Anna Siebach Larsen


Year Matriculated into Ph.D. Program


Areas of Interest

Middle English literature, Anglo-Norman literature, literature and science, art history, history of the book, material and visual culture


M.S., University of Notre Dame; M.A. in Comparative Studies, BYU; B.A. in comparative literature and French, BYU


My dissertation, "'For in the boke of God is no such matter': visual epistemologies and vernacular reading culture in thirteenth-century England," under the direction of Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, takes an interdisciplinary approach to the exploration of transformations of reading culture and devotional practice during an oft-overlooked period of intense transition and innovation in medieval England. My project traces the epistemological and formal effects of thirteenth-century debates over cognition, vision, and optics within vernacular culture, arguing that the cultures of the universities and the interests and efforts of the laity and the secular clergy were deeply intertwined. The project offers close readings of some of the most popular texts of the period--Ancrene Wisse, the Miroir de Seinte Egylse, the Chasteau d'amour, and the Enfaunces de Jesu Crist--and individual manuscripts, charting the role of visual epistemologies in the formation of specific readers. This project argues for a re-examination of our assumptions about the role and interests of readers during the 13th century, expanding particularly our understanding of the interests of female readers in scientific and philosophical debates and their integration of these discourses into their religious practice. My broad interests include Middle English literature, Anglo-Norman literature, vernacularity, visual and material culture, the history of the book, science and literature, literary theory, and gender studies.

Recent Scholarly Activity

  • "Light, Vision, and Structures of Thought in the Tateshal Miscellany," in Literary Responses to the Fourth Lateran Council (Toronto: PIMS, upcoming)
  • "The Materialization of Knowledge in Thirteenth-Century England: Joan Tateshal, Robert Grosseteste, and the Tateshal Miscellany," in Women Leaders and Intellectuals of the Medieval World (upcoming)
  • "The humanist grammar of sanctity in the early Lives of Thomas More," in Sanctity as Literature in Late Medieval Britain (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015)
  • 2016: "The Matter of Meaning: Cognition, Devotion, and the Vernacular Miscellany in England," Making Early Middle English: An International Conference on English Literature and its Contexts, ca. 1100-1350
  • 2016-2017: Post-doctoral Fellow, Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures, University of Notre Dame
  • 2012-2013: IHR-Mellon Junior Fellowship in the Humanities, Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London

Online Profile