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Holly James-Maddocks



Holly is a Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature and Palaeography. She joined the department in 2018 from the University of Birmingham where she held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (2016-2019). Holly was the inaugural New Chaucer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at St Louis University (2015-2016) and, before that, the Society for Renaissance Studies Postdoctoral Fellow (2014-2015). After completing her PhD at York in 2013, Holly catalogued medieval manuscripts at The British Library (2014), and held visiting research fellowships in libraries in the USA (Harvard; Yale). Between 2013 and 2017, she taught undergraduate and graduate courses in English Literature at York, St Louis, and Birmingham Universities.



Holly studies manuscript and early print copies of English literature from the late fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries in order to see what they reveal about their production and use, and thus about literary and cultural history. She specialises in vernacular text illumination, and is especially interested in the intersections between the art historical evidence and the better-known scribal, dialectal, textual, and provenance studies in this area. Her Leverhulme ECF project, "The Illuminators of the Middle English Poetic Tradition", investigated the illuminated manuscript copies of six major works by Chaucer, Hoccleve, Gower, and Lydgate, and identified many of these professional artists as active primarily within the comparatively extensive Latin book trade of the period. Holly continues to analyse data from a survey of some 3,000 extant manuscripts illuminated in England, c. 1380-c. 1520, to facilitate not only a better understanding of some of the social and geographical contexts of the production of Chaucerian literature, but also, more broadly, of book-trade organisation in different contexts across fifteenth-century England. Holly also researches the copy-specific features of the earliest printed books circulating in England, particularly the extent of the continuing opportunities for manuscript craftsmen to work on printed material, including printed books imported from the Continent. For a list of publications, see Holly’s research profile on the York Research Database.

Research Funding

Holly would like to acknowledge the generous support of the following organisations: Arts and Humanities Research Council, Fund for Women Graduates, Paul Mellon Centre for British Art, Society for Renaissance Studies, New Chaucer Society, visiting fellowship awards from the Houghton Library at Harvard and the Beinecke Library at Yale, and The Leverhulme Trust.

Contact details

Dr Holly James-Maddocks
Department of English and Related Literature
University Of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 323023