Jonathan Hsy

Jonathan Hsy

Associate Professor of English
Room 762
Address: Rome Hall
Phone: 202-994-0943


Jonathan Hsy specializes in late medieval literature and culture, and his research and teaching interests span the fields of translation studies and disability theory. His first book, Trading Tongues: Merchants, Multilingualism, and Medieval Literature (Ohio State University Press, 2013) investigates the work of polyglot urban writers across the late medieval and early Tudor eras. His current book project, Disability and LIfe Writing: Authorship as Advocacy, Then and Now, explores writing by medieval authors who self-identify as blind or deaf. This book not only reveals the complex meanings of deafness and blindness in the distant past, but it also asks how older strategies of autobiography might engage with contemporary activist-oriented disability theory.

Professor Hsy is the founding Co-Director (with Alexa Huang) of the GW Digital Humanities Institute, and he is currently involved in a few online and collaborative scholarly endeavors. He blogs at In The Middle (a group medieval studies website), serves on the Editorial Board of the Online Medieval Disability Glossary, and is collaborating with Candace Barrington on Global Chaucers, an emergent online archive of modern adaptations of Chaucer in non-Anglophone settings.

Current Research

Medieval Literature, Multilingualism, Translation Studies, Chaucer, Sociolinguistics, Disability Theory, Digital Humanities.


Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
B.A., M.A., Stanford University



Trading Tongues: Merchants, Multilingualism, and Medieval Literature (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2013).

Essays and Chapters:

"Blind Advocacy: Blind Readers, Disability Theory, and Accessing John Gower." Accessus: A Journal of Premodern Literature and New Media, Vol. 1, Issue 1 (2013): Article 2.

“Charles d’Orléans and a Disorienting Preposition / La Préposition Désorientée and Charles of Orleans.” Special issue: “dystranslation,” eds. Chris Piuma and David Hadbawnik, kadar koli 8 (Summer 2013): 12-20. 

 “Distemporality: Richard III’s Body and the Car Park.Upstart: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies, “Finding Richard: A Forum - Art, Archeology, Disability, and Temporality” (ed. Will Stockton), 12 August 2013

 “Mobile Language-Networks and Medieval Travel Writing.” Special issue: “Medieval Mobilities,” eds. Laurie Finke, Kathleen Coyne Kelly, and Martin Shichtman, postmedieval: a journal of medieval studies, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Spring 2013): 177-191.

 “City.” In A Handbook of Middle English Studies, ed. Marion Turner. First Edition. Wiley-Blackwell Critical Theory Handbook Series (Chichester, UK: Wiley & Sons, 2013), pp. 315-329.

“Lingua Franca: Overseas Travel and Language Contact in The Book of Margery Kempe.” In The Sea and Medieval English Identity, ed. Sebastian I. Sobecki (Cambridge: Brewer, 2011).

“‘Be more strange and bold’: Kissing Lepers and Female Same-Sex Desire in The Book of Margery Kempe.” Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal (for special forum, “Sex and the Early Modern Woman: Representation, Practice, and Culture”), Vol. 5 (Fall 2010): 189-199.

“‘Oure Occian’: Littoral Language and the Constance Narratives of Chaucer and Boccaccio.” In Europe and Its Others: Essays on Interperception and Identity, eds. Paul Gifford and Tessa Hauswedell. Cultural Identity Studies 18 (Bern: Peter Lang, 2010), pp. 215-224.

“Translation, Suspended: Literary Code-Switching and Poetry of Sea Travel.” In The Medieval Translator/Traduire au Moyen Âge, Vol. 12: Lost in Translation? eds. Denis Renevey and Christiania Whitehead (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2009), pp. 133-145.


“Encountering Disability in the Middle Ages” (with Richard Godden). Analytical Review Essay for New Medieval Literatures 15 (2013), forthcoming in 2014.

“Between Species: Animal-Human Bilingualism and Medieval Texts.” The Medieval Translator 14 (Festschrift in honor of Roger Ellis), eds. Catherine Batt and René Tixier (Brepols, forthcoming).

“Co-Disciplinarity.” Critical Terms in Medievalism Studies, eds. Richard Utz and Elizabeth Emery. Studies in Medievalism (Boydell & Brewer, forthcoming).

"Translation Failure: The TARDIS, Cross-Temporal Language Contact, and Medieval Travel Narrative." Doctor Who and Language, eds. Jason Barr and Camille Mustachio (Scarecrow Press, forthcoming).

“At Home and in the ‘Countour-Hous’: Chaucer’s Polyglot Dwellings.” In The Oxford Handbook to Chaucer, ed. Suzanne Conklin Akbari (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

Book Reviews 

Niayesh, Ladan, ed. A Knight’s Legacy: Mandeville and Mandevillian Lore in Early Modern England. Manchester Literature and Culture (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2011). Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies Vol. 88, No. 2 (April 2013): pp. 559-561.

Coley, David K. The Wheel of Language: Representing Speech in Middle English Poetry, 1377-1422. Medieval Studies (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2012). The Medieval Review13.05.01.

Cooper, Lisa H. Artisans and Narrative Craft in Late Medieval England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011). Studies in the Age of Chaucer Vol. 34 (2012): pp. 387-390.

Ladd, Roger A. Antimercantilism in Late Medieval English Literature. New Middle Ages (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies Vol. 87, No. 1 (January 2012): pp. 177-179.

Sobecki, Sebastian I. The Sea and Medieval English Literature (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2008). Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies Vol. 84, No. 3 (July 2009): pp. 777-779.

Lindeboom, B. W. Venus’ Owne Clerk: Chaucer’s Debt to the Confessio Amantis (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2007). Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Vol. 108, No. 2 (April 2009): pp. 261-263.

Watt, Diane. Amoral Gower: Language, Sex, and Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003). Medium Aevum Vol. 73 (2004): pp. 343-344.


Distinguished Teaching Award, Writing in the Disciplines, 2013.

University Facilitating Fund, George Washington University, 2013-2014.

Columbian College Facilitating Fund, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, George Washington University, 2010-2011.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend, 2010.

Short-Term Research Fellowship, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, Fall 2010.

Related Links

In The Middle

Global Chaucers

Jonathan Hsy on Twitter

Teaching Resources

Geoffrey Chaucer Website

John Gower Website