D. Vance Smith

D. Vance Smith
D. Vance Smith

Ph.D. University of Virginia. D. Vance Smith has been a Fulbright Scholar (at Magdalen College, Oxford and King’s College, London), an NEH Fellow at the National Humanities Center, a Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study, and a Guggenheim Fellow. He has finished a study of the medieval literature of dying, Arts of Dying, the third book in a series examining the medieval limit experience. The first, The Book of the Incipit, concerns beginnings in medieval and modern philosophy and literature, with Piers Plowman as the central exhibit. The second book, Arts of Possession, meditates on dwelling in medieval romance and economic theory and practice.

The author of two ethnographies on the South Sudan, he works primarily at the nexus of anthropology and philosophy in medieval literature. He has written articles on Piers Plowman that examine grammatical theory, nationalism, negation, and the figure of Study, as well as essays on Chaucer on tragedy and Middle English literature. His articles also cover topics like textual editing and manuscript transmission; book history; the masculine body in Middle English writing; women’s account books; medieval institutions and literature; medieval literary and philosophical form. He has edited a special issue of New Literary History on medieval cultural studies (with Michael Uebel), and The Legitimacy of the Middle Ages: On the Unwritten History of Theory (with Andrew Cole), and has written a number of prefaces and afterwords for essay collections and journals. Current projects include a study of negation in mysticism from Gregory of Nyssa to Julian Norwich, Love Without Object, an edition of an important Piers Plowman manuscript, and a study of heraldic manuscripts. He also teaches courses on Dante, medieval romance, and the Bible as literature for the Bread Loaf School of English.