I am currently finishing a monograph on late medieval manuscripts and their treatment from the medieval period to the modern day. ‘Potential Lives: the matter and materials of late medieval manuscripts’ explores the figurative, interpretive and theoretical possibilities of manuscript study, with a particular focus on the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, vernacular romance, bookmaking recipes, The Book of Margery Kempe, The Book of Sir John Mandeville, and Thomas Hoccleve’s Series. Drawing on contemporary theory, this project also looks to position manuscript studies in relation to the fields of media archeology and critical infrastructure studies. I’ve published some of this work in the journal Exemplaria and some has also appeared on the Birkbeck Material Texts Network Blog.

My current research project — ‘Written in Trees’ — examines medieval and early modern horticultural manuals. Artfully combining literary, theoretical and practical discourses, these manuals not only provide useful directions, but also engage with a range of philosophical debates around material substance, physical change and the thresholds and limits of life itself. In so doing, they frequently consider issues that are also important in the twenty-first century: to what extent is it possible to manage and control the environment? In what ways does the environment resist reduction to a raw, inert resource for human use?

I keep a blog and write for MAP Magazine, The Trouble and the Glasgow Review of Books, where I edit an ongoing thread on ecology and ecocriticism.


PhD — Birkbeck, University of London. 2012-16

MPhil — University of Glasgow. 2010-12

MA — University of Glasgow. 2006-10

Tom White

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