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Anna Taylor

Graduate Program Director, Associate Professor of History

Portrait of Anna Taylor on a horse

(413) 545-6791

Herter Hall 614

Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin (2006).

Professor Anna Taylor’s book, Epic Lives and Monasticism in the Middle Ages, 800-1050, published by Cambridge University Press in 2013, is the first book to focus on Latin epic verse saints’ lives in their medieval historical contexts. It examines how these works promoted bonds of friendship and expressed rivalries among writers, monasteries, saints, earthly patrons, teachers, and students in Western Europe in the central Middle Ages. Using philological, codicological, and microhistorical approaches, it reveals new insights into monasticism, patronage, and education. Epic verse lives offer an unprecedented glimpse inside the early medieval classroom, provide a nuanced view of the complicated synthesis of the Christian and Classical heritages, and show the cultural importance and varied functions of poetic composition in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries. Taylor’s earlier publications focused on hagiography, her newer research expands that interest in two directions: the monastic creation of fictional texts (forged and imagined works) composed to support saints’ lives and the role of animals in saintly narrative.

Professor Taylor will serve as the Graduate Program Director in the Department of History beginning in the fall of 2016.

Research Areas

History of medieval Europe
Medieval monastic culture
History of the book
Monsters and animals in the Middle Ages


Epic Lives and Monasticism in the Middle Ages, 800-1050. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 

“Books, Bones, and Bodies: Hilduin of Saint-Denis and the Relics of Saint Dionysius.” The Ends of the Body: Identity and Community in Medieval Culture, ed. Suzanne Conklin Akbari and Jill Ross. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013. Pp. 25-60. 

Lives and Afterlives: Medieval Historians and Hagiography.” Religion Compass 7.1 (2013): 1-14.  

“Just like a Mother Bee: Reading and Writing Vitae Metricae around the Year 1000.” Viator 36 (2005): 119- 148.