Ashby Kinch

Ashby Kinch

Associate Dean of the Graduate School / Professor of English

Home Department: English
Office: LA 221 (English) // Lomm 224 (Grad School)
Office Hours:

Fall 2020: TBD: write for Zoom appointments.

For Graduate School appointments in Lommasson 224, call 243-6695 or 243-2572.


Personal Website
Curriculum Vitae

Current Position

Professor of English, Associate Dean of the Graduate School


Spring 2020: LIT 494 (English Capstone): Death and Literature (W 3:30-6:20)

Spring 2020: LIT 520.01 (Graduate Seminar): Chaucer and the Natures of the Human (T 6:30-9:20)

Personal Summary

I am a professor of English literature specializing in the literature of the medieval period, particularly late medieval literature. I also study the history of lyric poetry and work in the field of translation studies, specifically Middle English translations of Latin and French writing in the fifteenth century. My book Imago Mortis: Mediating Images of Death in Late Medieval Culture (Brill, 2013) studies the art and literature of death and dying in the early 15th century.  I have also published recent articles on neuroscience and literature, as well as word-image relations in both medieval literature and in the work of a contemporary American poet, Cole Swensen. Past work includes several articles and an edited collection on the French writer and diplomat Alain Chartier, the most influential European author of the 15th century. I am developing a project comparing the aesthetic structure and social dialectics of the Luttrell Psalter and Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. I am a co-PI on a Keck Foundation grant to develop an integrated curriculum in neuroscience across multiple disciplines. I serve on the Institute of Health and Humanities, and the Humanities Institute at the University of Montana. I have extended my research and thinking on death into public humanities projects, including funding from the Institute of Health and Humanities to develop writing workshops on death, and to produce a modern adaptation of a 15th century multi-media art form known as the "Dance of Death." Since Fall 2017, I have served as Associate Dean of the Graduate School.


Occidental College, A.B. English and Comparative Literary Studies

University of Michigan, PhD, English (Specializations: Middle English Literature and critical theory)

Research Interests

Medieval Literature, particularly Middle English Literature

Late Medieval Art

Thanatology / Death Studies 

History of the English Lyric

Neuroscience and Literature


Selected Publications

“Intervisual Texts, Intertextual Images: Chaucer and the Luttrell Psalter,Visual Approaches to Chaucer (Penn State University Press; 2016), 1-25.

“Affirmative Negation: The Affective Economy of Late Medieval Illustrations of the Office of the Dead,” Anglistik: Special Issue on Text and Illustration (ed. Colin Wilcockson) vol. 25.1 (2014), 15-27.

A Cultural History of Death: 850-1450, ed. Ashby Kinch, vol. 2 of Bloomsbury's 6-volume Cultural History of Death (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2017)

Imago Mortis: The Mediating Image of Death in late Middle English Culture (Leiden Brill, 2013).

“Re-Visioning History in Cole Swensen’s Such Rich Hour,” Contemporary Literature 53 (2012), 143-73. 

“‘Mind Like Wickerwork’: The Neuroplastic Aesthetics of Chaucer’s House of Tidings,” postmedieval 3.3 (2012), 302-14.

“The Broken Mirror of the Book: Cole Swensen’s Such Rich Hour and Les Très Riches Heures de Jean, duc de Berry, Word & Image 27.2 (2011), 175-189.

Chartier in Europe, eds. Emma Cayley and Ashby Kinch (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2008).

“Image, Ideology, and Form: The Middle English Three Dead Kings in its Iconographic Context,” Chaucer Review 43.1 (2008), 49-82.

“De l’ombre de mort en clarté de vie”: The Evolution of Alain Chartier’s Public Voice,” Fifteenth-Century Studies 33 (2008), 151-170. 

“A Prolegomenon to the Stonyhurst Medulla: An Edition of the Letter A,“ Bulletin du Cange (Archivium latinitatis medii aevi) 65 (2007), pp. 45-116 (co-authored with Vince McCarren and Sean Pollack)

“‘To thenke what was in hir wille’: A Female Reading Context for the Findern Anthology,” Neophilologus 91. 3 (July, 2007), 729-44.

“A Naked Roos: Translation and Subjection in the Middle English La Belle Dame Sans MercyJEGP 105.3 (2006), 415-445.

Home Department

Department of English 

Area of Expertise

History of the English Lyric; Late Medieval Art/Macabre Art; Medieval Literature with a Focus on Middle English Literature; Thanatology/Death Studies

Teaching Experience

 Kealing Junior High School Latin Teacher (1992-3)

Composition Instructor, University of Michigan (1994-97)

Great Books Instructor, University of Michigan (1997-2000)

Assistant Professor, Christopher Newport University (2000-03)

International Experience

English Teacher, Japan, 1992

Luce Scholar, Malaysia 1995-6

Research/Archival work in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (Paris) and the British Library (London)

Extensive travel in Europe (England, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, and Switzerland)

Extensive travel in Asia (China, Mongolia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia)



International Courtly Literature Society

New Chaucer Society

International Alain Chartier Society

Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association



 Skiing, hiking, rugby (mostly watching these days), guitar.