Medieval Literature and Comparative Literature



Senior Research and Teaching Assistant

+41 (0)22 379  78 71


Office and Office Hour / Bureau et heure de réception  



Sarah Brazil received her BA and MA from University College Dublin, and holds a PhD in medieval English literature from the University of Geneva. She is the author of The Corporeality of Clothing in Medieval Literature: Cognition, Kinesis, and the Sacred, published with Medieval Institute Publications in December 2018. This work investigates how clothing is used in literary, dramatic, and theological texts in order to give access to specific kinds of corporeal information, often at the point of transition between one bodily state and another. Her current project, Holy Humour in Early English Drama, is looking for new critical avenues to deal with the use of various forms of humour present in English biblical plays from the 15th and 16thcenturies, with an interest in tracing historic forms of humour to their medieval/early modern use, its audience reception (taking into account physical, embodied dimensions such as cognition and emotion), and the history of criticism in humour studies. She returned to Geneva in the Spring of 2019 after spending 18 months undertaking a Swiss National Science Foundation postdoctoral project at the University of Edinburgh.



Books and Monographs

Journal Articles

  • ‘Modulating Tone in the Early English Slaughter of the Innocents Plays: Between Grief, Vengeance, and Humour’, European Medieval Drama 22 (2020 for 2018): 11-36
  • ‘Performing Female Sanctity—and Reading it: The Visitatio Sepulchri of Wilton and Barking Abbey’, Medieval Feminist Forum 57.1, Special Issue: ‘Everyday Arts: Craft, Voice, Performance’, ed. by Irina Dumitrescu & Emma O’ Loughlin Bérat, forthcoming, 2021
  • ‘Forms of Pretence in Pre-Modern Drama: From the Visitatio Sepulchri to Hamlet’, European Medieval Drama 20 (2017 for 2016): 181-201. Winner of the 2018 Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society Martin Stevens Prize for Best New Article:
  • ‘Doctrinal Orthodoxy and the Dramatic in Liturgical and Secular English Drama’, Swiss Papers in English Language and Literature 31 (2015): 17-36
  • ‘The Codification of Heraldry in Middle English Arthurian Texts’, Coat of Arms, X.I, (The Heraldry Society, 2014): 1-8

Book Chapters

  • ‘Collective Emotions and the Audience in Early English Drama’, in Histoire des émotions collectives: épistémologies, émergences, experiences, edited by Piroska Nagy and Damien BoquetClassique Garnier, forthcoming 2021
  • ‘The Materiality of Metaphors: Why the Affectus Needs Shoes in The Doctrine of the Hert’, in Emotions and Medieval Textual Media, ed. by Mary C. Flannery (Turnhout: Brepols, 2019), pp. 177-94 
  • ‘Drama’, in A Cultural History of the Emotions in the Medieval Age, 350-1300, ed. by Clare Monagle and Juanita Feros Ruys (London & NY: Bloomsbury), pp. 65-81 
  • ‘The Body’, co-written with Guillemette Bolens, in A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion in the Medieval Age, ed. by Sarah-Grace Heller (London & NY: Bloomsbury, 2017), pp. 53-69

Book Reviews

  • Review of Tamara Atkin and Laura Estill, eds., Early British Drama in ManuscriptEuropean Medieval Drama 24 (2020): 248-250.
  • Review of Estella Ciobanu, Representations of the Body in Middle English Biblical Drama. Speculum 95, 1 (2020): 216-217.
  • ‘Middle English: Drama’. Year’s Work in English Studies 98. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019: 248-266. With Daisy Black.
  • Review of Philip Butterworth and Katie Normington, eds., Medieval Theatre PerformanceEarly Theatre 22, 1 (2019): 167-170.
  • Review of Jay Zysk, Shadow and Substance: Eucharistic Controversy Across the Reformation Divide. Reading Religion (2018):
  • Review of Nicole D. Smith, Sartorial Strategies: Outfitting Aristocrats and Fashioning Conduct in Late Medieval Literature. H-France 15, 185 (2015):



  • ‘Feuille de Vigne’, Sous les yeux de Mme d’Epinay, Conférence & Performance, avec l’artiste Angela Marzullo, Théâtre Grütli, 23 septembre, 2019
  • ‘Chaussures et métaphores corporelles au Moyen Âge’, Journée d’étude: Regards croisés autour de l’objet médiéval: Chausses et chaussures, Musée de Cluny, Paris, 21 mai, 2019
  • ‘Grappling with Humour in its many forms: The Language of Play and Acts of Torture in the Early English Passion Plays’, Humour and Obscenity in the Medieval and Early Modern World, MEMSA Conference, Durham University, 9-10 July, 2018
  • ‘Experiencing Comedy in Early English Biblical Drama’, Cities of Readers III: The Performance of Texts, Leeds International Medieval Conference, July 2-5
  • ‘Approaching Sacred Comedy in Early English Drama’, Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society, New Voices Panel,Kalamazoo International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 10-13
  • ‘Sacred Comedy in Early English Drama’, Institute for the Advanced Studies of the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, February 2018
  • ‘The Humour of the Slaughter of the Innocents Plays’, Leeds International Medieval Conference, July 2017
  • ‘A Critical Reassessment of Dramatic Terminology, or The Problem with Mimesis’, Cultures of Performance, Medieval English Theatre (MeTh), University of Glasgow, March 2017
  • ‘Imitation in the Visitatio Sepulchri’. Société Internationale de Théâtre Médiéval (SITM), Durham, 2016
  • ‘Clothing and the Postlapsarian Body in Early English Drama’, International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, 2013, Winner of the 2014 Alexandra F. Johnston Prize for best graduate research paper:

Medieval Literature and Comparative Literature