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St Hilda's College
Our people

Dr Daniel Sawyer

BA Lond, MSt DPhil Oxf


Daniel Sawyer is an Associate Research Fellow at St Hilda’s College, and a Departmental Lecturer in the English Faculty. He studies the deep history of English poetry using close reading, editing, and codicology—the systematic study of medieval manuscripts.

Daniel is currently writing a book on innovation and discovery in literary history. His 2024 book, How to Read Middle English Poetry, is a universal guide to poetry 1150–1500, for students and general readers. In 2020 he published Reading English Verse in Manuscript c.1350–c.1500, which offered the first book-length history of reading for later Middle English poetry.

In other strands of work, he tackles manuscripts that don’t survive, explores editorial problems in Middle English, and traces how postwar Californian poets draw on earlier poetry for inspiration.

Daniel teaches palaeography and editing for the master’s course in English 650–1550, and covers topics such as lyric poetry, manuscript studies, and close reading in undergraduate lectures and tutorials.

Daniel has previously held a Research Fellowship at Merton College, Oxford, a Junior Research Fellowship at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, a Riley Fellowship at the Huntington Library, and a Long Vacation Scholarship at King’s College, Cambridge. He has also worked in the English Faculty as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant on a project to edit the Wycliffite Bible.

His presence at St Hilda’s is a return, for he studied here for his DPhil and MSt degrees in English. He studied for his BA in English at Queen Mary, University of London.


How to Read Middle English Poetry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2024)

Reading English Verse in Manuscript c.1350–c.1500 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020)

Articles and chapters

Manuscript Canonicity’, Textual Practice (advanced access, 2024)

‘What Tongue Does Chaucer’s Custance Speak? “Latyn corrupt” Revisited’, Medium Ævum 92 (2023)

Verse-Craft, Editing, and the Work: Shadows of Orfeo’, Review of English Studies 73.309 (2022), 219–38

Forgotten Books: The Application of Unseen Species Models to the Survival of Culture’, Science 375.6582 (2022), 765–9

The Influence of Pearl on Thom Gunn’s “Lament”’, Notes and Queries 68.3 (2021), 363–66

Form, Time, and the “First English Sonnet”’, Chaucer Review, 56.3 (2021), 193–224

Pedant’s Revolt: Dissent in the Hierarchy of Scripts’, Journal of the Early Book Society, 22 (2019), 269–80

Missing Books in the Folk Codicology of Later Medieval England’, The Mediaeval Journal, 7.2 (2019 for 2017), 103–32

‘Page Numbers, Signatures and Catchwords’, in Book Parts, ed. by Dennis Duncan and Adam Smyth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), 138–49

Rediscovered Manuscript Fragments of The Prick of Conscience in the Library of Queens’ College, Cambridge’, Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, 15.5 (2016), 515–40

“He that no good can”: An Unrecorded Copy of a Middle English Proverb’, Notes and Queries, 63.1 (2016), 15–17

Navigation by Tab and Thread: Place-Markers and Readers’ Movements in Books’, in Spaces for Reading in Later Medieval England, ed. by Mary C. Flannery and Carrie Griffin (London: Palgrave, 2016), 99–114


(with Elizabeth Solopova and Anne Hudson) Wycliffite Bible: Digital Edition (2019; project continuing)

The Cook’s Prologue and Tale and the Man of Law’s Prologue and Tale, in The Cambridge Edition of the Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. by Julia Boffey and A. S. G. Edwards (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, in progress)

Dr Sawyer’s ORCID iD is 0000-0003-4584-236X.


  • Associate Research Fellow in English
  • Lecturer, Faculty of English


  • English