Krista A. Murchison researches and teaches late medieval English literature at Leiden University.
My research seeks answers to longstanding questions about medieval books and their readers by using some of the quantitative and digital methods that are typically reserved for the “hard” sciences. These new approaches to traditional questions lie behind several of my grant-funded projects, including my individual Veni project, Righting and Rewriting History: Recovering and Analyzing Manuscript Archives Destroyed During World War II (2020-2024). Funded by the Dutch Research Council, this project is aimed at using digital technology to virtually recreate medieval manuscripts destroyed during World War II, while contributing to an ongoing reconceptualization of the role of the archive in society.
Digital methods also lie behind my Dutch Research Council-funded project, The Open Medieval Editions by Students (TOMES) Anthology (2019-2021). In this project, I am drawing on my experience in codicology, collaborative editorial projects and sustainable XML mark up language (including a TEI-encoded digital edition) to produce an open access anthology of Middle English literature. The anthology, once complete, will be customizable based on readers’ interests and needs. In my previous project, which was funded by an Europeana Research Grant (2018), I used quantitative and digitally enhanced manuscript analysis to shed light on the relationship between French and English literature in medieval England.
My monograph, Manuals for Penitents in Medieval England (Boydell & Brewer; forthcoming 2021) is the first extended exploration of a group of literary works that were among the “bestsellers” of their time, and that inspired some of the best-known literary creations from medieval England—including Chaucer’s Parson’s Tale and Gower’s Confessio Amantis. Approaching this body of writing with the tools of quantitative book history, this monograph argues that manuals for penitents functioned as a form of educational outreach by teaching medieval readers about the language of sin and the topography of the human heart.
More information about these projects, and a list of my peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and other publications can be found on my website. My website also contains information about my recent conference presentations, thesis supervision, and digital teaching projects.
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