HUMS 200, Medieval Songlines

Meeting Time: 
MW 1pm-2:15pm

Course Description:

Introduction to medieval song in England via modern poetic theory, material culture, affect theory, and sound studies. Song is studied through foregrounding music as well as words, words as well as music.

Led By:

Professor Ardis Butterfield

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), and some 60 articles and essays. 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 general co-editor of the monograph 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 spent 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: