About

As a medievalist who studies rhetorical and book history, my work traces the public life of writing within material environments. During the Middle Ages, students and teachers worked from common books – often containing the Trojan texts of Virgil and Ovid – inscribed with Latin and vernacular marginalia that had been accumulating over time. The schoolbooks that survive from this era are so excessively overrun with glosses that it is often difficult to distinguish the texts from their commentaries. My work examines this sharing of textual space, which reflects an emphasis on collaborative and multilingual constructions of knowledge.

My research and teaching are attempts to apply the spirit of open-sourcing – the free sharing of computing source code – to the collection and dissemination of knowledge produced within the academy. The massive proliferation of social networks like Twitter and Facebook have demonstrated the power that digital compilations can wield, seemingly with little help from credentialed experts in higher education. Rather than turn to university-trained specialists for reliable information, the public is increasingly investing in the collective intelligence of the crowd, which digital databases such as Wikipedia are harnessing outside of the classroom with success never witnessed before. Yet, the same core principles of open access, free use, and collaborative generosity that inform these online projects have always been central to the work of the academy. Through my own research and teaching, I seek to encourage a para-academic culture that interrogates and values the contributions of all parties, both inside and outside of the university.

Education

PhD, English, University of Minnesota

MA, Classics, University of Colorado

BA, English, University of Colorado

Other Publications

Book
Translating Troy: Provincial Politics in Alliterative Romance. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2013.

Articles/Book Chapters
Co-authored with Matthew Davis. “The Places of Writing on the Multimodal Page.” Writing Changes: Alphabetic Text and Multimodal Composition. Ed. Pegeen Reichert Powell. New York: Modern Language Association, 2020. 103-22.
 
“Stealing a Corpus: Appropriating Aesop’s Body in the Early Age of Print.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 12.2 (2018). http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/12/2/000382/000382.html
 
“The Nun’s Priest’s Tale: Entertainment versus Education.” The Open Access Companion to the Canterbury Tales. Ed. Candace Barrington, Brantley L. Bryant, Richard H. Godden, Daniel T. Kline, and Myra Seaman (September 2017). https://opencanterburytales.dsl.lsu.edu/npt1/
 
“Digitizing Chaucerian Debate.” Approaches to Teaching Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Ed. Frank Grady and Peter Travis. 2ndedition. New York: Modern Language Association, 2014. 196-9.
 
“A Prehistory of Resistance to Writing Across the Curriculum.” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching 19.2 (Fall 2012): 117-42.
 
 “Wikipedia as Imago Mundi.” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching 17.2 (Fall 2010): 11-25.
 
Co-authored with Cheryl Nixon and Rajini Srikanth. “Constructing the Innocence of the First Textual Encounter.” Human Architecture 8.1 (Spring 2010): 1-16. 
 
“The Historiography of the Dragon: Heraldic Violence in the Alliterative Morte Arthure.” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 32 (2010): 295-324.
 
“The Medieval Writing Workshop.” The Once and Future Classroom 6.2 (Fall 2008).  https://once-and-future-classroom.org/archives/?page_id=526
 
“Linking Letters: Translating Ancient History into Medieval Romance.” Literature Compass 4.4 (2007): 1017-29.
 
“‘The Soft Beauty of the Latin Word’: Experiencing Latin in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.” Classical and Modern Literature 26.2 (Fall 2006): 179-96.
 
“Corporal Terror: Critiques of Imperialism in The Siege of Jerusalem.” Philological Quarterly 84.3 (Summer 2005): 287-310.
 
Essays
Co-authored with Michael Johnston. “Kant in King Arthur’s Court: Charges of Anachronism in Book Reviews.” In the Middle (August 24, 2016). http://www.inthemedievalmiddle.com/2016/08/kant-in-king-arthurs-court-charges-of.html.

“Get Rhythm.” Vital: On the Human Side of Health (June 24, 2016). https://the-vital.com/2016/06/24/get-rhythm/.

“The Case for Open Review.” Inside Higher Ed (May 16, 2016). https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2016/05/16/open-peer-review-journal-articles-offers-significant-benefits-essay.

“Friending Cicero.” Echoes from the Vault (September 15, 2014). https://standrewsrarebooks.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/special-collections-visiting-scholars-friending-cicero/.

“Aesopic Mashups in the Early Age of Print.” The Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies: The Semiannual Newsletter (Spring 2014): 9-10.

Editorial Contribution
“Robert Henryson: From Morall Fabillis of Esope the Phrygian.” The Broadview Anthology of British Literature. Volume 1: The Medieval Period. Ed. Joseph Black, et al. 3rd edition. Toronto: Broadview Press, 2014. http://sites.broadviewpress.com/bablonline/sample-page/vol-1-the-medieval-period/.

Rare Book Exhibition
“Purloined Letters: Literary Correspondence and its Unintended Recipients.” Boston Public Library. Special Collections Lobby. October 2014-April 2015.

 

Projects

Habitual Rhetoric: A Prehistory of Digital Writing (book manuscript)

“Jack Spicer’s Grail in the Boston Public Library” (essay in press for the journal Paideuma)
 
“Benoît de Sainte-Maure,” “Dares, Dares Frygius (Dares Phrygius),” “Dite, Tytus (Dictis Cretensis),” “Joseph of Exeter,” and “Lollius” (entries in press for The Chaucer Encyclopedia, ed. Richard G. Newhauser, Wiley) 
 
“The Rhetorical Time of John Lydgate’s Troy Book” (essay chapter submitted for Constructing Trojan Temporalities: Multiple Antiquities in Medieval French and English Narratives, a collection proposed to Cambridge University Press)
 
Co-author with Cheryl Nixon, “The Uninhibited Archive: Teaching Book History through Public Exhibition” (essay chapter submitted for the Modern Language Association volume, Teaching the History of the Book

Alex Mueller

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