Ardis Butterfield

Ardis Butterfield's picture
Marie Borroff Professor of English, Professor of French, Professor of Music

Ph.D., M.A., Trinity College, Cambridge
M.A. University of Bristol

Ardis Butterfield specialises in the literatures and music of France and England from the 13th to 15th centuries; continental and insular vernacular manuscripts and the relationships between them; city writing; the medieval lyric; Chaucer and nationhood; bilingualism and medieval linguistic identities; and theories and histories of language, form, and genre. With secondary appointments as professor of French and music, her scholarship distinctively traverses disciplines.

Her books include Poetry and Music in Medieval France (2002), and The Familiar Enemy: Chaucer, Language and the Nation in the Hundred Years War (2009) which won the 2010 Society for French Studies R.H. Gapper Prize and was a Choice Outstanding Academic Title (2010). She has edited two collections of essays: Chaucer and the City (2006) and, with Henry Hope and Pauline Souleau, Performing Medieval Text (2017). Co-founder with Helen Deeming of the Medieval Song Network (2010-14), a collaborative, international project to encourage new interdisciplinary research on the medieval lyric, she currently co-hosts the Yale–based research group Medieval Song Lab, and an annual colloquium on Anglophone Histories which she also co-founded at Yale in 2013. She was elected President of the New Chaucer Society in 2016 – 2018 and, along with many other editorial and advisory roles within international book series, journals, and research grant networks, is co-founder and joint general editor with Christopher Cannon of the new OUP book series, Oxford Studies in Medieval Literature and Culture.

Butterfield held teaching positions at Cambridge and University College London before coming to Yale in 2012 as professor of English. Her visiting appointments include periods at the University of Virginia, the Huntington Library, San Marino and All Souls College, Oxford. She is spending 2018-19 as a visiting fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge and senior research fellow at the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge.

She has three books in progress: a new edition of medieval English lyrics for W.W. Norton & Company; a book on song in the middle ages, Medieval SongWriting; and a biography, Chaucer: A London Life. She is also leading a research team at Yale to develop a new Digital Archive of Medieval Song:

For an interview at the Yale Macmillan Centre, see:

Selected Publications

‘Medieval lyric: a translatable or untranslatable zone?’ in World Poetics, Comparative Poetics: Special Issue of University of Toronto Quarterly, guest editors Jonathan Hart and Ming Xie (in press, 2018)

Review of David Wallace: Europe: A Literary History 1348-1418London Review of Books, 26 April 2018

The Book of the Duchess, Guillaume de Machaut, and the Image of the Archive’, Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess Reopened: Context and Exchange, edited by Jamie Fumo (Boydell & Brewer, 2018), 199-212

‘Poems without form? Maiden in the mor lay revisited’, Readings in Medieval TextualityEssays in Honour of A. C. Spearing, edited by Cristina Maria Cervone and D. Vance Smith (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2016), 169-94

‘Who was Chaucer?’, Diary, London Review of Books, 27 August, 2015

‘Afterwords: Forms of Death’, Response to Special Issue of Exemplaria: New Approaches to Medieval Genre, ed. Shannon Gayk and Ingrid Nelson, Vol. 27 No. 1–2, Spring/Summer 2015, 167–182

“Why Medieval Lyric?”, ELH: Essays from the English Institute 2013Form), 82:2 (2015), 319-343

——- and Helen Deeming, ‘Editing insular song across the disciplines: Worldes blis’, Probable Truth: Editing Medieval Texts from Britain in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Vincent Gillespie and Anne Hudson (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), pp.151-66

‘Fuzziness and Perceptions of Language in the Middle Ages: Part One: Explosive Fuzziness: The Duel’ in Fuzzy Studies. A Symposium on the Consequence of Blur, ed. Jeffrey M. Perl, special issue of Common Knowledge, 18:2 (2012), 255-266; Part Two: Collective Fuzziness: Three Treaties and a Funeral’19:1 (2013), 51-64; and Part Three: Translating Fuzziness: Countertexts’, 19:2 (2013), 446-73

‘Rough Translation: Charles d’Orléans, Lydgate and Hoccleve’ in Rethinking Medieval Translation: Ethics, Politics, Theory, ed. Emma Campbell and Robert Mills (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2012), pp.204-25

‘The construction of textual form: cross-lingual citation in some medieval lyrics’,
in Citation, Intertextuality and Memory in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, edited by Yolanda Plumley, Giuliano Di Bacco and Stefano Jossa (Exeter: Exeter University Press, 2011), 41-57

‘Guerre et paix: l’anglais, le français et « l’anglo-français »’, Journée d’études anglo- normandes, organisée par l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-lettres, Palais de l’Institut, 20 juin 2008: Actes, édités par André Crépin et Jean Leclant, Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-lettres (Paris: De Boccard, 2009), 7-23

‘Lyric’, The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Literature 1100-1500, ed. Larry Scanlon (Cambridge, 2009), 95-109

‘Chaucerian Vernaculars’, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, 31 (2009), 25-51


Undergraduate: Chaucer and the Idea of English Literature, Major English Poets I, Medieval Biography, Chaucer and Medieval London, Medieval Shorts [co-taught with Howard Bloch], The Multicultural Middle Ages.

Graduate: The Medieval Lyric, Lyric History and Theory: Medieval and Modern (co-taught with Langdon Hammer), Geoffrey Chaucer and Francophone Translation, Medieval Translation.