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 vernacular language and literature: Old English, Middle English, and Middle Welsh, with an interest in Old and Middle French literature. 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," manifestations throughout time of "simulacra" and artificiality in medieval literature and science fiction—lately, the miniature, invented languages, virtual reality, and the “fairy”—i.e., entities that imitate human realities. She is working at present on the Tale of Melusine.

Research Interests

  • Medieval vernacular languages and literature of Northern Europe
  • film and media studies
  • fiction

Selected Publication Covers

Selected Publications

  • Hildegard of Bingen's Unknown Language: An Edition, Translation, and Discussion, New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2007
  • Nothing that Is: Millennial Cinema and the Blair Witch Project, co-edited with Jeffrey Weinstock. September 2004
  • Between Languages: The Uncooperative Text in Early Welsh and Old English Nature Poetry, Pennsylvania State 1993
  • “For it Acordeth Noght to Kinde: Remediation of John Gower’s Confessio Amantis in Machinima.” In Accessus: A Journal of Pre-Modern Literature in New Media. 2.1 (2015)
  • "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 Honor of George Clark, ed. Robin Waugh and Jim Weldon, Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications 2010, 23-46
  • "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


  • The Romance of Partenay: A Middle English Translation of Coudrette’s Melusine. (An edition of this anonymous text has not been made for over a hundred years; it is one of two medieval English translations of the long fairytale by two French writers: the prose version by Jean d’Arras and the poetic version by Coudrette.)


  • Courses in Old English, Middle English, and Middle Welsh language and literature; gender studies, film studies; science fiction studies; creative writing (science fiction and fantasy): “The Monstrous Feminine,” “Celtic Studies,” “Writing the Fairy.”