Alexandra Gillespie

Vice-President & Principal, University of Toronto Mississauga; Professor; Graduate Faculty; Undergraduate Instructor
William G. Davis Building, Room 3216, 3359 Mississauga Rd. Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6.


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • Old English, Middle English, and Renaissance Literature
  • Book History and Print Culture Program


Alexandra Gillespie is Vice-President of the University of Toronto and Principal of U of T Mississauga, where she has taught as a professor of English and global book history for the past twenty years. She believes in the power of collaboration and community; and she loves working with colleagues on big projects that make connections across different times, places, and research methods. 

So, her research and teaching range widely: from the poetics of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to the history of text technologies, from scientific approaches to book history to literary theory and philosophy. On these topics she has published more than fifty articles and six co-edited volumes, plus an original monograph, Print Culture and the Medieval Author, which remains one of the most cited in the field. 

She has also helped launch several international research networks, including as co-primary investigator of a Mellon-funded project, The Book and the Silk Roads, which culminated in 2021-22 in a public exhibit at the Aga Kahn Museum. Her current research project—also supported by the Mellon foundation—is Hidden Stories, which brings together more than 130 collaborators from 60 institutions to develop new understandings of premodern books through their local and global relations. 

Representative Publications

The Unfinished Book. Oxford Twenty-First Century Approaches to Literature. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2020. (co-edited with Deidre Lynch).  

Medieval English Manuscripts: Form, Aesthetics, and the Literary Text, special issue of The Chaucer Review 47.4 (2013). (co-edited with Arthur Bahr).

The Production of Books in England, 1350-1500. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011. (co-edited with Daniel Wakelin).

Journal of the Early Book Society. 12.1 (2009). (co-edited with Martha W. Driver).

Print Culture and the Medieval Author: Chaucer, Lydgate, and Their Books, 1473-1557. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. 

Manuscript, Print, and Early Tudor Literature, ed. Special issue of Huntington Library Quarterly 67.2 (2004). 

John Stow (1525-1605) and the Making of the English Past. London: British Library, 2004. (co-edited with Ian Gadd).


“Books and Booklessness in Chaucer’s England.” The Oxford Handbook to Chaucer. Ed. Suzanne Conklin Akbari and James Simpson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2020. 81-97.

“Are The Canterbury Tales a Book?.” Exemplaria 30.1 (2018): 66–83.  

“Fiction and the Origins of Print.” The Oxford History of the Novel. Vol. 1. Ed. Thomas Keymer. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2017. 109–22.  

“Bookbinding and Early Printing in England.” A Companion to Early Printing in England. Ed. Vincent Gillespie and Susan Powell. Woodbridge: Boydell, 2014. 75-94.

“William Caxton and the Invention of the Printed Book.” The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature, 1485-1603. Ed. Cathy Shrank and Mike Pincombe. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 21-36.

“Reading Chaucer’s Words to Adam.” Chaucer Review 42.3 (2008): 269-83. 

“The History of the Book.” New Medieval Literatures 9 (2007): 245-86.


  • Hons. BA, Victoria University of Wellington
  • MSt, University of Oxford
  • DPhil, University of Oxford


Administrative Service

  • Vice-President of the University of Toronto Mississauga. 
  • Principal of the University of Toronto Mississauga.