Jonathan Hsy

Jonathan Hsy
Associate Professor of English
Phillips Hall, Room 624B
[email protected]

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), investigated 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-identified as blind or deaf. This approach 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 involved in many online and collaborative scholarly endeavors. He blogs at In The Middle (a group medieval studies website), serves on the Editorial Board of the Digital 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. He is currently a member of the Steering Committee of the BABEL Working Group, as well as the Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession for the Modern Language Association of America.

Current Research

Medieval Literature, Multilingualism, Translation Studies, Chaucer, Gower, Medievalism Studies, Adaptation Studies, 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). Awarded John Hurt Fisher Award from the International John Gower Society.

Essays and Chapters:

“Remediated Verse: Chaucer’s Tale of Melibee and Patience Agbabi’s ‘Unfinished Business’” (with Candace Barrington). Special Issue: “Contemporary Poetics and the Medieval Muse,” eds. David Hadbawnik and Sean Reynolds, postmedieval Vol. 6, No. 2 (Summer 2015): 136-145.

“Disability.” Cambridge Companion to the Body in Literature, eds. David Hillman and Ulrika Maude (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 24-40.

“Analytical Survey: Encountering Disability in the Middle Ages” (with Richard H. Godden). New Medieval Literatures, Vol. 15 (for 2013), eds. Laura Ashe, David Lawton, and Wendy Scase (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2015), pp. 313-339.

“Global Chaucers” (with Candace Barrington). Medieval Afterlives in Contemporary Culture, ed. Gail Ashton (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2015), pp. 147-156.

“Co-disciplinarity.” Medievalism: Key Critical Terms, eds. Elizabeth Emery and Richard Utz. Studies in Medievalism (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2014), pp. 43-51.

“Translation Failure: The TARDIS, Cross-Temporal Language Contact, and Medieval Travel Narrative.” The Language of Doctor Who: From Shakespeare to Alien Tongues, eds. Jason Barr and Camille D.G. Mustachio (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), pp. 109-123.

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.


“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).

“London.” Encyclopedia of Medieval British Literature, eds. Siân Echard and Robert Rouse (Wiley-Blackwell, 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).

Reflections, Reports, Creative Works:

“Watery Metaphor.” In Oceanic New York, ed. Steve Mentz (Brooklyn, NY: punctum books, 2015), pp. 177-185.

Global Chaucers: Reflections on Collaboration and Digital Futures” (with Candace Barrington). Accessus: A Journal of Premodern Literature and New Media, Vol. 2: Issue 2 (2015): Article 3.

The Poem That Should Not Exist” [Shakespeare’s Sonnet 87 remixed]. “Out of Sequence: The Sonnets Remixed,” ed. D. Gilson. Upstart: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies (Clemson University), 11 August 2014.

“Comment from the field: Composing Disability: Diagnosis, Interrupted, George Washington University.” Special Issue: Part 2 of “Cripistemologies,” eds. Merri Lisa Johnson and Robert McRuer. Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 8.3 (2014): 355-360.

“Voice Change/Language Change” (with Chris Piuma). Burn After Reading [Vol. 1: Miniature Manifestos for a Post/medieval Studies; Vol 2: The Future We Want: A Collaboration], eds. Jeffrey Cohen, Eileen Joy, and Myra Seaman (Print: Brooklyn, NY: punctum books/Washington, DC: Oliphaunt Books, April 2014), pp. 177-188.

Book Reviews:

Van Dijk, Conrad. John Gower and the Limits of the Law (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2013). Modern Language Review 110.3 (July 2015): 811-812.

Murrin, Michael. Trade and Romance (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013). Arthuriana 25, 1 (Spring 2015): 175-176.

Johnson, Eleanor. Practicing Literary Theory in the Middle Ages: Ethics and the Mixed Form in Chaucer, Gower, Usk, and Hoccleve (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013). The Medieval Review 2014.04.09: 

Staley, Lynn. The Island Garden: England’s Language of Nation from Gildas to Marvell (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2012). Yearbook of Langland Studies, Vol. 27 (2013): 126-131.

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 Review 13.05.01: 

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.


John Hurt Fisher Award (for significant contribution to John Gower studies), International John Gower Society, 2015.

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

Distinguished Teaching Award, Writing in the Disciplines, George Washington University, 2013.

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

Jonathan Hsy on Academia

Teaching Resources:

Geoffrey Chaucer website (archived in 2007)

John Gower website (archived in 2007)