Professor, Department of English and Centre for Medieval Studies
Sebastian Sobecki is a professor in the Department of English and the Centre for Medieval Studies. He received his PhD, MPhil., BA — all from the University of Cambridge. Before joining the University of Toronto, he taught for two years at Bochum University in Germany, three years at McGill University, and twelve years at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
He is a recipient of the John Hurt Fisher Prize from the John Gower Society, and he has received research funding from SSHRC, the British Academy, Cambridge University, Québec's FQRSC, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). His visiting fellowships include All Souls College (Oxford), the Huntington Library, Magdalen College (Oxford), and Yale University. He is the Morton W. Bloomfield Fellow for 2023 at Harvard University’s English Department.
Sobecki’s research covers a wide area of late medieval literary culture, including: law, travel, politics, authorship, manuscripts and palaeography. He is particularly interested in Gower, Chaucer, Hoccleve, Kempe, Lydgate and Skelton. He has just finished editing all the medieval texts printed by the early modern travel writer Richard Hakluyt in his Principal Navigations (Oxford UP, in two volumes).
He has also completed the edited collection Global Medieval Travel Writing: A Literary History (Cambridge UP) and is preparing The Oxford Handbook of Middle English Prose (Oxford UP) with Emily Steiner. He is working on two monographs: The Invention of Colonialism: Richard Hakluyt and Medieval Travel Writing (Cambridge UP, Elements series), and a study of the handwriting and literary culture of London's bureaucratic clerks.
His board memberships include The Journal of the Early Book Society, the Index of Middle English Prose, Maritime Humanities 1400-1800: Cultures of the Sea (Routledge), and Texts and Transitions: Studies in the History of Manuscripts and Printed Books (Brepols). He is a former trustee of the Hakluyt Society and, together with Michelle Karnes, edits the journal Studies in the Age of Chaucer.