Lynn Arner

Associate Professor

PhD, English
Graduate Certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies

Office: GLA 127
905 688 5550  x5673

Areas: Feminist theory, critical theory, British cultural studies, critical university studies, women’s and gender studies, and late medieval English literature

Professor Arner’s first book, Chaucer, Gower, and the Vernacular Rising: Poetry and the Problem of the Populace after 1381 (Penn State University Press, 2013), examines the transmission of Greco-Roman and European literature into English during the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries while literacy was burgeoning among men and women from the nonruling classes. This dissemination offered a radically democratizing potential for accessing, interpreting, and deploying learned texts. Focusing primarily on an overlooked sector of Chaucer’s and Gower’s early readership, namely, the upper strata of nonruling urban classes, This historiographical study argues that Chaucer’s and Gower’s writings engaged in elaborate processes of constructing cultural expertise. These writings helped define gradations of cultural authority, determining who could contribute to the production of legitimate knowledge and granting certain socioeconomic groups political leverage in the wake of the English Rising of 1381. This book simultaneously examines Chaucer’s and Gower’s negotiations–often articulated at the site of gender and female sexuality–over poetics and over the roles that vernacular poetry should play in the late medieval social formation. This book investigates how Chaucer’s and Gower’s texts positioned poetry to become a powerful participant in processes of social control. [For more information, see ]. Professor Arner also guest-edited a special issue of Exemplaria and has published a series of articles on late medieval literature.

Professor Arner is currently writing a book that examines the professoriat, doctoral studies, and working conditions in academe in the discipline of English in Canada and the US at the current time. This project is supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). She has also published several articles on academe.

Preceding her appointment at Brock, Professor Arner held a visiting faculty post at the University of Pittsburgh. Professor Arner enjoys teaching at Brock in part because she grew up in this geographical region.

Chaucer, Gower, and the Vernacular Rising: Poetry and the Problem of the Populace after 1381. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2013.

Work in Progress:  A study of the professoriate, doctoral studies, and working conditions in the discipline of English in Canada and the US.

Guest Editor, Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies 19.1 (Spring 2007).

Feminism and the Academy: A Panel Discussion,” edited by Lynn Arner and Katherine French. Medieval Feminist Forum 29 (Spring 2000): 8-32.

“Dirt Begets Dirt: Sexuality and Socioeconomic Status in the Middle Ages.” In Sexuality in the Middle Ages, edited by Michelle M. Sauer. York. UK: ARC Humanities Press, 2022 (forthcoming).

“Degrees of Separation:  Hiring Patterns and First-Generation University Students with English Doctorates in Canada.” The Minnesota Review 96 (May 2021): 101-34.

“Working-Class Women on the Tenure Track.” In Staging Women’s Lives: Gendered Life Stages in Language and Literature Workplaces, edited by Michelle Masse and Nan Bauer-Maglin, 69-81. SUNY Feminist Theory and Criticism Series. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2017.

“Chaucer and the Moving Image in Pre-World War II America.” In Chaucer on Screen: Absence, Presence, and Adapting the “Canterbury Tales”, edited by Tison Pugh and Kathleen Kelly, 69-87. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Press, 2016.

“Survival Strategies for Working-Class Women as Junior Faculty Members.” In Working in Class: Recognizing How Social Class Shapes Our Academic Work, edited by Allison L. Hurst and Sandi K. Nenga, 49-64. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.

“Working-Class Women at the MLA Interview.” Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge 27 (2014), Special Issue: “Working-Class Academics: Theories, Mythologies, Realities”;

“Civility and Gower’s Visio Anglie.” Accessus: A Journal of Premodern Literature and New Media 1.1 (2013);

Introduction, Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies 19.1 (Spring 2007): 1-15. Reprinted in Medieval Feminist Forum 43.1 (Summer 2007): 108-125.

“Trust No Man But Me: Women in Chaucer’s Short Poetry.” In Approaches to Teaching Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and the Shorter Poems, edited by Angela Jane Weisl and Tison Pugh, 71-75. New York: Modern Language Association, 2007.

“The Ends of Enchantment: Colonialism and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 48:2 (Summer 2006): 79-101.

“History Lessons from the End of Time: Gower and the English Rising of 1381.” Clio: A Journal of Literature, History and the Philosophy of History 31 (2002): 237-255.

“Studied Indifference: Institutional Problems for Feminist Medievalists.” Medieval Feminist Forum 29 (Spring 2000): 8-12.

Review of Nowlin Steele, Chaucer, Gower, and the Affect of Invention. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2016. Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies 93.4 (October 2018): 1243-1244.

“Literacy.” The Chaucer Encyclopedia, edited by Richard Newhauser. Wiley-Blackwell, 2021 (forthcoming).

“Cupid.” The Chaucer Encyclopedia, edited by Richard Newhauser. Wiley-Blackwell, 2021 (forthcoming).

“Sexuality and Socioeconomic Status in the Middle Ages.” In The Encyclopedia of the Global Middle Ages. York, UK: ARC Humanities Press, 2021.

“Why do we care more about Chaucer than Gower?” January 3, 2015;

Graduate Courses:

  • Feminist Theory and Knowledge-Production
  • Theoretical Foundations
  • Historiography and the Middle Ages
  • Chaucer & the Beginnings of English Literature

Undergraduate Courses:

  • Feminist Theory
  • Medieval English Literature and Social Control
  • Medieval English Literature: Texts & Conquests
  • Chaucer
  • Structuralist & Post-Structuralist Theory
  • Introduction to Literary Theory

Professor Arner would be pleased to supervise graduate-level major research papers in the following areas: medieval English literature; Chaucer; late medieval English social history (especially literacy, education, rebellions, guilds, artisans, book production, labor, class, women, colonization struggles in the British Isles); studies on contemporary academe in Canada or the US; and topics structured by feminist theory, British cultural studies, Marxist cultural theory, or queer theory.