Associate Professor

Professor Sisk works on the literature and religious culture of late medieval England.  She is particularly interested in the ways in which literary texts think through controversial issues ranging from religious politics to questions of theology.  Since literature engages matters of religion in ways that are distinct from other types of religious discourse, Professor Sisk’s work considers the interface of literary form and meaning.  Her current research is focused on Piers Plowman, a long and complex visionary poem written in the late fourteenth century by William Langland, a contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer.  She is studying Langland’s exploration of ways of knowing, paying special attention to the roles played by doubt and moral and spiritual discernment.

Professor Sisk is a member of the Modern Language Association, the Medieval Academy of America, the New Chaucer Society, the International Piers Plowman Society, the Hagiography Society, and Former (a medievalist working group focused on literary form and aesthetics).

At UVM she has taught a variety of courses on medieval literature and beyond, from offerings in the freshman TAP program to graduate seminars.  These courses have covered such topics as Piers Plowman, Chaucer, Hagiography and the Cult of Saints, Medieval Dreams and Visions, Malory and the Arthurian Tradition, Survey of British Literature to 1700, and English Language Politics.


“Unauthorized Desire: Audience and Affect in St. Erkenwald and Lydgate’s St. Austin at Compton.”Religion and Literature 46.1 (2014).  [Published in 2015.]
“Chaucer and Hagiographic Authority.”Sanctity as Literature in Late Medieval Britain, ed. Anke Bernau and Eva von Contzen, 116-133.  Manchester University Press (2015). 
“‘We must be tretable’: Law and Affect in Lydgate’s St. Austin at Compton.”  Modern Philology 112 (2014): 76-96.
“Paul’s Rapture and Will’s Vision: The Problem of Imagination in Langland’s Life of Christ.”Chaucer Review 48 (2014): 395-412. 
“Religion, Alchemy, and Nostalgic Idealism in Fragment VIII of the Canterbury Tales.” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 32 (2010): 151-77. 
“Lydgate’s Problematic Commission: A Legend of St. Edmund for Henry VI.” The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 109 (2010): 349-75.
“The Uneasy Orthodoxy of St. Erkenwald.”English Literary History 74 (2007): 89-115.

Awards and Recognition

2014 Lattie F. Coor International Travel Award ($500)
2010 Nominated for Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award (declined nomination)
2010 Lattie F. Coor International Travel Award ($500)
2009 Nominated for Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award (declined nomination)
2006-2007 Yale University Dissertation Fellowship
2003-2004 M.Phil. Fellowship in Medieval Studies, Yale University
2001-2003 Graduate Fellowship, Yale University
2001-2002 Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies, Yale University
2000 Inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of California

Associations and Affiliations

Modern Language Association
Medieval Academy of America
New Chaucer Society
International Piers Plowman Society
Hagiography Society
Former (a medievalist working group focused on literary form and aesthetics)

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Medieval literature and culture, Religion and literature, and history of Christianity


Office Location:

419 Old Mill

Office Hours:

By appointment

Courses Taught

  • Chaucer
  • The Canterbury Tales
  • Master's Thesis Research
  • The Medieval Short Story
  • Piers Plowman
  • British Literature
  • Malory
  • Medieval Dreams and Visions
  • English Language Politics
  • Hagiography & Cult of Saints