Elizabeth M. Tyler



Elizabeth Tyler is Professor of Medieval Literature. Her research and teaching focuses on the literary culture of England from the 9th to the 12th century: that is from the time of Alfred the Great to the time of William of Malmesbury and Geoffrey of Monmouth. Situated at the intersection of literary study with intellectual, social and political history, her work stresses the international nature of English literature and draws attention to the key role England plays in the flourishing of European literary culture across the early and high Middle Ages. 



My research into early and high medieval English literature focuses on poetry and history-writing in Latin, English and French. It aims to develop new models for the integral place of England within European literary culture on both sides of the Conquest. These models are multilingual, reflecting the linguistic and social diversity of medieval England, and comparative, working across Flanders, France and the German Empire. Anglo-Saxon England was an important laboratory for the development of written vernaculars; as such it exerted a crucial impact on the development of vernacular literary cultures in Western Europe as a whole. 

In a series of articles, edited collections and monographs, I have been concerned with fictionality (especially the political and social utility of fiction), female literary patronage, social networks, multilingualism, classical reception, history-writing and poetics. I am currently completing a monograph England in Europe: English Queens and the Politics of Fiction, c. 1000-c. 1150 (Toronto) and writing articles on BL Cotton Tiberius B. i and universal history, the Cambridge Songs and the Exeter Book  (in the context of German Imperial literary culture), European social networks and trilingual English medieval literary cultures (with Thomas O’Donnell), and the cross Channel social networks of history-writing in 11th and 12th centuries.


Collaboration is central to my research. With Lars Boje Mortensen and Christian Høgel, I co-lead the Centre for Medieval Literature (CML), a Centre of Excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation. The Centre for Medieval Literature is based jointly at the universities of Southern Denmark and York and works with an international network of scholars. We aim to establish a cross-disciplinary theoretical framework for the study of medieval literature on a European scale. In 2015, we will launch and open-access journal - Interfaces: A Journal of Medieval European Literatures.

With Matthew Townend (York), I co-led AHRC-funded workshop ‘Crossing Conquests: Literary Culture in Eleventh-Century England’. Jocelyn Wogan-Browne (Fordham, NYC) and I are co-editing High Medieval: Literary Cultures in England in the Oxford 21st Century Approaches to Literature series. I am currently developing three new collaborative projects: 1) with Jeroien Deploige (Ghent) and Thomas O’Donnell (Fordham, NYC)) an interdisciplinary project on early and high medieval England, the Low Countries, Northern France, Lotharingia and the Rhineland, 2) with Felicitas Schmieder (FernUniversität, Hagen, Germany), ‘Investing in the Past: Medieval Europe in the Globalized 21st Century’, and 3) with Matthew Townend (York) a social and multilingual history of Anglo-Saxon literature. 


I am interested in supervising research in the study of the literary cultures of England in the Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman periods. Current and past PhD topics supervised include: motherhood in late Anglo-Saxon England, lay male sanctity in 12th-century England, Names for God in Old English Poetry, Friendship in late Anglo-Saxon England, The Body in Late Anglo-Saxon and Early Anglo-Norman Literature, Shadow in Old English and Old Norse Poetry, The Ethics of Warfare in Anglo-Saxon Literature, and The French Literary Culture of St Albans in the 12th and early 13th Centuries.

External activities

Editorial duties


Contact details

Prof. Elizabeth Tyler
Department of English and Related Literature
University of York
Y010 5DD

Tel: 44 1904 323915
Fax: 44 1904 323918