Renée Trilling

Professor; Angus Cameron Professor of Old English; Graduate Faculty; Undergraduate Instructor; Faculty, Centre for Medieval Studies
Jackman Humanities Building, Department of English, Room 905, 170 St. George Street, Toronto, ON, M5R 2M8


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • Theories of Historiography and Nationalism 
  • Linguistics and Philology
  • New Materialisms
  • Medievalism and Popular Culture


Renée R. Trilling is Angus Cameron Professor of Old English at the University of Toronto. She specializes in the language, literature, and culture of England in the pre-Conquest period.

Her first monograph, The Aesthetics of Nostalgia: Historical Representation in Old English Verse (Toronto, 2009; winner of the International Society for the Study of Early Medieval England’s Best First Book Award), explores the relationship between poetic form and historical consciousness in early English vernacular verse. Her current work draws on posthumanist trends in neuroscience, quantum physics, and philosophy to explore the role of materiality in early medieval notions of subjectivity. 

Professor Trilling's research has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Humanities Research Institute and Center for Advanced Study at Illinois. She has published articles on Beowulf, Wulfstan the Homilist, Ælfric’s hagiography, vernacular historiography, wisdom poetry, and early medieval medicine, focusing on issues of gender, materiality, nostalgia, and literary form. Before coming to Toronto, she taught at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from 2004-2023, and she is a former Editor for Old English of JEGP: Journal of English and Germanic Philology, published by the University of Illinois Press. 



The Aesthetics of Nostalgia: Historical Representation in Old English Verse. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009.

Edited Collections

Feminist Approaches to Early Medieval English Studies. Ed. Robin Norris, Rebecca Stephenson, and Renée R. Trilling. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2023.

Textual Identities in Early Medieval England: Essays in Honour of Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe. Ed. Jacqueline A. Fay, Rebecca Stephenson, and Renée R. Trilling. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2022.

A Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Studies. Ed. Jacqueline Stodnick and Renée R. Trilling. Critical Theory Handbooks 1. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

Journal Special Issues

A Feminist Renaissance in Early Medieval English Studies. Ed. Robin Norris, Renée R. Trilling, and Rebecca Stephenson. Special issue of English Studies, 101.1 (February 2020).

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

“Translatio medicinae: Mediterranean Sources in an English Climate.” In Sources of Knowledge: Studies in Early Insular Literary Cultures in Honor of Charles D. Wright. Ed. Stephanie Clark, Shannon Godlove, Janet Ericksen. (Turnhout: Brepols, 2023).

“Ordering Chaos in Old English Wisdom Poetry.” In Forms of Catastrophe. Ed. Shannon Gayk and Evelyn Reynolds. Special Issue of Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 52.1 (Jan 2022): 69-92.

“Health and Healing in the Anglo-Saxon World.” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History 13 (2019): 41-69.


BA, University of Wisconsin-Madison, English and German (with Honors), 1997
MA, University of Notre Dame, English (medieval concentration), 2001
PhD, University of Notre Dame, English (medieval concentration), 2004