Amy Ogden

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
434-924-1393
361 New Cabell Hall

 

Office Hours:
 

Tuesday 
9:00 am - 10:00 am 
Thursday
9:45 am - 10:45 am

 

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts (AB/MA), Bryn Mawr College
  • Master of Arts (MA), Princeton University
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Princeton University

Research Interests

My current research focuses on medieval French hagiography and new technologies. French narratives about saints (called "Lives") exemplify many of the complexities of medieval literary culture: they are literary and historical, spiritual and secular, original and derivative of their Latin sources. They also offer rich testimony on subjects as varied as gender norms, family relations, lay spirituality, government, and the wide range of medieval spiritualities. Additionally, because their efficacy depends so much on targeting very specific audiences, the tremendous variation among manuscript copies of any Life dramatically emphasizes the instability of medieval texts. Finally French hagiography appeals to me because it is an under-used resource: a tremendous number of Lives remain to be studied, translated and even edited.

One of the unifying aims of my various projects is to facilitate and encourage such work. New technologies offer the possibility of exploring and representing the variable and interactive nature of hagiography, as well as of providing access to the materials necessary to study the genre. My web-based Lives of the Saints: The Medieval French Hagiography Project, at UVA's Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities , will exploit the flexibility of its medium in order to make visible many of the characteristics that escape elegant representation in print, such as the continuing role of the audience in creating the texts and the uniqueness of each manuscript. The project, which is currently under construction, offers employment to both undergraduate and graduate students: please contact me (avo2n@virginia.edu) if you are interested in working on it. My research for Lives of the Saints concurrently serves my work on a book-length study of French hagiographic poetics in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Representative Courses

  • Reading and Writing Texts
  • Literature of the Middle Ages and 16th Century
  • Medieval Beasts
  • Love in Medieval Literature
  • Medieval Saints' Lives
  • Medieval Literature in Modern French I
  • Pregnant Kings and Transvestite Saints: Gender in the Middle Ages (in translation)

Teaching

Beneath their delightfully and deceptively simple surfaces, medieval tales and songs of chivalry, love, foibles and virtues offer—to readers at any level—endlessly intriguing images of a past world. Examining these texts not only reveals the origins of many modern beliefs and practices, but also, more profoundly, challenges our assumptions about the modern world, about the Middle Ages, and especially about the distance between the two periods.

In addition to encouraging my students to appreciate the dynamism of medieval culture, I seek to provide a supportive, challenging and structured environment in which students can refine their critical skills and develop confidence as writers, readers and speakers. As an advisor, I enjoy helping my students explore their interests, discover and profit from resources both at UVA and abroad, and progress efficiently toward their goals.