Paul Gaffney

Associate Professor of English

B.A., Western Washington University
M.A.,  University of Virginia
Ph.D., University of Virginia


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  • Introduction to Literary Studies
  • Medieval Literature
  • Renaissance Literature
  • Shakespeare
  • Shakespeare on Film
  • Arthurian Literature through the Centuries
  • Medieval Romance
  • Eighteenth Century Popular Literature
  • The English Language: A Linguistic Introduction
  • Introduction to Linguistics
  • American Languages

Research Interests

  • Medieval popular literature
  • Chaucer in context
  • Shakespeare Arthurian traditions
  • Medieval chronicle
  • Fabliaux
  • Modern medievalism
  • Renaissance textual studies
  • Narratology
  • Orality
  • Linguistics
  • The history of English
  • Uses of literary theory


  • The Uses of the Loathly Lady." The English "Loathly Lady" Tales: Boundaries, Traditions, Motifs. Ed. Elizabeth Passmore. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2008.
  • Entries in St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Gale, 1999.
  • Book reviews for Virginia Quarterly Review, Winter 2000-Winter 2004, including:
  • 76:1 (2000) Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness. Carole G. Silver. 76:2 (2000) In Praise of the Variant: A Critical History of Philology. Bernard Cerquiglini, translated by Betsy Wing.
  • 78:2 (2002) Drama, Play, and Game: English Festive Culture in the Medieval and Early Modern Period. Lawrence M. Clopper.

Recent Presentations

  • “Anyone’s Romance Quest: The Appeal of Medieval Romance.” 46th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 15 May 2011.
  • “Dissecting Tristan: Uses of the Narratological Knife.” International Society for the Study of Narrative Conference. Cleveland, Ohio, 10 April 2010.
  • “Wilderness and Fairy in Sir Orfeo.” Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Annual Conference: Humanity and the Natural World in the Middle Ages and Renaissance,Tempe, Arizona, 13 February 2010.
  • "Making the King More Monstrous in Richard Coeur de Lion." Beholding Violence: A Conference on Medieval and Early Modern Culture, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH, 29 February 2008.
  • "King Orfeo: How a Classical Myth Becomes A Popular Tale." National Meeting of the Popular Culture/American Culture Associations, San Diego, California, 24 March 2005.
  • "Sir Degaré and Composite Romance." Ninth Biennial Conference on Medieval Romance, University College Dublin, 23 April 2004.
  • "Sir Gawain and the Mysteries of Folk Culture." Panel: Primitivism. Thirteenth Annual Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Interdisciplinary Symposium: Superstition. University of Miami, 20 February 2004.
  • "What Really Frees Dame Ragnelle." Loathly Lady Panel. 38th International Congress on Medieval Studies. Western Michigan University, May 2003.
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