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Indiana University Bloomington

Shannon Gayk

Shannon Gayk


Associate Professor

Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2005
M.A., University of Notre Dame, 2004
B.A., Duke University, 1998

I am a scholar of late-medieval religious writing and culture. I also teach courses in poetry and poetics, eco-criticism, and service-learning. My first book, Image, Text, and Religious Reform in Fifteenth Century England (Cambridge, 2010), focused on visual art, vernacular literature, and the rhetorics of religious reform in fifteenth-century England. I am currently completing a second academic book, tentatively titled Instruments of Christ, which explores how medieval people understood the uses, powers, and meanings of a cluster of passion relics. I will be completing this book while a fellow at the National Humanities Center in 2014-2015. I am also in the final stages of writing a small book of essays on modern pilgrimages to medieval holy places.

I also enjoy collaborative work and have co-edited a collection of essays, Form and Reform: Reading Across the Fifteenth Century (Ohio State 2011) with Kathleen Tonry and am currently completing two special issues of journals: a special issue of the JMEMS on “The Sacred Object” with Robyn Malo (forthcoming fall 2014), and a special issue of Exemplaria on “Theorizing Medieval Genre” with Ingrid Nelson (in progress). I am also a member of FORMER, a collaborative group of medievalists whose work is committed to the study of literary form and aesthetics.

Recent Courses

L205: Introduction to Poetry
L240: Representing Poverty (service-learning)
E301: Literary Visions: Sacred and Profane
L305: The Canterbury Tales
L307: Medieval Drama
L306: Early English Dreams and Visions
L383: Literature and the Religious Object in Early England
L471 : EcoLit
L636: Sacred Performances [Course Blog available here:]
L707/L713: Lyric Theory
L758: Word and Image

Research Highlights (click images for more information)


Image, Text, and Religious Reform in Fifteenth Century England Image, Text, and Religious Reform in Fifteenth Century England (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Form and Reform: Reading Across the Fifteenth Century,  edited with Kathleen Tonry (forthcoming, The Ohio State University Press, 2011).


"Early Modern Afterlives of the Arma Christi.” In The Arma Christi in Medieval and Early Modern Culture: Objects, Representation, and Devotional Practice, eds. Lisa H. Cooper and Andrea Denny-Brown, 273-307. Ashgate: 2013.

“Early English Orthodoxies: Reading the English Reformations” (Review Essay). The Journal of English and Germanic Philology (2013): 495-510.

“‘To wondre upon this thyng’: Chaucer’s Prioress’s Tale.Exemplaria 22.2 (2010).

“Lollard Texts, Literary Critics, and the Meaningfulness of Form.” In Lollard Controversies, eds. Mishtooni Bose and J. Patrick Hornbeck(Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming in 2011).

“‘Ete this book’: Literary Consumption and Poetic Invention in Capgrave’s Life of St. Katherine,” in Form and Reform (Columbus: Ohio State UP, forthcoming 2011).

“Teaching Chaucer’s Legacy,” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching 15:1 (2008): 91-104.

“‘Among psalms to fynde a cleer sentence’: John Lydgate, Eleanor Hull, and the Art of Vernacular Exegesis,” New Medieval Literatures 10 (2008): 165-192.

“Images of Pity: The Regulatory Aesthetics of John Lydgate’s Religious Poetry,” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 28 (2006): 175-203.

“‘As Plouзmen han preued’: The Alliterative Work of a Set of Lollard Sermons” Yearbook of Langland Studies 20 (2006): 43-65.

Recent Talks:

“‘As Plou?men han preued’: The Alliterative Work of a Set of Lollard Sermons” Yearbook of Langland Studies 20 (2006): 43-65.

“Langland, Lollards, and Reform,” Invited panelist for session in honor of Larry Clopper. 45th International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, MI, May 2010.

“Lyrical Pain: Seeing, Reading, Feeling the Arma Christi,” Harvard Medieval Colloquium, March 2010.

“Lyric Materialities,” MLA Annual Convention, Philadelphia, PA, December 2009.

“Pricking the Conscience with Image and Word,” Patristic, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies Conference, Villanova University, October 2009.