Skip to content

Laura Howes



Professor Howes’ area of specialization is Middle English literature, and her current book project focuses on the representation of place and space in Middle English texts.  Trekking the Medieval Landscape uses The Book of Margery KempeMandeville’s TravelsSir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Canterbury Tales and other works to investigate how Middle English authors conceived of and represented the spaces their characters inhabit and traverse, and the places they name. A subsidiary interest in the history of gardens and landscape studies also informs her research, evident in recent articles in The Chaucer Review and Studies in Philology.

Professor Howes regularly teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in Chaucer, medieval literature, and medieval and Renaissance women writers.  Her new focus for English 301, Studies in British Culture to 1660, is “Nature and the Environment in Pre-Modern Britain.”


B.A., Cornell University
M.A., Ph.D., Columbia University


  • Ed., with Marie Borroff, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A Norton Critical Edition (NY: Norton, 2010).
  • Ed., Place, Space, and Landscape in Medieval Narrative.  Tennessee Studies in Literature, vol. 43 (Knoxville: UT Press, 2007).
  • Chaucer’s Gardens and the Language of Convention (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997).

Representative articles

  • "Teaching the Language of Pearl." Approaches to Teaching the Middle English Pearl. Ed. Jane Beal and Mark Bradshaw Busbee. (NY: MLA, 2018), 66-71.
  • “Chaucer’s Forests, Parks, and Groves.”  The Chaucer Review 49.1 (2014):125-33.
  • “Use and Reception” [of Medieval Gardens].  A Cultural History of Gardens: In the Medieval Age.  Vol. 2.  Ed. Michael Leslie.  London: Bloomsbury, 2013.  75-100.
  • “Romancing the City: Margery Kempe in Rome.”  Studies in Philology 111.4 (2014): 680-90.
  • “Inglewood Forest in Two Middle English Romances.”  Neophilologus 97.1 (2013): 185-89.
  • “‘Reducing into English’: Translation as Alchemy in the Prologues and Epilogues of William Caxton.” With Sarah McCollum. Notes and Queries 255.3 (2010): 321-25.
  • “Chaucer’s Criseyde: The Betrayer Betrayed,” Reading Medieval Culture: Essays in Honor of Robert W. Hanning, ed. S.P. Prior and R. Stein (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005), pp. 324-43.
  • “’The Slow Curve of the Footwalker’: Narrative Time and Literary Landscapes in Middle English Poetry.”  Soundings: An Interdiscplinary Journal 83.1 (2000): 165-81;  rpt. inInventing Medieval Landscapes: Senses of Place in Western Europe, ed. John Howe and Michael Wolfe (Gainesville: University Press of Flordida, 2002), pp. 192-207.
  • “Theophany in the ‘Miller’s Tale’” (with Frederick M. Biggs), Medium AEvum LXV (1996), 269-79
  • “Cultured Nature in Chaucer’s Early Dream-Poems,” Medieval View of Nature, ed. Joyce E. Salisbury (Garland Press, 1993), 187-200
  • “On the Birth of Margery Kempe’s Last Child,” Modern Philology 90.2 (November 1992), 220-25

Awards, Honors & Grants

  • Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence in Advising, 2006-07
  • James T. Chappell Scholar-in-the-Schools, 2000-01
  • College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Advising Service Award, 1998-99
  • College of Arts and Sciences Junior Teaching Award, 1993-94
  • John C. Hodges Excellence in Teaching Award, 1991

Contact Information

  • 405 McClung Tower
  • Phone: (865) 974-6930
  • Fax: (865) 974-6926
  • E-mail:

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.