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Joyce Coleman

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Joyce Coleman

Joyce Coleman

Rudolph C. Bambas Professor of Medieval English Literature & Culture
Director, Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies

B.A., Barnard College, 1971
M.A., University of Texas at Austin, 1979
Ph.D., University of Edinburgh, 1993


Prof. Coleman's interest in medieval literary reception, performance, and patronage was fired by the unexpected convergence of a B.A. in Medieval Studies and an M.A. in Anthropology / Folklore. She pursued this interest at Ph.D. level, publishing her dissertation in 1996 as Public Reading and the Reading Public in Late Medieval England and France. Articles exploring many aspects of medieval English and French literary culture have appeared in anthologies and in journals such as SpeculumStudies in the Age of ChaucerPhilological QuarterlyArthurian LiteratureCahiers de Littérature Orale, and the British Library Journal.

Her current interest is in the social and cultural values encoded within manuscript illuminations of authors and readers. She has published a number of articles on this topic, and co-edited an interdisciplinary anthology, The Social Life of Illumination: Manuscripts, Images, and Communities in the Late Middle Ages, with Kathryn A. Smith (art history) and Mark Cruse (medieval French literature). Work on this book and on an in-progress monograph, titled The Iconography of the Book in Late Medieval Secular Illumination, has been supported by grants from the Huntington Library and the American Philosophical Society, and by a sabbatical leave spent as a visiting fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge University.

Prof. Coleman enjoys teaching classes on medieval literature as well as on modern uses of medieval material, such as the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Click here and here to see two short films that she and a class of grad students made of a scene from Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde.

Since 2013 Prof. Coleman has been the director of OU's Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies (CMRS). The CMRS regularly presents the Medieval Fair / CMRS Free Lecture Series of monthly talks addressed to a general audience. Other notable events sponsored by the CMRS include: a successful proposal to host an exhibit on Shakespeare's First Folio (January 2016); organizing the events for that exhibit; a Global Shakespeare Festival (2016-17), with three events each semester; a Science of Parchment Symposium (March 2017); a Visual Culture and the Early Book Symposium (March 2018); and an annual Shakespeare’s Birthday Party on or near April 23. In fall 2017 the CMRS launched MRS 3023, "Exploring Medieval & Renaissance Studies," which provides an overview of the history, literature, art, and music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, including hands-on work with medieval manuscripts and early printed books. A unique feature of this course is that it is by a series of OU faculty lecturing in their area of expertise, coordinated by an instructor of record who is present for the entire semester.

Office: Cate 2, 325

Research and Teaching Interests:
Medieval literary reception, performance, and patronage; "the iconography of the book" in medieval manuscripts.

The Social Life of Illumination: Manuscripts, Images, and Communities in the Late Middle Ages (co-editor) (Brepols, 2013)

Public Reading and the Reading Public in Late Medieval England and France (Cambridge, 1996; paperback edition, 2005)

Click here for Prof. Coleman's curriculum vitae. Click here to read a biography of Frieda Derdeyn Bambas and her husband Rudolph, in whose honor she set up the professorship that Prof. Coleman holds.