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BA (Victoria), BA Hons (Waikato), MA Hons (Waikato), PhD (Sydney) Web
Tel+64 3 479 4850
Office 1N6
First Floor
Arts Building
Albany Street

Mail English and Linguistics
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand



Medieval Literature, Chaucer, Calligraphy, Palaeography and Codicology.


  • ENGL 254 Magic and Treachery in Medieval Literatur
  • ENGL 354 Monsters and Monstrosity in Medieval Literature
  • ENGL 454 Medieval Misogyny: Subverting the Antifeminist Tradition


I am willing to supervise students in the areas of Medieval literature, Medievalism, and manuscript analysis.

Current research

The Good Scribe

This book comprises experiences and incidents that have occurred during my career as a medievalist. They focus on some problems I've researched and usually not resolved, but all have brought to the surface another body of knowledge that I believe is extremely useful in the repertoire of a medievalist. My own background lies in calligraphy, but I'm not referring only to calligraphy as a valuable piece of knowledge, I mean to stretch the concept further to suggest that knowledge of practical book arts is incredibly important for a medievalist to have some knowledge of. This includes calligraphy, but also book binding, codicology, palaeography, parchment making, ink and paint making, painting and illustration, design, gilding, among other activities. All of these combine to offer a package of practical skills that support the theoretical knowledge of the medievalist, whether a literary specialist or historian, or some other discipline.

Fabricating the Life of Chaucer (Wiley/Blackwell)

The proposal for this biography is to examine those moments and episodes of Geoffrey Chaucer's life that have excited so much interest from his biographers over the centuries. The intention is to set these moments alongside the evidence, to reveal not only what was actually happening in Chaucer's life, but also to see this through the lens of subsequent biographers, to show what these moments meant at different times to different writers.

This book is, in one sense, another biography of Geoffrey Chaucer, but in another sense, is much more of an investigation into how Geoffrey Chaucer's life has been fabricated to reflect the needs of writers and readers across the generations, creating a literary tradition that spans 620 years.

Making the Medieval Book

A collaborative project with the Otago Art Society, The Dunedin Public Library, Hocken Library, and Otago University Library. The project is a series of bookbinding and book making workshops, culminating in a book making competition. There will be an exhibition of book arts, which will culminate in a specially crafted hand-made book, with contribution from Otago artists, which reflects Dunedin life.

Deadly Words: Witches, Jews, and Muslims in the First Era of Fake News This is a thrilling and timely project, led by Associate Professor Hannah Johnston from the University of Pittsburgh. Hannah is funded by a Fulbright Fellowship to come to New Zealand where we will collaborate on this project.
"Ours is an age of dangerous stories, old and new: Deadly Words is motivated by the conviction that as scholars we have an obligation to explain the power and repercussions of such narratives so that as citizens we can work to change the script."

In this project we are looking at how modern perceptions of medieval European culture has been misused and misinterpreted today, drawing on examples from the 2019 Christchurch mosque shooting and the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. Literature and Nationalism: the Mythologising of Chaucer and Cervantes
In collaboration with Dr Roberto Suazo Gomez, this project exposes the contested relationship between literature and nationalism of two iconic writers whose literary works have faced processes of transformation into national myths: the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer and the Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes.
Both Chaucer and Cervantes have been hailed as founding fathers of literature, whose works express the very essence and spirit of their respective languages and nations. However, contrary to this fantasy of purity supporting the emergence of modern national identities, both Chaucer and Cervantes responded to multilingual and multicultural contexts.

The 1807 Chaucer

A few years ago I identified an edition of The Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, published in 1807, that seems to have gone unnoticed by scholars. At best, early scholars of Chaucer seem to have thought it was a reprint of Bell's 1783 edition. In fact, it is a new edition, and my research has focused on identifying exactly how it is different from previous editions. I'm currently writing a monograph that identifies and explains these features of the 1807 Chaucer.


Marshall, S. (2022, September). Geoffrey Chaucer in New Zealand. Classics Programme Research Seminar Series, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. [Department Seminar].

Marshall, S. (2022, August). The good scribe: Lessons from the quill. University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. [Inaugural Professorial Lecture].

Lamb, L., & Marshall, S. C. (2019). Lollard literature and the Anonymous Group. Literature & Aesthetics, 29(2), 44-66.

Marshall, S. (2019, November). Inventing the life of Chaucer. Verbal presentation at the University of Otago Centre for the Book Symposium: Biography, Autobiography and Memoirs, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Marshall, S. C. (2019). Middle English Chaucer in Dryden's Fables. Notes & Queries, 66(1), 90-91. doi: 10.1093/notesj/gjy202

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