About me

I teach in the Department of English at Loyola University Chicago, where my work centers on poetics, literary language, and textual tradition. I am also interested in the long histories of thinking about these topics.

At Loyola I regularly teach an introduction to literary reading, an introduction to poetry, a first-year interdisciplinary humanities survey (antiquity and Middle Ages), and upper-division courses in medieval English and European literature. My graduate teaching has included seminars on Piers Plowman, the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, Old English language and literature, and the medieval and early modern reception of Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy. I also convene an informal weekly reading group in medieval philology. In summer 2021 we are reading Beowulf.

I am currently engaged in two multiyear projects:

  1. a digital documentary edition of the text of Piers Plowman in New Haven, Beinecke Library, Takamiya MS 23. This is a collaboration with James Eric Ensley and Paul A. Broyles and intended for the Piers Plowman Electronic Archive.
  2. an on-line repository of medieval manuscript materials held in smaller institutional collections in the American Midwest. This is a collaboration with Sarah Noonan, Elizabeth Hebbard, and Michelle Dalmau and funded by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

Other current work falls into three areas:

  1. the language, form, and textual transmission of English alliterative verse, especially Piers Plowman and affiliated works. My first book, Reconstructing Alliterative Verse: The Pursuit of a Medieval Meter (Cambridge, 2017), sought to describe stages of the historical development of this verse form, recognize the directions in which it was developing at the moment it died out, and identify the historical sources of modern understandings of it. The book asks what this verse is and how it came to be called “alliterative”. Subsequent publications in this area include articles on The Lay Folks’ Catechism, The ABC of Aristotle, and “The intricacies of counting to four in Old English verse”.

  2. the medieval English translations of Boethius’s Consolatio philosophiae. I have written on this topic for the medieval volume of the Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature (2016), and completed a study of the sources of George Colvile’s 1556 translation of Boethius’s text. Studies of the text and sources of John Walton’s 1410 verse translation of the Consolatio will follow, but not soon.

  3. medieval literary education, or the disciplines of grammar and rhetoric. I surveyed the history of these disciplines for Wiley-Blackwell’s Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature in Britain (2017). My research in this area began with a study of medieval English treatises on letter-writing and the meanings they assign to Latin prose rhythm. An essay on “ecologies of Latin poetics” is in preparation for a global history of post-classical Latin literature.

I regularly review new books in these areas; my reviews and review essays have appeared in the journals Anglia, Arthuriana, The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, The Medieval Review, Medium Ævum, Speculum, and The Yearbook of Langland Studies.

Details on published works are in my current cv. This also supplies links where available.

An older webpage remains over at iancornelius.com. This site is a sandbox in which I teach myself web development in GitHub Pages, building from templates by Michael Rose and Stuart Geiger.