Carnegie Mellon University

Peggy Knapp

Peggy Knapp

Professor Emerita of English

Department of English, Carnegie Mellon University, Baker Hall 259, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890


I am especially interested in what can be discovered about imaginative and argumentative texts from medieval and early modern England through the use of literary and aesthetic theory. I founded and for many years edited an annual book series called Assays: Critical Approaches to Medieval and Renaissance Texts, an international forum for the discussion of those questions. My book-length studies are: The Style of John Wyclif's English Sermons (Mouton, 1977), Chaucer and the Social Contest (Routledge, 1990), Time-Bound Words: Semantic and Social Economies from Chaucer's England to Shakespeare's (St Martin's Press, 2000), and Chaucerian Aesthetics (Palgrave, 2008). I have also written about Shakespeare, Jonson, Wycherley, and many contemporary authors, critics, and filmmakers. I am currently working on Medieval Romance: The Aesthetics of Possibility with James F. Knapp.


  • Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh 
  • MS, University of Wisconsin
  • BS, University of Wisconsin

Selected Publications

"Chaucer for Fun and Profit," in Teaching Chaucer in the University,  for the series Teaching New English, ed. Gail Ashton and Louise Sylvester (Palgrave, 2007), 17-29.

"Ian McEwan's Saturday and the Aesthetics of Prose," Novel: A Forum on Fiction Fall, 2007), 121-43.

"Barry Unsworth's Sacred Hunger: History and Utopia," Clio 38 (2009), 319-37.

"Beowulf and the Strange Necessity of Beauty" in The Aesthetics of Old English Poetry, ed. John M. Hill (Toronto UP, 2010).

"Found in Translation," co-authored with James F. Knapp, The Medieval Translator, Brepols' English Language Series, 2010.  

Curriculum Vitae