Dr Philip Knox is University Lecturer in Medieval English Literature at the Faculty of English, and a fellow of King’s College. His research examines a range of medieval literatures, especially English and French, with a particular interest in topics that include: histories of reading / reception; medieval literature and intellectual culture; histories of sexuality; lyric and narrative; texts that move between languages. He is the author of The ‘Romance of the Rose’ and the Making of Fourteenth-Century English Literature (Oxford: OUP, 2022) and co-editor of Medieval Thought Experiments: Poetry, Hypothesis and Experience in the European Middle Ages (Turnout: Brepols, 2018).


My project at CRASSH tries to think in new ways about the relationship between late medieval literature and late medieval philosophy by exploring the writings of the London scrivener Thomas Usk, executed in 1388 for his role in the febrile factional politics of late medieval London. Although Usk has been situated very minutely in a synchronic historical landscape, less has been done to think about his place in a diachronic landscape, especially his distinctive encounters with writings from scholastic philosophy. In this project, I think about Usk’s use of Aristotelian quotation, situating this in the larger late medieval cultural practice of producing ‘intellectual instruments’ to navigate philosophical texts. I want to argue that Usk represents a deep, rather than superficial engagement with a particular kind of late medieval philosophical practice, reflecting on how this might shape our understanding of his social identity and the interpenetration of university and extramural cultures in the period.


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk