Erica Machulak

Machulak Photo 8 26 2015



Areas of Interest
Middle English poetics, image-text relationships, manuscript culture, intellectual history, and the influence of Arabic sources

University of Pennsylvania, B.A.; University of Oxford, M.St.


Erica Machulak is the Dominica and Frank Annese Fellow studying medieval English literature, cultures of the book, and Arabic influences on Western thought. Her research interests include image-text relationships, alchemy, medical literature, Aristotle, and Arabic philosophy. Her dissertation, "The Transmission of Arabic Wisdom in Middle English Literature" focuses on English adaptation of Arabic sources and concepts in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, particularly in the works of Chaucer, Langland, Hoccleve, and adaptors of the Secret of Secrets. She seeks to understand how concepts in Arabic texts helped shape the literary discourse of public intellectuals writing in Middle English.

Her work has been accepted for publication by Humanities magazine and Spellbound: Rethinking the Alphabet, a book recently published by Intellect Ltd. She has presented at seven conferences on subjects ranging from the eighteenth-century novel Pamela, to medieval portrayals of Aristotle, to the turn-of- the-eleventh- century philosopher Ibn Sina (Avicenna). She will present “The Secretum secretorum (Kitāb Sirr al-asrār) and Medieval English Intellectuals” at the MLA Convention in January of 2017.

Erica taught two sections of “Writing and Rhetoric” in the 2011-2012 academic year and co-taught “Stories and Storytellers” in the spring of 2015. In the spring of 2016, she was a graduate fellow at Notre Dame’s Global Gateways program in London, where she mentored ND study abroad students and taught an interactive course on “Medieval Literature and Science.” In the summer of 2016, she worked at the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Recent Scholarly Activity

“Thinking in Scripts: the Look of Arabic” in Spellbound: Rethinking the Alphabet, eds. Craig McDaniel and Jean Robertson. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, Intellect Ltd., 2016, pp. 131-138.

“Langland’s Sages: History and Allegory in Will’s Intellectual Journey” in The Yearbook of Langland Studies (under review).