D. Vance Smith

Professor of English

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(609) 258-1181


37 McCosh Hall



D. Vance Smith’s forthcoming book Arts of Dying (University of Chicago Press) is the third book in a series examining the medieval limit experience. The first, The Book of the Incipit, concerns beginnings in medieval and modern philosophy and literature, with Piers Plowman as the central exhibit. The second book, Arts of Possession, meditates on dwelling in medieval romance and economic theory and practice.

The author of two ethnographies on the South Sudan, he works primarily at the nexus of anthropology and philosophy in medieval literature. Smith has written articles on Piers Plowman that examine grammatical theory, nationalism, negation, and the figure of Study, as well as essays on Chaucer on tragedy and Middle English literature. His articles also cover topics like textual editing and manuscript transmission; book history; the masculine body in Middle English writing; women’s account books; medieval institutions and literature; medieval literary and philosophical form.

He has edited a special issue of New Literary History on medieval cultural studies (with Michael Uebel), and The Legitimacy of the Middle Ages: On the Unwritten History of Theory (with Andrew Cole), and has written a number of prefaces and afterwords for essay collections and journals. Current projects include a study of negation in mysticism from Gregory of Nyssa to Julian Norwich, Love Without Object, and Modernity’s African Unconscious, which he will be working on during his year as an Old Dominion Research Professor.

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