Podcast: The Medieval Imagination, or, the Fresh Blood of the Deep Past
Nicholas Watson is a professor of English at Harvard University whose principal field is medieval studies. His general scholarly interests are in literary and intellectual history, medieval theology, mystical and visionary writing, and the development of vernacular languages.
British by birth, Watson moved to Canada in the mid-1980s and studied and taught for more than fifteen years at several universities there, including the University of Western Ontario. His early studies—which resulted in a monograph, Richard Rolle and the Invention of Authority (Cambridge University Press, 1991), and a scholarly translation, Anchoritic Spirituality: Ancrene Wisse and Associated Works (Paulist Press, 1991)—won him the John Charles Polanyi Prize, a major Canadian award for young scholars. His subsequent work, including a new edition of The Writings of Julian of Norwich (Penn State University Press, 2007), has been influential in the rising field of medieval vernacular studies, particularly in its deployment of "vernacular theology," which has been the topic of a number of books, articles, and conferences. Watson studied at the University of Cambridge and Oxford University and earned his PhD at the University of Toronto.