Wimsatt, James I. 1927–

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Wimsatt, James I. 1927–

(James Irving Wimsatt)


Born September 25, 1927, in Detroit, MI; son of James Irving (a businessman) and Margaret Wimsatt; married Mary Ann Coslow (a college professor), September 11, 1960; married Rebecca Beal (a college professor); children: Andrew James, Alison Ross, David Joseph. Education: University of Michigan, B.A., 1950; Wayne State University, M.A., 1958; Duke University, Ph.D., 1964. Politics: Republican.


Home—TX. Office—Department of English, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712. E-mail—[email protected].


University of Tennessee, Knoxville, instructor in English, 1963-64; Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, assistant professor of English, 1964-66; University of North Carolina, Greensboro, assistant professor, 1966-68, associate professor, 1968-71, professor of English, 1971-77; University of Texas at Austin, professor of English, beginning 1977, professor emeritus. Military service: U.S. Naval Reserve, 1945-46.


International Arthurian Society, American Association of University Professors, Modern Language Association of America, Mediaeval Academy of America, South Atlantic Modern Language Association.


Duke University of North Carolina Cooperative Program in Humanities fellow, 1969-70; Huntington Library summer fellow, 1973; American Council of Learned Societies fellow, 1974-75.


Chaucer and the French Love Poets, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1968.

The Marguerite Poetry of Guillaume de Machaut, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1970.

Allegory and Mirror: Tradition and Structure in Middle English Literature, Pegasus (Waltham, MA), 1970.

(Contributor) Chaucer the Love Poet, University of Georgia Press (Athens, GA), 1973.

(Contributor) Geoffrey Chaucer, G. Bell (Kent, England), 1974.

Chaucer and the Poems of "CH" in University of Pennsylvania Manuscript French 15, Rowman & Littlefield (New York, NY), 1982.

(Editor, with William W. Kibler) Guillaume de Machaut, Le jugement du roy de Behaigne [and] Remede de fortune, music edited by Rebecca A. Baltzer, University of Georgia Press (Athens, GA), 1988.

(Editor, with Rebecca A. Baltzer and Thomas Cable) The Union of Words and Music in Medieval Poetry, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1991.

Chaucer and His French Contemporaries: Natural Music in the Fourteenth Century, University of Toronto Press (Buffalo, NY), 1991.

Hopkins's Poetics of Speech Sound: Sprung Rhythm, Lettering, Inscape, University of Toronto Press (Buffalo, NY), 2006.

Contributor to professional journals.


James I. Wimsatt serves on the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, where he is a professor emeritus in the Department of English. Wimsatt's area of research and academic interest is medieval poetry, especially Chaucer, fourteenth-century French poetry, and poetic theory. He is the author and/or editor of a number of books on Chaucer and other poets of his era.

In Chaucer and His French Contemporaries: Natural Music in the Fourteenth Century, Wimsatt provides a wide range of information and analysis that treats comprehensively Chaucer's reciprocal relationships with fourteenth-century French poetry and poetic theory. In addition to considering the works of Chaucer, Wimsatt addresses the efforts of such poets as Guillaume de Machaut, Jean de le Mote, Froissart, Oton de Granson, and Eustache Deschamps, writers who have previously been dismissed as mundane or not worth literary examination. However, Wimsatt considers them all viable poets and pays close attention to their lyric styles in particular. He also looks at the climate of the culture at the time and how this affected the themes of these writers' works and any overlap in ideas. Jane H.M. Taylor, writing for the Review of English Studies, remarked that "Wimsatt's breadth of knowledge is remarkable; his contribution to Chaucer studies is valuable, and indeed, on the rather neglected Oton de Granson and Eustache Deschamps, he offers insights which French scholars too might well find worthwhile." Ardis Butterfield, in a review for Medium Aevum, dubbed the book "a substantial and reliable guide to Chaucer's connections with fourteenth-century France."



Medium Aevum, spring, 1994, Ardis Butterfield, review of Chaucer and His French Contemporaries: Natural Music in the Fourteenth Century, p. 133.

Review of English Studies, November, 1994, Jane H.M. Taylor, review of Chaucer and His French Contemporaries, p. 551.