Kathleen Cawsey

Associate Professor


Email: kathy.cawsey@dal.ca
Phone: 902-494-6903
Mailing Address: 
Room 3198, McCain Building, 6135 University Avenue
PO BOX 15000, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Medieval Literature 1350-1500
  • Chaucer
  • Malory
  • Arthurian Literature
  • J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Medievalism
  • Modern Fantasy


  • BA (Wilfrid Laurier)
  • MPhil (Oxford)
  • PhD (University of Toronto)

I am interested in the ways vernacular English writers in the Later Middle Ages thought language worked. We have a lot of philosophy of language in Latin, but we have very little in English. I am working on a book tentatively titled Greynes of Salt: The Image of Language in Medieval English Literature.

My broader research includes most Later Middle English writing, such as Chaucer, Malory, Margery Kempe, the cycle dramas, and medieval romances; as well as modern medievalist fantasy such as J.R.R. Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay.

Selected Publications

  • Twentieth Century Chaucer Criticism: Reading Audiences. Ashgate Press, 2010.
  • Co-ed. with Jason Harris, Transmission and Transformation in the Middle Ages: Texts and Contexts (Four Courts Press, 2007).
  • “When the ‘Event’ Happens: Teaching Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Wife of Bath’s Tale’ in the context of the Dalhousie Dentistry Scandal.” Dissonant Methods: Pedagogy against Disciplines. Ed. Kit Dobson and Ada Jaarsma. (Calgary: University of Alberta Press, 2018).
  • “Could Gollum Be Singing a Sonnet? The Poetic Project of The Lord of the RingsTolkien Studies 14 (2017), 53-69.
  • “The Once and Future Childslayer: Guy Gavriel Kay’s Inversion of Malory’s Morte Darthur.” Arthuriana. 25.2 (2015), 67-73.
  • “When Polemic Trumps Poetry: Buried Medieval Poem(s) in the Protestant Print I Playne Piers.” Renaissance Retrospections: Tudor Views of the Middle Ages. Ed. Sarah Kelen. Kalamazoo, Medieval Institute Publications, 2013. 37-69.
  •  “Disorienting Orientalism: Finding Saracens in Strange Places in Late Medieval English Manuscripts.” Exemplaria 21.4, Winter 2009. 380-398.
  • “An Online Poetry Course (for Carol)” in Teaching Literature and Language Online, Ian Lancashire, ed. (Modern Language Association of America, 2009).
  • “Tutivillus and the ‘Kyrkchaterars’: Strategies of Control in the Middle Ages,” Studies in Philology 102.4 (2005).
  • “‘Alum de glas’ or ‘Alymed glas’? Manuscript Reading in Book III of the House of Fame,” The University of Toronto Quarterly 73.4 (2004).
  • “Merlin’s Magical Writing,” Arthuriana 11:3 (2001).
  • “The Hanged Man: Lancelot and Guinevere in Malory’s Morte Darthur.” British and American StudiesVII (2001).
  • “Shepherds, Regents and Lecherous Widows: The Strategies of Power in Middle English Literature.” The AnaChronist (2000).