Holly Johnson teaches courses in medieval English literature and specializes in late medieval sermons. Her recent volume, The Grammar of Good Friday: Macaronic Sermons of Late Medieval England (Turnhout: Brepols, 2012), offers a detailed study of Good Friday preaching and an edition with translation of five highly imaginative, rhetorically sophisticated macaronic (mixed Latin and Middle English) Good Friday sermons preached in late medieval England (c. 1350-1450). She has published articles on the art of preaching on Good Friday, the seven deadly sins, and domestic imagery in Easter sermons, some of which include editions of previously unpublished medieval sermons. She is currently working on the sermons of Master Robert Rypon, a Benedictine monk educated at Oxford who lived in Durham, England at the turn of the fifteenth century. Fifty nine of Rypon’s sermons are extant in one manuscript housed in the British Library. Scholars have mined these sermons for what they reveal about late medieval preaching, monastic learning, the medieval understanding of the seven deadly sins, and the lay religious life of late medieval Durham, but to date there are no editions or translations of these sermons, so for most scholars and students of medieval literature and history, this rich material remains inaccessible. Dr. Johnson is now preparing two volumes of selected sermons of Robert Rypon which will be part of the Dallas Medieval Texts and Translations series published by Peeters Publishers (Louvain, Belgium).
Ph.D. 2001 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
M.A. 1989 The University of Maryland
B.A. 1987 The University of Maryland
Old and Middle English Literature
- Late Medieval Literature and Culture: The Fifteenth Century
- The Legends of King Arthur
- Chaucer and the Language of Love (graduate)
- The Medieval Religious Imagination (graduate)
- Medieval Theatre (graduate)
The Grammar of Good Friday: Macaronic Sermons of Late Medieval England. Sermo 8. Turnhout: Brepols, 2012.
“Robert Rypon and the Creation of London, British Library, MS Harley 4894: A Master Preacher and His Sermon Collection.” Medieval Sermon Studies 59 (2015): 40-58.
“The Imaginative Landscape of an English Monk-Preacher: Robert Rypon and the Court of Memory.” Mediaeval Studies 75 (2013): 177-204.
“The Divine Dinner Party: Domestic Imagery and Easter Preaching in Late Medieval England.” Traditio 67 (2012): 385-415.
“A Fifteenth-Century Sermon Enacts the Seven Deadly Sins.” Sin in Medieval and Early Modern Culture: The Tradition of the Seven Deadly Sins. Ed. Richard G. Newhauser and Susan J. Ridyard. York: York Medieval Press, in association with Boydell & Brewer, 2012. 107-31.
“God’s Music-Making: The Cross-Harp Metaphor in Late-Medieval Preaching.” Medieval Perspectives 22 (2007 ): 48-59.
“The Hard Bed of the Cross: Good Friday Preaching and the Seven Deadly Sins.” The Seven Deadly Sins: From Communities to Individuals. Ed. Richard Newhauser. Leiden: Brill, 2007. 129-44.
“Fashioning Devotion: The Art of Good Friday Preaching in Chaucerian England.” Speculum Sermonis: Interdisciplinary Reflections on the Medieval Sermon. Ed. Georgiana Donavin, et al. Disputatio 1. Turnhout: Brepols, 2005. 315-34.
Professional Honors and Awards
- Outstanding Faculty Award, Shakhouls Honors College, 2014/2015
- Researcher of the Month, College of Arts & Sciences, Mississippi State University, September, 2013
- Humanities Researcher of the Year, College of Arts & Sciences, Mississippi State University, 2013.
- College of Arts and Sciences Humanities Teaching Award, 2010.
- Selected for the NEH Summer Seminar “The Seven Deadly Sins as Cultural Constructions in the Middle Ages,” directed by Richard Newhauser in Cambridge, England, 2004.
- The Tanner Teaching Assistants Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, UNC-CH, 2000–2001.
- The Joseph Breen Fellowship for outstanding work in Medieval Studies, 2000–2001.
- The Students’ Undergraduate Teaching Award, UNC–CH, 1998.
- The James Gaskin Award for excellence in teaching composition awarded by the UNC–CH English Department, 1998.
- Secretary, International Medieval Sermon Studies Society
- Member of the Editorial Board for Disputatio, Brepols Publishers, Turnhout, Belgium