Corpus Christi College Oxford

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Dr Daniel Sawyer


I read English at Queen Mary, University of London, graduating in 2010. I came to St Hilda’s College, Oxford to study for the MSt in English 650–1550 and remained there to write a DPhil thesis in English, which I completed in 2015. During my postgraduate studies I held the Jeremy Griffiths Studentship in the History of the Book, an Arts and Humanities Research Council doctoral studentship, and the Erika and Kenneth Riley Fellowship at the Huntington Library, California. In-between and around my research I have also worked in medical e-learning and as an Anglican verger. I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the English Faculty and a non-stipendiary Junior Research Fellow at Corpus Christi.

Research Interests

I am interested in quantitative and qualitative codicology, textual criticism, and the history of reading; and interested in ways in which these three subfields can inform each other.

The core of my role at present is the study of the Wycliffite Bible, the first comprehensive English translation of the Bible and the single most successful medieval English text. Research into this important body of writing is hampered by the lack of a good modern edition: despite useful editorial work since, the standard text remains the edition published by Forshall and Madden in 1850. Together with the other members of the team on Oxford’s AHRC-funded ‘Towards a New Edition of the Wycliffite Bible’ project, I am working to prepare partial print and digital editions, and to establish the parameters for a future full edition. I have particular responsibility for editing Song of Songs and Luke 1–10. I also work closely with colleagues in IT Services to prepare the digital part of the project, and you can explore a prototype version of our digital edition at the project website linked below.

I am also currently preparing a monograph which will be the first book-length history of reading for later Middle English verse. In it, I examine poems which were widely circulated in later medieval England and therefore survive in many manuscripts, but have since been largely ignored—poems such as the Prick of Conscience and Speculum Vitae. Applying quantitative and qualitative codicological techniques to the many surviving copies of these texts allows me to move beyond the evidence of readers’ marginalia and establish a new ‘baseline’ picture of the reading practices which were applied to English verse. I show how readers navigated through poems, handled books of poetry, and responded to rhyme. In turn my findings inform our understanding of Middle English poets who are canonical today, such as Chaucer and Langland.

Alongside these projects I have published on unnoticed Middle English poetry, rediscovered manuscript fragments and navigation in medieval reading. A substantial forthcoming article uses evidence from lost medieval manuscripts to discuss the idea of the book in later medieval England. My website, linked below, lists my publications and papers.


I do a small amount of teaching for Corpus, usually offering a class in the Bodleian Library in which second-year students can examine medieval manuscripts containing Middle English literature in person. I also teach for the English Faculty, where I lecture for the general English 1350–1550 paper, and sometimes teach classes for the specialist Course II Material Text paper and the taught postgraduate MSt in English 650–1550. I also lecture at Oxford’s Digital Humanities Summer School.




Wycliffite Bible: Digital Edition

Network Design