Biennial London Chaucer Conference

Science, Magic and Technology

Friday 10 - Saturday 11 July 2015, Senate House

The 2015 Biennial London Chaucer Conference comprises a full two days of current scholarship on the topics of science, magic and technology within and around Chaucer studies. We have keynote papers from two leading scholars of Middle English literature and culture, J. Allan Mitchell and Lisa H. Cooper. The conference reflects an on-going trend in literary studies towards interdisciplinary approaches and an incorporation of non-literary, less canonical writing and aspects of material culture. The themes of science, magic and technology foreground discussions of what late medieval people knew about their world, the sources of that knowledge, and the uses to which that knowledge was put.

The conference has several key threads, covering medieval understandings of the human person, the natural environment, cosmology and metaphysics. Further, a significant group of papers reconsider literary texts as technologies and position them in relation to other practical skills, machines and tools. In this way the conference doesn’t so much look at literature as a reflection of medieval scientific knowledge, but asks about the ways in which literature participates and shapes scientific heuristics. This international conference offers a forum for scholars at all levels to participate in discussions of very current interest within the field of late medieval literary studies. 

The conference is generously supported by the New Chaucer Society and by Boydell & Brewer.

Image: Alexander in a diving bell; Shrewsbury Talbot Book of Romances. Royal 15 E. VI, f. 20v. © The British Library Board. 


  • Standard fee: £65
  • IES students/members concessionary fee: £45


The School of Advanced Study is part of the central University of London. The School takes its responsibility to visitors with special needs very seriously and will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments to its facilities in order to accommodate the needs of such visitors. If you have a particular requirement, please feel free to discuss it confidentially with the organiser in advance of the event taking place.

Enquiries: Events Officer, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU; Email: