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Sarah Higley

Sarah L Higley

  • Professor

PhD, University of California Berkeley

411 Morey Hall
(585) 275-9261

Research Overview

Higley's primary interests lie in northern medieval literatures with an early emphasis on language, linguistics, and poetic structure. Her later work in fantasy and science fiction led her to explore medieval and modern notions of magic, machinery, monstrosity, and artifice. Her recent publications investigate the early origins of the werewolf, the medieval concept of the "robot," and manifestations throughout time of "simulacra"—lately, miniatures and artificial languages.  This last interest has inspired her book on Hildegard of Bingen's "Lingua Ignota." In the meantime, Higley is investigating the educational possibilities of New Media, especially that of immersive environments and Virtual Realities

Selected Publications

  • Between Languages: The Uncooperative Text in Early Welsh and Old English Nature Poetry, Pennsylvania State 1993
  • Hildegard of Bingen's Unknown Language: An Edition, Translation, and Discussion, Palgrave Macmillan 2007
  • "Finding the Man Under the Skin: Identity, Hybridity, Expulsion, and the Werewolf," in Shadow Walkers: Jacob Grimm's Mythology of the Monstrous, ed. Thomas Shippey, Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies 2005
  • "The Wanton Hand: Reading and Reaching into Bodies and Grammars in Riddle 12," in Naked Before God: Uncovering the Body in Anglo-Saxon England, ed. Benjamin Withers and Jonathan Wilcox, West Virginia 2003, 29-59
  • "A Taste for Shrinking: Movie Miniatures and the Unreal City," in Camera Obscura 47 (2001/2002), 1-35
  • "Alien Intellect and the Roboticization of the Scientist," in  Camera Obscura 40-41 (1997), 131-62
  • "The Spoils of Annwn: Taliesin and Material Poetry," in A Celtic Florilegium: Studies in Memory of Brendan O Hehir, ed. Kathryn A. Klar, Eve E. Sweetser, and Claire Thomas, Celtic Studies Publications 1996, 43-53
  • "The Lost Parts of Artificial Women," in Bathhouse: A Journal of Hybrid Art 3.1 (2005)
  • Publications in fiction and poetry magazines


  • Nothing That Is: Millennial Cinema and the Blair Witch Controversies, with Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, Wayne State 2003


  • "Dressing Up the Nuns: Hildegard of Bingen's Clothing Items in the Lingua Ignota," in Medieval Clothing and Textiles, vol. 5, ed. Robin Netherton and Gale R. Owen-Crocker
  • "Thought in Beowulf and Our Perception of It: Interiority, Power, and the Problem of the Revealed Mind," in The Hero Recovered: Essays in Medieval Heroism in Honour of George Clark, ed. Robin Waugh and Jim Weldon, Medieval Institute Publications


  • Courses in Old English, Middle English, and Middle Welsh language and literature; film studies; creative writing