Karen A. Winstead

Karen A. Winstead

Karen A. Winstead

Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies


532 Denney Hall
164 Annie & John Glenn Avenue
Columbus campus

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Areas of Expertise

  • Medieval literature
  • Gender and sexuality studies
  • Film and popular culture
  • Comparative literature


  • PhD, Indiana University, 1989
  • BA, Brown University, 1982



Karen Winstead's research interests include medieval literature and popular culture, life-writing, gender and sexuality issues, medievalism and Arthuriana.

Winstead has published three monographs, The Oxford History of Life-Writing, Volume 1: The Middle AgesJohn Capgrave's Fifteenth Century, and Virgin Martyrs: Legends of Sainthood in Late Medieval England, as well as translations and editions of medieval saints' lives. A fourth monograph, Fifteenth-Century Lives, is forthcoming from the University of Notre Dame Press.  Her publications also include essays on Geoffrey Chaucer, Margery Kempe, and appropriations of the Middle Ages in film and contemporary novels.

Winstead's teaching interests range from medieval literature to contemporary film and popular culture. She regularly teaches the Survey of British Literature to 1800, Special Topics in Women and Literature (“Medieval Women”), Special Topics in Film and Literature (“Monsters Without and Within”), Special Topics in Popular Culture (“Vampires”) and other topics in medieval literature at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In 2016 and 2019, she won the English Undergraduate Organization's Professor of the Year award.

Selected Publications

  • The Oxford History of Life-Writing, Vol. 1: The Middle Ages. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.
  • John Capgrave's Fifteenth Century. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.
  • Virgin Martyrs: Legends of Sainthood in Late Medieval England. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007.
  • Chaste Passions: Middle English Virgin Martyr Legends (anthology of translations). Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000.
  • The Life of Saint Katherine of Alexandria by John Capgrave (translation). Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2011.
  • The Life of Saint Katherine of Alexandria by John Capgrave (edition). Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1999.

Curriculum Vitae