Phillips, Susan E. 1970- (Susan Phillips, Susie Phillips)

views updated

Phillips, Susan E. 1970- (Susan Phillips, Susie Phillips)

PERSONAL:

Born 1970. Education: Harvard University, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of English, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University, 1897 Sheridan Rd., University Hall, Rm. 315, Evanston, IL 60208-2240; fax: 847-467-1545. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, editor, and educator. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, associate professor of English and associate chair of English department. Medievalists' Writing Workshop, codirector.

WRITINGS:

Transforming Talk: The Problem with Gossip in Late Medieval England, Pennsylvania State University Press (University Park, PA), 2007.

Member of editorial board, Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies.

SIDELIGHTS:

Susan E. Phillips is a writer, educator, and medieval scholar at Northwestern University, where she serves as an associate professor of English. Among her teaching interests are medieval literature and culture, including sin and confession, heresy, rebellion, and courtly love, noted a biographer on the Northwestern University Department of English Web site. She is also greatly interested in the book culture of the late medieval and early modern period, in particular the "materiality of the book, that is, in exploring how texts were produced, published, circulated, and read," reported the Web site biographer.

In Transforming Talk: The Problem with Gossip in Late Medieval England, Phillips undertakes the first full-length analysis of gossip in the medieval period. In the book, Phillips describes the nature of medieval gossip, known then as "jangling," and the effects it was said to have on the social stability of the time. Among other ills, gossip in medieval times was suspected of causing corruption in church parishioners; disturbing the peace; and creating civil instability and spiritual unrest. Phillips finds that gossip in the Middle Ages served as a form of "transformative discourse," a method of communication that affected a community's social interactions as well as its religious practices and literary undertakings. Far from being a malignant force, Phillips argues in her book, gossip provided a positive cultural influence in reworking the way that religious and pastoral practice was conducted, and restructured and renewed the social frameworks and family relationships of the time.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Northwestern University Department of English Web site,http://www.english.northwestern.edu/ (January 28, 2008), biography of Susan E. Phillips.

Penn State University Press Web site,http://www.psupress.org/ (January 28, 2008), review of Transforming Talk: The Problem with Gossip in Late Medieval England.

About this article

Phillips, Susan E. 1970- (Susan Phillips, Susie Phillips)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article