Joanna Murdoch

I'm a doctoral candidate in late medieval literature at Duke University's English Department. I study the high-stakes reading practices surrounding devotional poems copied in fifteenth-century manuscripts. These poems and their surviving manuscripts are often overlooked in long histories of "the lyric," but I argue that they have much to teach us about the conceptual and expressive possibilities available to medieval poets, readers, and book producers long before "lyric" existed as a category in English poetics. I'm also very curious about the thinking behind anthologies of devotional verse, medieval and beyond, and the relative literary value they accumulate based on perceptions of their usefulness or beauty.

So far my teaching has focused on academic and creative writing, but I bring in medieval and early modern materials whenever possible—it's amazing how urgently and profoundly they can speak to us today. It has been a pleasure exploring some of these urgencies with the Religions and Public Life branch of the Kenan Institute for Ethics, as well as Duke's Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. 

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