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 activity per year

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Personal profile


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).

He is co-investigator, with Dr Ryan Perry (University of Kent) on the Leverhulme Trust-funded Whittington's Gift project (2020-23).

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-investigator: 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). 
  • Men of Common Gude: compilatory culture and pastoral theology in fifteenth century London (co-author, Ryan Perry)  

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. 


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 supervises the following students:

  • Matthew Bradley: '“Trewely the game is wel bigonne”: Ludic Narratives in Late Medieval Literature'
  • Dominic Harkin, 'Flann O’Brien and Scientific Positivism' (second supervisor with Dr Michael Pierse, English)
  • Andrew Hamilton: 'Representing People in Crisis: Late Medieval England and its Deviant Peasantry' (co-supervisor with Professor James Davis, HAPP)
  • Ali Zubaidi, 'The Impact of Labour Legislation in Fourteenth Century England' (second supervisor with Professor 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)



  • External Examiner for English, Trinity College Dublin, 2023-
  • Head of English (Subject Lead), School of Arts, English and Languages, 2019-2022
  • 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


Stephen is presently on Leverhulme-funded research leave, after which he will be on School-support research leave until January 7th, 2024.


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