Joel Fredell

Manuscript image of Folio 15 recto from The Book of Margery Kempe

MS 62183, Folio 15r. The Book of Margery Kempe, London, British Library


Joel Fredell

My recent research focuses on literary manuscripts in late-medieval England: their production, decoration, circulation, and survival in the hands of antiquarians and collectors. Authors I study from this period include Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, Margery Kempe, William Langland, and John Lydgate; many others writing in Latin, the French of England, and Middle English also constitute critical subjects.


Also, I am currently involved with digital humanities as a teacher and scholar: leading classes in “Digital Publishing” and “History of the Book”; leading a team of students in the creation of an online facsimile and edition of a major work from my period-- The Book of Margery Kempe.


PhD, MA, Indiana University. BA, Hamilton College.


Selected Recent Publications:


Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe: A Manuscript Facsimile and Diplomatic Edition, in collaboration with the British Library. Online edition.

Margery Kempe, Here begynneth a shorte treatyse of contemplacyon taught by our lorde Ihesu cryst,/ or taken out of the boke of Margerie kempe of lynn (digital edition of early print pamphlet by Wynkyn de Worde), in collaboration with Cambridge University Library. Online edition.

 Articles and Chapters:

“John Gower’s Manuscripts in Middle English.” In The Routledge Research Companion to John Gower. Ed. Ana Sàez-Hidalgo, Brian Gastle, and R. F. Yeager. London: Routledge, 2017. 91-96.

“Digital Philology in Little Boxes.” Florilegium 32 (2017 for 2015): 77-98.

“The Thornton Manuscripts and Book Production in York.” In Robert Thornton and His
Books: Essays on the Lincoln and London Thornton Manuscripts. Ed. Susanna Fein and Michael Johnston. York, UK: York Medieval Press, 2014.

“The Pearl-Poet Manuscript in York,” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 36 (2014): 1-36. Joel Fredell, Charles Borchers IV, and Terri Ilgen

“TEI P5 and Special Characters Outside Unicode,” Journal of the Text Encoding Initiative 4 (March 2013),

“Alchemical Lydgate.” Studies in Philology 107 (2010): 429-464.


“The Gower Manuscripts: Some Inconvenient Truths.” Viator 41 (2010): 1-20.


“Design and Authorship in TheBook of Margery Kempe.” Journal of the Early Book Society 12 (2009): 1-34.


“'Go Litel Quayer':Lydgate's Pamphlet Poetry.” Journal of the Early Book Society 9 (2006): 51-74.

“The Lowly Paraf:Transmitting Manuscript Design in the Canterbury Tales.” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 22 (2000): 213-280.


“A Little-Known Manuscript of Latini's Tesoretto.” Journal of the Early Book Society 3 (2000): 202-209.



Select Distinctions and Grants:

Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorship, University of York, York, UK, 2010-2011.


Co-investigator, “Digital Applications in Literary Scholarship, Publishing, and Teaching of Writing,” 2009. Awarded by the State of Louisiana through the Board of Regents Traditional Enhancement Program.


National Endowment for the Humanities 2007 Summer Institute “The Cathedral and Culture: Medieval York.” Project: “Devotional Communities in Late Medieval York.” York, UK, July-August 2007.


Principal investigator, “Civil Rights on the Northshore,” 2007. Developing digital and material archives. Southeastern Louisiana University LEAD grant.


Women's Hospital Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities, Southeastern Louisiana University, 2005-2008.


Research Sabbatical, Southeastern Louisiana University, Fall 2003. Visiting Scholar, Cornell University.


Orr Memorial Fellowship, Southeastern Louisiana University, 2003. "Designing The Book of Margery Kempe": Archival work in England.


Fletcher Jones Foundation Fellowship, Huntington Library, 2003. "Book Design and Authorship in Late Medieval England": Archival work at the Huntington Library.


Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, 2003. "Book Design and Authorship in Late Medieval England": Archival work in England.


Summer Fellowship, Bibliographical Society of America, 2000. "The Roman de la Rose and the Sapiential Tradition in Vernacular Book Design": Archival work in France.


Faculty Research Grant, Southeastern Louisiana University, 1998-99. “The Impact of the Italian Book on Chaucer”: Archival work in Italy.


Summer Stipend, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1998. “Manuscript Design in Early Transmission of the Canterbury Tales”: Archival work in the U.S. and England.


Research Sabbatical, Southeastern Louisiana University, 1997-98. Visiting Scholar, Cornell University.


Fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities Seminar, Cornell University, 1990: “Narration and Synthesis in Medieval Book Illumination.”