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David Wallace

Judith Rodin Professor of English

Fisher-Bennett Hall 315

Office Hours

fall 2015

Tues/Thrus 10:30-11:30

David Wallace is Judith Rodin Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania. He was Chair of English 2001-4 and Interim Chair of Romance Languages, 2005-6; he served as President of the New Chaucer Society from 2004-6 and served on the Program Committee for the 2010 (Siena) meeting. In Spring 2007 he was Visiting Professor, University of Melbourne, and in Spring 2008 Bain-Swiggett Professor of Poetry at Princeton. InĀ Fall 2010 he was Roberta and Stanley Bogen Visiting Professor, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

David is a medievalist who looks forward to the early modern period; he works on English and Italian matters (and is a member of the Center for Italian Studies) with additional interests in French, German, women's writing, romance, "discovery" of the Americas and the history of slavery, and Europe.

David is currently editing a literary history of Europe, 1348-1418, a work of 600,000 words in 82 chapters to be published by Oxford University Press and supported by the Guggenheim Foundation. This is organized not by 'national blocks' (English literature, Spanish literature, etc.) but rather by nine sequences of places, or itineraries. It assumes that the space of 'Europe' becomes intelligible only through dialogue with that which forms its 'outside,' or dialogues with it. There is an interactive website (designed and maintained by DW and Brian Kirk):

David has made a series of radio documentaries for BBC Radio 3 with producer Paul Quinn:

"God's First Englishman" (2003). A program on the local and international cultures of the Venerable Bede. Voice of Bede: Kevin Whately.

"The Miraculous Journey of Margery Kempe" (2005). Retraces the voyage taken by Margery Kempe in 1433 as narrated by Book II of her Book. Voice of Margery Kempe: Prunella Scales.

"Malory's Morte Darthur: A Tale of Two Texts" (2007). Considers the how the discovery of the unique manuscript of the Morte at Winchester in 1934 challenged assumptions founded in Caxton's edition of 1485. Voice of Malory: poet laureate Andrew Motion.

These three documentaries, plus David's readings of Chaucer in Middle English, may be accessed via Pennsound:

David's most recent documentary, on the travels of antiquarian John Leland, was broadcast on Radio 3 in on 26 April 2009 as part of the 500th anniversary/ commiserations on the accession of Henry VIII in 1509. This features site interviews at Glastonbury and Wells, Bury St Edmund's Abbey, Titchfield, York Minster, the BL, St Paul's School and Guy of Warwick's cave with James Carley, James Simpson. Jennifer Summit, Bill Sheils, and Helen Cooper; the part of Leland is played by Jeremy Northam.

In October 2007 David gave the Clarendon Lectures in English at Oxford; these have been developed into book form for OUP as Strong Women: Life, Text, and Territory 1347-1645, published in May 2011:

The four women in question are Dorothea of Montau (1347-1394), Margery Kempe of Lynn (c. 1373-c. 1438), Mary Ward of Yorkshire (1585-1645), and Elizabeth Cary of Drury Lane (c. 1585-1639).

For further information on Mary Ward, and celebrations of the 400th anniversary of her pioneering an apostolate of the streets for women, see

With Jennifer Summit (Stanford) he has co-edited JMEMS 37.3 (Fall 2007), "Medieval/ Renaissance: After Periodization":

David's most recent book is Premodern Places: Calais to Surinam, Chaucer to Aphra Behn:

Recent publications: "Periodizing Women: Mary Ward (1585-1645) and the Premodern Canon," JMEMS 36.2; The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Women's Writing (ed. with Carolyn Dinshaw, 2003), and The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature (ed. 1999, 2002).

In April 2007 he was awarded the Ira Abrams Award for Distinguished Teaching at Penn:


Courses Taught

fall 2015

fall 2014

spring 2014

fall 2013

ENGL 101.001 Geoffrey Chaucer

spring 2013

ENGL 795.402 After Dante

fall 2012

spring 2012

ENGL 025.001 Chaucer
ENGL 525.301 Chaucer

spring 2011

ENGL 715.401 Medieval Romance

fall 2009

ENGL 020.001 Literature Before 1660
ENGL 553.401 Premodern Women

spring 2009

fall 2008

spring 2008

ENGL 025.001 Age of Chaucer

fall 2007

ENGL 222.401 Chivalry and Romance
ENGL 715.401 Romance

fall 2006

fall 2005

ENGL 022.001 Romance

spring 2004

fall 2003

spring 2003

ENGL 725.401 Topics in Chaucer

fall 2002

ENGL 025.001 Chaucer

spring 2002

spring 2000

ENGL 715.401 Women, C. 1350-1650

fall 1999

ENGL 016.302 Topics in Literature
ENGL 025.001 Chaucer

spring 1999

fall 1998

ENGL 310.301 The Honors Program

spring 1998

ENGL 325.301 Topics in Chaucer

fall 1996

ENGL 025.001 Chaucer