Christina von Nolcken

von Nolcken
Associate Professor, Emerita
D. Phil., Oxford University, 1976
Teaching at UChicago since 1979
Research Interests: Medieval Literature | History of Ideas | History of the Book | History of the English Language | Literary History


I start the chronology in the Department, with courses on Old and Middle English language and literature, and the history of the English language. I am especially interested in Anglo-Scandinavian relations towards the end of the Anglo-Saxon period, and, in the later period, late fourteenth- and fifteenth-century devotional texts. My research has mainly been on the Wycliffite attempt to bring education, and especially religious education, to the people. My publications include an edition of a handbook for itinerant Wycliffite preachers, and essays on various Wycliffite texts, including a set of sermons in Latin, a movingly personal letter written from prison, and a startling reworking of that early Middle English guide for anchoresses, the Ancrene Riwle. I am currently examining a similarly reworked Apocalypse Commentary. Having recently prepared the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry on Thomas Gascoigne, chaplain to Henry VI and several times Chancellor of Oxford, I also find myself increasingly interested in later pre-Reformation attempts at church reform. I am currently writing on Chaucer’s “Miller’s Tale,” as well as some late nineteenth-century popularizations of the Canterbury Tales.

Select Publications

  • Articles on John Bankin (fl. 1382), Thomas Gascoigne (d. 1458) and John Wells (d. 1388), New Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
  • “John Wyclif,” (8000-word entry) for the Theologische Realenzyklopadie, band. xxxvi ( Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2004), 415-2.
  • "The Recluse and its Readers: Some Observations on a Lollard Interpolated Version of the 'Ancrene Riwle', " in  A Companion to Ancrene Riwle, ed. Yoko Wada (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2003), 175-96.
  • “The Wrath of the Norsemen: The Vikings and their Memory,” online article for Fathom Archive, 2001, now stored at
  • “Egil Skallagrimsson and the Viking Ideal,” online article for Fathom Archive, 2001, now stored at
  • "Lay Literacy, the Democratization of God's Law, and the Lollards," in The Bible as Book: The Manuscript Tradition, ed. John Sharpe and Kimberly Van Kampen (London and New Castle: The British Library and Oak Knoll Press, 1998), 177-95.
  • "Richard Wyche, a Certain Knight, and the Beginning of the End," in Lollardy and the Gentry, ed. Margaret Aston and Colin Richmond (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997), 127-54.
  • "'O, why ne had y lerned for to die?' Lerne for to Dye and the Author's Death in Thomas Hoccleve's Series, in Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell in the Middle Ages, ed. Allen J. Frantzen, Essays in Medieval Studies, 10 (1993), pp. 27-51.
  • "Langland and Lollardy," Yearbook of Langland Studies 2 (1988), 71-102.
  • "An Unremarked Group of Wycliffite Sermons in Latin," Modern Philology 83 (1986), 233-49.
  • The Middle English Translation of the Rosarium Theologie: A Selection. ed. from Cbr., Gonville and Caius MS 354/581 (Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 1979).

Courses Taught

2015-16 courses: Autumn 2015, Chaucer: Canterbury Tales (undergraduate, London program). Spring 2016, Early Medieval Literature in Multicultural Britain (undergraduate).

Graduate: Literature and Piety in Late Middle Ages; Fifteenth-Century Poetry; Medieval Dream Poetry; Politics of Literacy in Late Medieval England.

Cross-Listed Graduate and Undergraduate: History of the English Language; Old English; Old English Poetry; Beowulf; The Anglo-Saxons; Medieval Drama.

Undergraduate: Greek Thought and Literature; Survey of English Literature; Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales; Chaucer, Early Poetry, and Troilus and Criseyde; From the Annals of Wales to Monty Python and the Holy Grail; Middle English Texts; Readings in Old and Middle English Literature; Readings in Middle English Literature.