Megan E. Murton has been an Assistant Professor of English at The Catholic University of America since 2015. She is a medievalist and specializes in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, with a particular interest in his religious writings and his response to Classical literature and philosophy.
Dr. Murton's current book project, entitled Chaucer's Prayers: Writing Devotion, Writing Readers, examines Chaucer's use of prayer as a distinctive kind of voice in his poetry. Pointing to the performative quality of prayers as utterances that ask to be prayed, rather than simply read, she argues that Chaucer uses prayer to enlist readers' participation in his poetry and to guide their responses to it. She shows how he exploits the performativity of prayer not only in Christian contexts, where it enables him to forge connections between his poetic imagination and the devotional practices of his audience, but also in pagan contexts, where Chaucer's representations of pagan prayer constitute an effort to imaginatively recover the Classical past and explore its relationship to his Christian present.
A second project, currently in its early stages, re-evaluates Chaucer’s response to one of his favorite books, Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy. Drawing on new interpretations that see this text’s philosophical arguments as ultimately displaced by religious devotion, Dr. Murton argues that Chaucer similarly read the Consolation in devotional terms, and then explores the implications of this claim for interpreting Chaucer's pervasive debts to Boethius throughout his writings.
Prior to her work at Catholic University, Dr. Murton taught Middle English language and literature at the University of Cambridge, as well as literature and academic writing courses at Xavier University and Miami University of Ohio. At Catholic University, she teaches undergraduate courses in English, including History of British Literature I and Chaucer and His Age I & II, and a variety of graduate seminars on medieval literature. In addition to the poetry of Chaucer and his contemporaries, her teaching interests include Middle English mystical and devotional writings, medieval French and Italian literature, the history of the English language, and modern-day medievalism.
Dr. Murton received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. She also holds a joint Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and French Literature from Harvard University and a Master’s degree in Medieval English Literature from the University of Oxford.
Cambridge International Scholarship, 2010-2013
Marshall Scholarship, 2008-2010