Professor Mary Carruthers FBA

The Ciceronian rhetorical tradition in Latin & vernacular literatures of Western Europe & England; memory training & invention; Middle English literature.

Elected 2012

Fellow type
Corresponding Fellow
Year elected
Medieval Studies

I am a historian of the European Middle Ages, concerned especially with late classical and medieval ideas about human psychology, including rhetoric and meditation. My focus now is on Latin materials, but I began as a scholar of medieval English language and literature, interests that have never left me. Having been born and raised first in India, and only later in North America, embedding myself in cultures very different from those of the modern West feels natural to me. My scholarly approaches engage historical questions of language and ideas, as well as the material culture of the book. My work in Latin rhetoric began by examining its logical structures of remembering, some work which has brought me into fruitful contact with psychologists who are also interested in learning and memory, and with some interested in computer-enabled archival design. More recently, my work has concerned medieval aesthetic values and their rootedness, via theories of the bodily humours, in various medical as well as religious ideas. My current research is on 'The Art of Invention', including the various logics implied in diagrams. This engages medieval ideas about human creativity and artistic composition, including music, architecture, and design, as well as literature.

Current post

Remarque Professor Emeritus of Literature, New York University; Quondam Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford

Past appointments

St Hilda's College, University of Oxford Visiting Fellow

2018 - 2019

All Souls College, University of Oxford Research Fellow

2007 - 2009

Balliol College, University of Oxford George Eastman Visiting Professor and Fellow of Balliol College

2005 - 2006

New York University Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Literature

2001 - 2011

New York University Dean for Humanities, Faculty of Arts and Science

2001 - 2005

New York University Professor of English

1991 - 2001

Visiting Professor The Ohio State University

1991 - 1991

University of California at Santa Barbara Visiting Associate Professor

1979 -

University of Illinois at Chicago Associate Professor and Professor

1975 - 1991

Case Western Reserve University Assistant Professor and Associate Professor

1973 - 1975

Smith College Instructor and Assistant Professor

1964 - 1973


The Experience of Beauty in the Middle Ages 2013

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