Alastair Minnis Appointed the Douglas Tracy Smith Professor
Alastair Minnis, the newly named Douglas Tracy Smith Professor of English, is a scholar of Chaucer and his intellectual milieu, late-medieval literature, medieval literary theory, the medieval study of the Bible and classical literature (including Boethius), and scholasticism and its vernacular intersections.
His research combines literary criticism and the history of ideas, as well as medieval philosophy and theology. He recently published the monograph “Fallible Authors: Chaucer’s Pardoner and Wife of Bath.” His other publications include “Valuing the Vernacular: Authority and Imagination in Middle English Literature,” “Medieval Theory of Authorship: Scholastic Literary Attitudes in the Later Middle Ages,” “Medieval Literary Theory and Criticism” (with A.B. Scott), “Chaucer’s Shorter Poems,” and “Magister Amoris: The ‘Roman de la Rose’ and Vernacular Hermeneutics.”
He has edited or co-edited numerous volumes, including “The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, vol. 2: The Middle Ages,” “Courts and Regions in Medieval Europe,” “Handling Sin: Confession in Late-Medieval Culture” and “Chaucer’s ‘Boece’ and the Medieval Tradition of Boethius.” In addition he has contributed a number of book chapters.
At Yale, where he has served on the faculty since 2006, Minnis teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Chaucer.
Minnis earned his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Queen’s University of Belfast. Prior to his appointment at Yale, he taught in the United Kingdom at Bristol University and the University of York, where he was the director of the Centre for Medieval Studies and head of the Department of English & Related Literature. In 2002, he became the Humanities Distinguished Professor at Ohio State University in Columbus, where he taught until coming to Yale.
Minnis has been an invited lecturer and conference participant throughout the United States and Europe, and in Canada and Japan. He has been a resident research fellow at the Bellagio Center in Italy, a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California-Berkeley, a Stuart Fellow of Princeton University’s Council of the Humanities and a Lily Research Fellow at the National Humanities Center. He delivered Oxford University’s Bateson Lecture in 2005 and the Chaucer Biennial Lecture at the congress of the New Chaucer Society in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2004.
Minnis has been the general editor of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature since its inception in 1986. He has also served as co-general editor of Publications of the John Gower Society. In 1994, he was awarded the John H. Fisher Award for significant contribution to the field of John Gower studies.
The Yale literature professor is a fellow of the Medieval Academy of America and the English Association, among other professional affiliations.