Stephen Kelly


  • Room 02.003 - 2 University Square

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Late medieval literature and culture Fifteenth century religious and devotional literature and culture Book history and digital textualities Historiographical writing Critical and cultural theory Translation theory Critical digital studies


Research output per year

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Personal profile


English Subject Lead

Stephen's interests span medieval studies, contemporary literary and cultural theory and philosophical hermeneutics, as well as memorialising traditions and historiographical writing.  He has also had a long-standing interest in digital humanities and visual studies (excerpts from work on the artist Susan Hiller appear in Susan Hiller, ed. Ann Gallagher, London: Tate, 2011, the catalogue to a major retrospective at Tate Britain on Hiller's work).

Stephen is a recipient of the Queen's Student Union Education Award for 'Most Inspiring/Motivating' teacher in 2016 and in 2019 he received a Queen's University Teaching Award in the student nominated category.

Research Statement

Stephen read for a PhD at Queen's (1998). He subsequently held a lectureship at the University of Kent at Canterbury, before taking up a post-doctoral research fellowship on the AHRC-funded Imagining History project (2003-2006) at Queen's. He commenced his present position in March 2006. 

Current research

Current projects include:  

  • Co-investogator: Whittington’s Gift: Reconstructing the Lost Common Library of London’s Guildhall - funded by the Leverhulme Trust, 2020-2023. This project will assess the role the Guildhall Library played in the production and propagation of devotional miscellanies in 15th century London. The project will generate a monograph, co-written with Ryan Perry (Kent), and an anthology  ‘Meke Reverence and Devocyon': A Reader in Late Medieval English Religious Writing (Exeter Medieval Texts: Liverpool UP), co-edited by Perry and project PDRAs, which will be the first representative anthology of Middle English devotional texts — many of which are edited for the first time — since Horstmann's Yorkshire Writers (1895-6). 
  • Imagining History in Medieval Britain (Bloomsbury, 2021), an account of the ideological interests and literary strategies of English historiography from Gildas to John Stow.   

Completed projects

Geographies of Orthodoxy: mapping Pseudo-Bonaventuran Lives of Christ, 1350-1550
With Professor John Thompson and Dr Ian Johnson (St. Andrews), Stephen co-directed the AHRC-funded Geographies of Orthodoxy project (2007-2010). The project produced to major essay collections – The pseudo-Bonaventuran lives of Christ: exploring the Middle English tradition (eds. Ian Johnson and Alan Westphall, 2013) and 'Devotional Culture in Late Medieval England and Beyond: Diverse Imaginations of Christ's Life (which Stephen co-edited with Ryan Perry [Kent], 2014) – as well as online resources for the scholarly community, which Stephen designed. [Website currently under revision]


Doctoral students 

Stephen welcomes proposals on any aspect of medieval culture with which his research intersects, particularly historiography, cultural history, medievalism, translation studies, and medieval religious studies.  

He currently co-supervises the following students:

  • Sarah Byrne, ‘The body and blood in urban society: The rise of the barber-surgeons’ guilds in the provincial towns of late medieval Britain, 1350-1600’ (second supervisor with Dr James Davis, HAPP)


Completed PhDs – as primary supervisor

  • 2017 - Craig Wallace, A Fiend in the Furrows:the archaeological and antiquarian imaginary of the British Fiction, Film and Television Ghost Story
  • 2017 - Rachel Reid, 'Past, Present, and Hereafter to Be Written': the Polytemporal Identities of John Dee
  • 2016 - Natalie Calder, Modalities of Belief in the “Long” Fifteenth Century: Re-thinking English Religious Writing, 1370-1509 
  • 2015 - Aisling Reid: God Materialised: Theorising Religious Practice in Late Medieval Italy
  • 2013 - Louise Wasson: Untimely Meditations: female mysticism in medieval culture and modern scholarship
  • 2013 - Eamon Byers: ‘Folk kan synge hit bet than I' - The Medievalism of English Folkmusic, 1750-2013
  • 2013 - Will Liddle: The Virtue of Place in Late Medieval Lynn
  • 2011 - David Falls: Love's Mirror Before Arundel: audiences and early readers of Nicholas Love's Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ (revision published by Routledge)
  • 2011 - Daniel McCann: Possible Selves: Imagined Experience, Narrative Transformation, and Late Medieval English Literature (revision published by University of Wales Press)
  • 2011 - Elizabeth Scarborough: Continental Drift: the reception of European Visionary Writing in Medieval England
  • 2011 - Kathryn Stevenson: 'Of the Holy Londe of Irlande': A Reconsideration of Some Middle English Texts in Late Medieval Ireland
  • 2010 - Stuart McWilliams: Magic and Possibility: medievalism and the idea of the occult (revision published by Bloomsbury)

Completed PhDs – as secondary or co-supervisor

  • 2018 -  Scott Eaton: John Stearne’s Confirmation in context: witchcraft, religion and popular culture in East Anglia, 1645-1648 (second supervisor with Professor Crawford Gribben)
  • 2018 - Padraig Regan: Creative Writing, Poetry - Accessus ad Auctores: Reading and Writing in Anne Carson and Medieval Literary Theory and Baroque: A Commentary on Pearl (second supervisor with Professor Ciaran Carson)
  • 2017 - Laurence Besnard-Scott: Translation Beyond Words: Film Adaptations of Classical Myths as Reverse Ekphrasis (co-supervisor with David Johnston)
  • 2014 - Paul Murphy: A Cultural History of Gesture: England c.1380-1559 (second supervisor)
  • 2011 - Amy Kieran: Orthodoxy, heresy and reform : rethinking devotion in late-medieval England (second supervisor)



  • Exams Liaison Officer, semester 2, 2019-20
  • Head of English (Subject Lead), School of Arts, English and Languages, 2016-18
  • External Examiner for English (UG and PG), University of Huddersfield, 2012-16
  • Director, Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities 2013-14 research group on Cosmpolitanisms, Pre- to Postmodern
  • Convenor, MA in English (Medieval Studies) - 2006-2012
  • Co-investigator, Geographies of Orthodoxy: Mapping English Pseudo-Bonaventuran Lives of Christ - AHRC-funded, 2007-2010
  • Expert commentary: BBC Northern Ireland - "Helen Waddell: Living the Past":
  • Expert commentary: BBC Northern Ireland/ BBC Two/ Waddell Media - "Five Fables":
  • Expert commentary: BBC Radio 4 - "Piers the Plowman Revisited":
  • Expert reviewer, Canadian Research Council
  • Expert reviewer, Trinity Long Room Hub Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND Visiting Research Fellowship Programme



Semester One:

  • Sabbatical leave 

Semester Two:

  • ENG2000 Introduction to Critical and Cultural Theory (convenor)
  • ENG 3178 Digital Textualities and the History of the Book (convenor) 

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Stephen Kelly is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.


Research Output


Kelly, S., Jun 2019, Geoffrey Chaucer in Context. Johnson, I. (ed.). Cambridge University Press, p. 436-444 10 p. (Literature in Context).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  • Open Access
  • 45 Downloads (Pure)


    Kelly, S., Aug 2017, The Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature in Britain. Rouse, R. & Echard, S. (eds.). Wiley-Blackwell

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

  • The Brut Tradition

    Kelly, S., Aug 2017, The Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature in Britain. Rouse, R. & Echard, S. (eds.). Wiley-Blackwell

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

  • 'The North Remembers': The Uses and Abuses of the Middle Ages in Irish Political Culture

    Byers, E., Kelly, S. & Stevenson, K., 28 Sep 2017, The Middle Ages in the Modern World. Bildhauer, B. & Jones, C. (eds.). Oxford University Press, (Proceedings of the British Academy; vol. 209).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


    Trinity Long Room Hub Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND Visiting Research Fellowship Scheme (External organisation)

    Stephen Kelly (Advisor)


    Activity: Membership typesMembership of external research organisation

    Reading Hospitably After Chichele

    Stephen Kelly (Invited speaker)

    29 Jun 2017

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited or keynote talk at national or international conference

    CHASE AHRC consortium - Material Witness: Taste, Contact and Memory

    Stephen Kelly (Participant)

    May 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

    I.B. Tauris (Publisher)

    Stephen Kelly (Peer reviewer)

    Apr 2017 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

    Atlantic Communities II: Translation | Conflict | Belief | Ideology

    Stephen Kelly (Invited speaker)

    20 Oct 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Press / Media

    BBC Northern Ireland / BBC FOUR - Unlocking the Past: Helen Waddell

    Stephen Kelly


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    BBC Northern Ireland/ BBC Two/ Flickerpix Productions - "Five Fables"

    Stephen Kelly


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment


    'Of the holy londe of Irlande': A reconsideration of some Middle English Texts in late medieval Ireland

    Author: Stevenson, K., Oct 2010

    Supervisor: Kelly, S. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    ‘Past, Present, and Hereafter to be Written’: The Polytemporal Identities of John Dee

    Author: Reid, R., Jul 2017

    Supervisor: Kelly, S. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy