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Dr. Stephen Kelly - Queen's University Belfast Research Portal - Research Directory & Institutional Repository for QUB
Stephen Kelly

Dr Stephen Kelly


Direct phone: +44 (0)28 9097 3952

For media contact email
or call +44(0)2890 973091.


Stephen's interests span late medieval religious cultural practices, including literary, theological and philosophical writings, visual and material culture, historiography and performance. He has also written variously on contemporary political philosophy and philosophical hermeneutics, translation studies, digital humanities, and contemporary art (excerpts from work on the artist Susan Hiller appear in Susan Hiller, ed. Ann Gallagher, London: Tate, 2011, the catalogue to a major retrospective at Tate Britain on Hiller's work).

Research Statement

Stephen read for a PhD at Queen's (1998). He subsequently held a lectureship at the University of Kent at Canterbury, before taking up a post-doctoral research fellowship on the AHRC-funded Imagining History project at Queen's. He commenced his present position in March 2006. 

Current research

Current projects include Imagining History in Medieval Britain (Bloomsbury, 2016), an account of the ideological interests and literary strategies of English historiography from Bede to the English Reformation and  with David Griffith (Birmingham), Stephen is co-editing the second edition of Chaucer to Spenser (Wiley-Blackwell). He is also preparing 'Meke Reverence and Devocyon': A Reader in Late Medieval English Religious Writing (Exeter Medieval Texts: Liverpool UP), co-edited by Ryan Perry (Kent), which will be the first representative anthology of Middle English devotional texts — many of which are edited for the first time — since Horstmann's Yorkshire Writers (1895-6). 

Completed projects

With Professor John Thompson and Dr Ian Johnson (St. Andrews), he co-directed the AHRC-funded Geographies of Orthodoxy: mapping Pseudo-Bonaventuran Lives of Christ, 1350-1550 project (2007-2010). The project produced two major essay collections – The pseudo-Bonaventuran lives of Christ: exploring the Middle English tradition (eds. Ian Johnson and Alan Westphall, 2013) and 'Diuerse Imaginaciouns of Cristes Life: Devotional Culture in Late Medieval England and Beyond (which Stephen co-edited with Ryan Perry [Kent], 2014) – as well as online resources for the scholarly community, which Stephen designed.

At Queen's he is co-director of the Queen's Research Forum on Translation and Cultural Encounter and of the Medieval Forum and directed the ICRH research group Cosmopolitanisms: Pre- to Postmodern.

In 2014 Stephen appeared in BBC Northern Ireland's "Five Fables", an adaptation of Seamus Heaney's translation of Robert Henryson's Morall Fabillis, and joined writer Ian Samson in Antrim's Curfew tower for "Piers the Plowman Revisited", broadcast on BBC Radio 4, in which Samson confronts the challenge of adapting Langland's 14th century poem, with comic results.

Doctoral students

Stephen welcomes proposals on any aspect of medieval culture with which his research intersects, particularly historiography, cultural history, medievalism, translation studies, and medieval religious studies.  He is primary supervisor of the following doctoral students:

  • Natalie Calder, Modalities of Belief in the “Long” Fifteenth Century: Re-thinking English Religious Writing, 1370-1509 (second supervisor: James Davis, History)
  • Rachel Reid, Mapping Mortlake: A Reception History of the “excellent jewells” of John Dee’s Library (second supervisor: Crawford Gribben, History)
  • Aisling Reid: God Materialised: Theorising Religious Practice in Late Medieval Italy
  • Craig Wallace: An Unsettled Past: ‘Weird Medievalism’ in Twentieth-Century British Weird Fiction, Horror Cinema and Television (second supervisor: Brian Caraher, English)

He co-supervises the following students:

  • With David Johnston (Translation): Laurence Besnard-Scott: Translation Beyond Words: Film Adaptations of Classical Myths as Reverse Ekphrasis
    With James Davis and Immo Warntjes (History): Eric Connor: Kings and Chronicles: England and France in the Hundred Years’ War, 1337 – 1453

Completed PhDs:

  • 2013 - Louise Wasson: Untimely Meditations: female mysticism in medieval culture and modern scholarship
  • 2013 - Eamon Byers: ‘Folk kan synge hit bet than I' - The Medievalism of English Folkmusic, 1750-2013
  • 2013 - Will Liddle: The Virtue of Place in Late Medieval Lynn
  • 2011 - David Falls: Love's Mirror Before Arundel: audiences and early readers of Nicholas Love's Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ (contracted to Ashgate)
  • 2011 - Daniel McCann: Possible Selves: Imagined Experience, Narrative Transformation, and Late Medieval English Literature 
  • 2011 - Elizabeth Scarborough: Continental Drift: the reception of European Visionary Writing in Medieval England
  • 2011 - Kathryn Stevenson: "Of the Holy Londe of Irlande": A Reconsideration of Some Middle English Texts in Late Medieval Ireland
  • 2010 - Stuart McWilliams: Magic and Possibility: medievalism and the idea of the occult (published by Bloomsbury)


  • External Examiner for English (UG and PG), University of Huddersfield, 2012-16
  • Director, Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities 2013-14 research group on Cosmpolitanisms, Pre- to Postmodern
  • Convenor, MA in English (Medieval Studies) - 2006-2012
  • Co-investigator, Geographies of Orthodoxy: Mapping English Pseudo-Bonaventuran Lives of Christ - AHRC-funded, 2007-2010
  • Co-director, Forum for Translation and Cultural Encounter
  • Co-director, Medieval Forum
  • Expert commentary: BBC Northern Ireland/ BBC Two/ Waddell Media - "Five Fables":
  • Expert commentary: BBC Radio 4 - "Piers the Plowman Revisited":


Semester One:

110ENG 2040 Late Medieval Literature (convenor) 

Semester Two:

ENG 1006 Sounds of the City: Belfast and Beyond (convenor)

ENG 3178 Digital Textualities and the History of the Book


ENG 7041 Cultures of Piety

Semester Two, MA in Translation:

205LLA Translation and Cultural Encounter

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Frequent Journals

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