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Kathryn Starkey



Pigott Hall 107
650 724 3622

Office Hours:

2017-2018: On sabbatical

Research Groups:

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Affinity links:

medieval and early modern literature
Medieval literature and visual culture (the gothiccathedral)
medieval literature
German literature
visual culture
history of the book
Gender and Sexuality

Kathryn Starkey

Professor of German Studies and, by courtesy, of English

Director, Department of German Studies

Kathryn Starkey is Professor of German in the Department of German Studies and, by courtesy, Professor of English. Her primary research interests are medieval and early modern Germanic literature and culture with an emphasis on visuality, material culture, language, performativity, and the history of the book.

Professor Starkey is the author of Reading the Medieval Book: Word, Image, and Performance in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s “Willehalm” (2004), and A Courtier’s Mirror: Cultivating Elite Identity in Thomasin's "Welscher Gast" (2013). She also co-authored (with Edith Wenzel) an edition, translation, and commentary of songs by the medieval poet Neidhart (ca. 1210-1240) entitled Neidhart: Selected Songs from the Riedegg Manuscript (2016). She additionally co-edited (with Horst Wenzel) Imagination und Deixis: Studien zur Wahrnehmung im Mittelalter (2007), and Visual Culture and the German Middle Ages (2005). Together with Ann Marie Rasmussen and Jutta Eming, she conducted a three-year research project funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation TransCoop Program on “Tristan and Isolde and Cultures of Emotion in the Middle Ages.” This project culminated in the co-edited volume Visuality and Materiality in the Story of Tristan (2012).

Her current projects include a book on "Textile Poetics" that explores the medieval fascination with textiles. This project examines textiles in literature as metaphor, conceptual paradigm for artistic production, and material object. Professor Starkey is also the PI on the Global Medieval Sourcebook (, an online compendium of original medieval texts and their translations in an accessible, user-friendly, open-source format. This project, which is currently in development, will also provide commentaries on the texts, and links to online manuscripts and other relevant materials to enable scholars to use the site for research and teaching.

Professor Starkey has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Humanities Center, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the UNC Institute for the Arts and the Humanities, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Before joining the faculty at Stanford in 2012 she taught in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 



1998: Ph.D., German Literature and Culture, University of California, Berkeley
1993: MA., Germanic Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley
1990: B.A. Honours, German, Linguistics, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada


DLCL 354A DLCL Film Series: Rebel With a Cause (DLCL 152A)
GERMAN 191 German Capstone Project
GERMAN 199 Individual Work
GERMAN 399 Individual Work
GERMAN 802 TGR Dissertation


At Stanford

  • Mareike Reisch, Topic: Cultural Encounters in Late Medieval Travelogues (expected completion Spring 2021).
  • Björn Buschbeck, Topic: Reading Practices in Late Medieval Prayer Books (expected completion Spring 2020).
  • Robert Forke, Topic: Parody in Medieval German Literature (expected completion Spring 2020).
  • Mae Lyons-Penner, Topic: Knighthood in the Medieval French and German Prose Romance (expected completion Spring 2020).
  • Christopher Hutchinson, “Going Viral: Illness, Masculinity and Media in German Early Modern Culture” (expected completion Spring 2019).
  • Gráinne Watson, “Conceptions of Time in Medieval German Literature” (Spring 2015).

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Nicolai Ostrau, Locating Feeling: Emotion and Space in Middle High German Courtly Literature. Completed May 2011.
  • James Hamilton Brown, Imagining the Text: Ekphrasis and Envisioning Courtly Identity in Wirnt von Gravenberg's Wigalois. Completed May 2006.
  • April Lynn Henry, The Female Lament: Agency and Gender in Medieval German Literature. Completed December 2009.