Take 5: Ardis Butterfield

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Take 5 offers a brief introduction to Yale faculty members in a Q&A format. The featured faculty member selects 5 out of 10 questions to answer. Any opinions shared are not necessarily those of YaleNews.

Ardis Butterfield, professor of English, specializes on the works of Chaucer, literatures of France and England from the 13th to 15th centuries, and on medieval music, as well as on theories and histories of language, form, and genre, city writing, and bilingualism and medieval linguistic identities. Her books include “The Familiar Enemy: Chaucer, Language and the Nation in the Hundred Years War” and “Poetry and Music in Medieval France.” She edited “Chaucer and the City,” a collection of essays. Butterfield co-founded The Medieval Song Network, a collaborative, international project to encourage new interdisciplinary research on the medieval lyric. 

What scholarly research project are you working on now?

Actually there are three: an edition of medieval lyrics, a book on lyric form, and a biography of Chaucer. I also recently founded The Medieval Song Network, an international group of scholars and performers interested in medieval song, and am looking to gain new supporters and followers in Yale. Do join!

What important lesson(s) have you learned from your students?

To express my natural enthusiasm for the subject I am teaching, and to enjoy communicating the pleasures of reading, thinking, listening, and talking.

What do you do for fun?

Go apartment-hunting in Paris. 

What would people find surprising about you?

That I am British-Swiss; I was brought up partly in Pakistan and India and went to eight different schools before university.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do — either professionally or personally — that you haven’t yet?

Buy that perfect apartment in Paris!

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Susan Gonzalez: susan.gonzalez@yale.edu,