Plowman Society
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Last updated 03/10/2017