Lisa H. Cooper
- Associate Professor
- 7135 Helen C. White Hall
- (608) 263-3080
- E-mail Lisa H. Cooper
- Late medieval literature, material culture, literary theory
Degrees and Institutions
Ph.D., English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
B.A., English and Art History, Amherst College
Selected Recent Publications
- Artisans and Narrative Craft in Late Medieval England. Cambridge University Press, 2011.
- Ed., with Andrea Denny-Brown. Lydgate Matters: Poetry and Material Culture in the Fifteenth Century. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
- “‘His guttys wer out shake’: Illness and Indigence in Lydgate’s ‘Letter to Gloucester’ and Fabula duorum mercatorum” Studies in the Age of Chaucer (2008): 303-34.
- “Making Space for History: Galbert of Bruges and the Murder of Charles the Good,” in Place, Space, and Landscape in Medieval Narrative, ed. Laura L. Howes (University of Tennessee Press, 2008), pp. 1-36.
- “The Poetics of Practicality,” in 21st-Century Approaches to Literature: Middle English, ed. Paul Strohm (Oxford, 2008), pp. 501-14.
- “Bed, Boat, and Beyond: Fictional Furnishing in La Queste del Saint Graal,” Arthuriana 15.3 (2005): 26-50.
Medieval literature, especially twelfth-to-fifteenth-century English and French romance; the poetry of Chaucer, his contemporaries, and successors; English cycle drama; Latin and vernacular historiography; English and European travel narrative; medieval material culture (especially the intertwined history of labor, technology, and commerce); the formation of urban identity; lexicography; and the history of the book.
My first book (Artisans and Narrative Craft, Cambridge 2011) examines images of artisanal practice across a wide range of medieval genres. I am starting a second book on the relationship of medieval fictional narrative and didactic literature in the later Middle Ages (tentatively entitled The Poetics of Practicality), and I am also co-editing a volume of essays entitled Arma Christi: Objects, Representation, and Devotional Practice in the Middle Ages.
At UW-Madison I teach “British Literature to 1750” (the infamous English 215), as well as classes on Chaucer and his inheritors, medieval drama, medieval romance, and medieval travel narrative. Topics for planned future courses include medieval historiography and a mixed-genre class entitled “How-to-Texts of the Middle Ages: From Praying to Playing.”
Cambridge University Press
Lisa H. Cooper offers new insight into the relationship of material practice and literary production in the Middle Ages by exploring the representation of craft labor in England from c.1000-1483. She examines genres as diverse as the school-text, comic poem, spiritual allegory, and mirror for princes, and works by authors both well-known (Chaucer, Lydgate, Caxton) and far less so.
This collection re-evaluates the work of fifteenth-century poet John Lydgate in light of medieval material culture. Top scholars in the field unite here with critical newcomers to offer fresh perspectives on the function of poetry on the cusp of the modern age, and in particular on the way that poetry speaks to the heightened relevance of material goods and possessions to the formation of late medieval identity and literary taste.