prof. S.I. (Sebastian) Sobecki

Professor of Medieval English Literature and Culture; Professor of Old Germanic (by courtesy)

Research

Research interests

PhD, MPhil., St John’s College, Cambridge University
BA, Wolfson College, Cambridge University
PGCE University of Buckingham

Sebastian Sobecki specialises in English literature from Chaucer to the Reformation; scribes, archives, and manuscripts; emerging ideas of authorship and literary culture (esp. Chaucer, Gower, Hoccleve, Kempe, Lydgate, and Skelton); connections between law and literature; political writing and intellectual history; travel, Anglo-European contact, and global medieval literature; and continuities between medieval and early modern literary culture.

He has authored three books: Last Words: The Public Self and the Social Author in Late Medieval England (Oxford UP, 2019); Unwritten Verities: The Making of England’s Vernacular Legal Culture, 1463-1549 (Notre Dame UP, 2015); and The Sea and Medieval English Literature (D.S. Brewer, 2008). He has produced three editions of primary texts: Medieval English Travel: A Critical Anthology, ed. with Anthony Bale (Oxford UP, 2019), and the first two volumes of a 14-volume edition of Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations (Oxford UP, 2020), which will include 70 of the medieval narratives and documents printed by Hakluyt. He has also edited three collections and a special journal issue: The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Law and Literature, ed. with Candace Barrington (Cambridge UP, 2019); A Critical Companion to John Skelton, with John Scattergood (D.S. Brewer, 2018); The Sea and Englishness in the Middle Ages (D.S. Brewer, 2011); and, with Matthew Boyd Goldie, Our Seas of Islands: New Approaches to British Insularity in the Late Middle Ages, in Postmedieval 7:4 (2016). His articles have appeared in Speculum, English Literary History, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, Renaissance Studies, The English Historical Review, The Chaucer Review, and The Review of English Studies, among others. Sobecki has received research grants and fellowships from All Souls College, Oxford; Yale University; Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC); the Huntington Library, San Marino (USA); the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO); Québec's FQRSC; the German Research Foundation (DFG); and SAUTE in Switzerland. In 2016, he was awarded the John Hurt Fisher Prize by the John Gower Society.

Prior to coming to the Netherlands, Sobecki was an Assistant Professor in Later Medieval Literature at McGill University's English Department. He chaired Groningen’s English Department from 2010 to 2014, and sits on the Faculty of Arts Cluster Board 2 (Cultures, Languages, Literatures, and Politics). He is also on the Council of the Hakluyt Society, the Advisory Committee for the Index of Middle English Prose, and, among others, the editorial board of the book series Maritime Humanities, 1400-1800: Cultures of the Sea (Amsterdam UP). Sobecki is the voice behind the popular Speke, Parott! YouTube video. Together with Michelle Karnes, he is the editor of Studies in the Age of Chaucer, the periodical of The New Chaucer Society.

He is currently editing a substantial literary history, Medieval Travel Writing: A Global History (Cambridge UP), the first book dedicated to global medieval travel and geographical literature from Iceland to China. 

Publications
  1. Last Words: The Public Self and the Social Author in Late Medieval England

    Sobecki, S., 2019, (Accepted/In press) Oxford University Press.

    Research output: Book/ReportBookAcademicpeer-review

  2. The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Law and Literature

    Sobecki, S. (ed.) & Barrington, C. (ed.), Jul-2019, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Cambridge Companions to Literature)

    Research output: Book/ReportBook editingAcademic

  3. Medieval English Travel: A Critical Anthology

    Sobecki, S. & Bale, A., 2019, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 528 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBookAcademicpeer-review

  4. A Critical Companion to John Skelton

    Sobecki, S. (ed.) & Scattergood, J. (ed.), Nov-2018, Cambridge: Boydell & Brewer. 245 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook editingAcademic

  5. Wards and Widows: Troilus and Criseyde and New Documents on Chaucer's Life

    Sobecki, S., Jun-2019, In : ELH. 86, 2, p. 413-440 28 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  6. The Earliest Record of John Lydgate at Hatfield Regis

    Sobecki, S., 2019, In : Chaucer review. 54, 2, p. 216-220 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  7. Hares, Rabbits, Pheasants: Piers Plowman and William Longewille, a Norfolk Rebel in 1381

    Sobecki, S., Apr-2018, In : The Review of English Studies. 69, 289, p. 216-236 21 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  8. A Southwark Tale: Gower, the Poll Tax of 1381, and Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

    Sobecki, S., Jul-2017, In : Speculum-A journal of medieval studies. 92, 3, p. 630-660 30 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  9. Ecce patet tensus: The Trentham Manuscript, In Praise of Peace, and John Gower's Autograph Hand

    Sobecki, S., Oct-2015, In : Speculum-A journal of medieval studies. 90, 4, 40 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  10. “The writyng of this tretys”: Margery Kempe’s Son and the Authorship of Her Book

    Sobecki, S., Nov-2015, In : Studies in the Age of Chaucer. 37

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  11. Unwritten Verities: The Making of England's Vernacular Legal Culture, 1463-1549

    Sobecki, S., Mar-2015, Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. 264 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBookAcademicpeer-review

  12. Lydgate’s Kneeling Retraction: The Testament as a Literary Palinode

    Sobecki, S., Jan-2015, In : Chaucer review. 49, 3, p. 265-293 28 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  13. John Peyton's A Relation of the State of Polonia and the Accession of King James I, 1598-1603

    Sobecki, S. I., 2014, In : The English Historical Review. 129, 540, p. 1079-1097 19 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  14. Bureaucratic Verse: William Lyndwood, the Privy Seal and the Form of The Libelle of Englyshe Polycye

    Sobecki, S. I., 2010, In : New Medieval Literatures. 12, p. 251-288 38 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  15. The Sea and Medieval English Literature

    Sobecki, S. I., 2008, Cambridge, UK: Boydell & Brewer. 205 p. (Studies in medieval romance; vol. 5)

    Research output: Book/ReportBookAcademicpeer-review

View all (107) »

Press / Media
  1. The Guardian: Document casts new light on Chaucer 'rape' case

    Sebastian Sobecki

    07/06/2019

    1 media contribution

    Press/Media: ResearchPopular

  2. BBC Radio 4, expert interview on medieval travel writing

    Sebastian Sobecki

    01/04/2019

    1 media contribution

    Press/Media: Public Engagement ActivitiesPopular

  3. BBC: The 500-year-old poem that captivated Reddit

    Sebastian Sobecki

    08/10/2014

    1 item of media coverage

    Press/Media: OtherPopular

  4. Six Degrees of Chaucer: How Southwark Shaped The Canterbury Tales

    Sebastian Sobecki

    01/06/2018

    1 item of media coverage

    Press/Media: ResearchPopular

View all (11) »

Activities
  1. Studies in the Age of Chaucer (Journal)

    Sebastian Sobecki (Editor), Michelle Karnes (Editor)
    1-Jan-20191-Jan-2024

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activityAcademic

  2. The New Chaucer Society (External organisation)

    Sebastian Sobecki (Member)
    20162018

    Activity: MembershipMembership of committeeAcademic

  3. London Chaucer Conference

    Sebastian Sobecki (Keynote speaker)
    2017

    Activity: Talk or presentationProfessional

  4. The Hakluyt Society (External organisation)

    Sebastian Sobecki (Member)
    2015

    Activity: MembershipMembership of boardAcademic

  5. Travel and Conflict in the Medieval and Early Modern Period

    Sebastian Sobecki (Keynote speaker)
    2015

    Activity: Talk or presentationProfessional

View all (11) »

Prizes
  1. Yale University Beinecke Library Fellowship

    Sebastian Sobecki (Recipient), 2019

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitivelyAcademic

  2. Visiting Fellowship, All Souls College, Oxford

    Sebastian Sobecki (Recipient), Jan-2016

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitivelyAcademic

  3. John Hurt Fisher Prize 2016

    Sebastian Sobecki (Recipient), 2016

    PrizeAcademic

  4. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow, Huntington Library

    Sebastian Sobecki (Recipient), Jul-2015

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitivelyAcademic

  5. NWO Visitor's Grant April-July 2016

    Sebastian Sobecki (Recipient), Apr-2016

    PrizeAcademic

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