My research focuses on meter and poetics (what makes poetry tick). I am especially interested in poetry from the medieval period, which has led to an interest in periodization itself. All of my scholarship addresses the historicity of early English literature: its forms and cultural meanings, and how those are mediated by modern disciplinary study. My scholarly method bridges ‘formalism’ and ‘historicism.’ I am interested in the social implications of literature, the phenomenology of poetry reading, and how we come to know what we think we know about the past. These interests converge on William Langland’s Piers Plowman, an enigmatic long alliterative poem of the fourteenth century.

My first two monographs rearticulated English literary history through the cultural lives of metrical traditions, a new approach I call “verse history.” One reviewer praised the methodologies of my second monograph, Meter and Modernity in English Verse, 1350-1650, as “artisanal philology.”

My current project, Unheard Melodies: Apophatic Poetics in English Literature, brings my interests in phenomenological poetics to the full gamut of English literature, from Beowulf to Claudia Rankine, and to the music of Bob Dylan, with emphasis on the fourteenth and twenty-first centuries. Pivoting historically around John Keats’s translation of Christian theological apophaticism into lyric poetry, Unheard Melodies concerns the paradoxical power of literature to represent what literature cannot represent: novels no one can read, lyrics no one can hear, syllables no one can pronounce, spaces no one can inhabit, experiences no one can have, and more. While poetry is the focus, one chapter considers Vladimir Nabokov’s novels-within-novels. A separate series of notes and articles reconsiders the Latin poetry of John Gower.

My next project is in textual criticism. I have a contract with the University of Exeter Press to produce an annotated student edition of the A-text of Langland’s Piers Plowman, modeled on Derek Pearsall’s Exeter edition of the C-text.

I obtained my BA in English and Classical Civilization from Wesleyan University. My MA and PhD in English Language and Literature, and an MPhil in Medieval Studies, are from Yale University.

Eric Weiskott, Meter and Modernity in English Verse, 1350-1650
The Shapes of Early English Poetry, ed. Irina Dumitrescu and Eric Weiskott
Eric Weiskott, English Alliterative Verse


Meter and Modernity in English Verse, 1350-1650. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021. [JSTOR]

English Alliterative Verse: Poetic Tradition and Literary History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Paperback 2019. [Cambridge Core]

scholarly edition

William Langland, Piers Plowman: A New Annotated Edition of the A-text, ed. Eric Weiskott. University of Exeter Press, under contract.

edited collections

with Irina Dumitrescu, The Shapes of Early English Poetry: Style, Form, History. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute, 2019. In honor of Roberta Frank.

with Stephanie L. Batkie, “Chaucer’s Langland.” Yearbook of Langland Studies 32 (2018): 237-389. An essay cluster.


“Enigma, Audience, Locale: The Ruin as a Riddle.” Journal of English and Germanic Philology (forthcoming).

“‘Loquela gravis iuvat’: Gower’s O deus immense and the Place of Poetry, 1398-1400.” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 45 (2023).

“Lost Sheep: Metaphor and Simony in John Gower’s Latin Poetry.” Studia Neophilologica (forthcoming).

“Poetry and the Inapprehensible: A Genealogy.” ELH (forthcoming).

The Elusive Transformation of Alliterative Meter.” Chaucer Review 58 (2023): 208–31. []

Cumulative Revision in John Gower’s Quicquid homo scribat.” English Studies 103 (2022): 547-54.

Gower’s Quatrains: Language, Rhyme, Occasion.” English Studies 103 (2022): 777-86.

The Meter of the Ophni and Phineas Insertion in Piers Plowman.Studia Metrica et Poetica 9.2 (2022): 117-32. []

Futures Past: Prophecy, Periodization, and Reinhart Koselleck.” New Literary History 52 (2021): 169-88. []

with Ian Cornelius, “The Intricacies of Counting to Four in Old English Poetry.” Language and Literature 30 (2021): 249-75. [] [Loyola University Chicago eCommons]

A Checklist of Short and Fragmentary Unrhymed English Alliterative Poems, 1300-1600.” Notes and Queries 67 (2020): 340-47. []

The End of the Line? Alliterative Meter, Macaronic Style, and Piers Plowman.Studies in Philology 117 (2020): 225-39. []

English Political Prophecy and the Problem of Modernity.” postmedieval 10 (2019): 8-21. []

The Exeter Book and the Idea of a Poem.” English Studies 100 (2019): 591-603. []

Political Prophecy and the Form of Piers Plowman.” Viator 50 (2019): 207-47. []

with Stephanie L. Batkie, “Introduction.” Yearbook of Langland Studies 32 (2018): 237-44. For the “Chaucer’s Langland” essay cluster. []

Manley Hopkins’ Copy of Piers Plowman: Medievalism and Historicism.” Hopkins Quarterly 45 (2018): 101-18. []

Alliterative Meter and English Literary History, 1700-2000.” ELH 84 (2017): 259-85. []

Early English Meter as a Way of Thinking.” Studia Metrica et Poetica 4.1 (2017): 41-65. []

The Ireland Prophecy: Text and Metrical Context.” Studies in Philology 114 (2017): 245-77. [] [companion website]

Before Prosody: Early English Poetics in Practice and Theory.” Modern Language Quarterly 77 (2016): 473-98. [] [Stanford ARCADE]

Grass-Bed: A Poetic Compound in the Alliterative Tradition.” Anglia 134 (2016): 587-603. []

A New Text of the Marvels of Merlin.” Journal of the Early Book Society 19 (2016): 227-39. []

Piers Plowman and the Durable Alliterative Tradition.” Yearbook of Langland Studies 30 (2016): 123-73. []

Prophetic Piers Plowman: New Sixteenth-Century Excerpts.” Review of English Studies 67 (2016): 21-41. []

Systematicity, a Missing Term in Historical Metrics.” Language and Literature 25 (2016): 328-42. []

Alliterative Metre and the Textual Criticism of the Gawain Group.” Yearbook of Langland Studies 29 (2015): 151-75. []

The Meter of Widsith and the Distant Past.” Neophilologus 99 (2015): 143-50. []

Old English Poetry, Verse by Verse.” Anglo-Saxon England 44 (2015): 95-130. []

Chaucer the Forester: The Friar’s Tale, Forest History, and Officialdom.” Chaucer Review 47 (2013): 323-36. []

Phantom Syllables in the English Alliterative Tradition.” Modern Philology 110 (2013): 441-58. []

Making Beowulf Scream: Exclamation and the Punctuation of Old English Poetry.” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 111 (2012): 25-41. []

book chapters

“The Prefix License and the Elusive Transformation of Alliterative Metre.” In Metre and Rhythm in Medieval and Early Modern English Poetry, ed. Omar Khalaf, Alessandra Petrina, and Allison Steenson (essay submitted; volume in progress).

“Prose Form and Poetic Metre.” In The Oxford Handbook of Middle English Prose, ed. Sebastian Sobecki and Emily Steiner (Oxford: Oxford University Press, under contract).

with the assistance of Celia Smithmier, “The Death of Blanche the Duchess.” In The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. Julia Boffey and A. S. G. Edwards (Cambridge University Press, under contract).

“English Prophecy Books: Genre, Compilation, Periodization.” In Poetics before Modernity: Literary Theory in the West from Antiquity to 1700, ed. Vladimir Brljak and Micha Lazarus (Oxford University Press, under contract).

“Rhythm.” In The Cambridge Companion to the Poemed. Sean Pryor (Cambridge University Press, under contract).

“Verse Forms and Prosody.” In The Oxford History of Poetry in English, Volume 3: Medieval Poetry, 1400–1500, ed. Julia Boffey and A. S. G. Edwards (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023), 76-90. []

“Charles d’Orléans’ English Metrical Phonology.” In Charles d’Orléans’ English Aesthetic: The Form, Poetics, and Style of “Fortunes Stabilnes”, ed. R. D. Perry and Mary-Jo Arn (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2020), 122-44. []

“The Idea of Bede in English Political Prophecy.” In Remembering the Medieval Present: Generative Uses of England’s Pre-Conquest Past, 10th to 15th Centuries, ed. Jay Paul Gates and Brian O’Camb (Leiden: Brill, 2019), 270-88. []

with Irina Dumitrescu, “Introduction.” In The Shapes of Early English Poetry: Style, Form, History, ed. Dumitrescu and Eric Weiskott (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute, 2019), 1-12.

“The Paris Psalter and English Literary History.” In The Shapes of Early English Poetry: Style, Form, History, ed. Irina Dumitrescu and Eric Weiskott (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute, 2019), 107-34. []

Alliterative Verse.” In Oxford Bibliographies in British and Irish Literature, ed. Andrew Hadfield (2018) (commissioned). []

Multispectral Imaging and Medieval Manuscripts.” In The Routledge Research Companion to Digital Medieval Literature, ed. Jennifer E. Boyle and Helen J. Burgess (London: Routledge, 2018), 186-96. []

Puns and Poetic Style in Old English.” In Etymology and Wordplay in Medieval Literature, ed. Mikael Males (Turnhout: Brepols, 2018), 191-211. []

“William Langland’s Piers Plowman.” In Major Authors and Movements in British Literature, ed. Kirilka Stavreva, for the electronic resource Gale Researcher (2017) (commissioned). []

Alliterative Meter after 1450: The Vision of William Banastre.” In Early English Poetic Culture and Meter: The Influence of G. R. Russom, ed. Lindy Brady and M. J. Toswell (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute, 2016), 149-79. [] [companion website]

Lawman, the Last Old English Poet and the First Middle English Poet.” In Laʒamon’s “Brut” and Other Medieval Chronicles: 14 essays, ed. Marie-Françoise Alamichel (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2013), 11-57. []

recent and forthcoming notes

“Alliterative Verse.” In The Chaucer Encyclopedia, ed. Richard Newhauser (Blackwell, forthcoming).

“Meter and Metrics.” In The Chaucer Encyclopedia, ed. Richard Newhauser (Blackwell, forthcoming).

“William Thynne’s Copy of the Book of the Duchess.” The Library (forthcoming).

Dreaming of Cicero in John Gower’s Cultor in ecclesia.” ANQ (online). []

The Eagle Has Landed: A Prophetic Pun in John Gower’s Cronica tripertita.” ANQ (online). []

Linguistic Change and Metre: A Reply.” Notes and Queries (online).

Flesh and Veil: Anglo-French Wordplay in Ada or Ardor.” The Nabokovian 84 (2023): [1-3]. []

Claudia Rankine and Robert Lowell, Again.” The Explicator 80 (2022): 103–105.

The Date and Style of John Gower’s Ecce patet tensus.” Notes and Queries 69 (2022): 277-81.

with Joon Park, “Middle English araten and Scenes of Condescension in Piers Plowman.” The Explicator 80 (2022): 73–7.

Nicolay Yakovlev’s Theory of Old English Meter: A Reply.” ANQ 35 (2022): 433-36. []

The Occasion of John Gower’s Unanimes esse.” Notes and Queries 69 (2022): 192-96.

On the Oxymora in John Gower’s Est amor in glosa.” Notes and Queries 69 (2022): 273-77.

The Subject of John Gower’s Dicunt scripture.” Notes and Queries 69 (2022): 196-98.

“William Langland Translates Cicero.” Medium Ævum 91 (2022): 338-42. []

John Gower and ‘John of Bridlington’: An Unnoticed Borrowing.” Notes and Queries 68 (2021): 160-62. []

On Emending Beowulf 2088a.” ANQ 34 (2021): 9-10. []

Proverbs and Chaucer’s Metrical Practice.” Notes and Queries 68 (2021): 253-55.

Stanza-Linking in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: The Phenomenology of Narrative.” Neophilologus 105 (2021): 457-61. []

older notes, and book reviews

See here.