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Kathryn Starkey



Pigott Hall 218
650 724 3622

Office Hours:

Tuesdays 1:30-3:30

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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, of History and of Comparative Literature

Kathryn Starkey is Professor of German in the Department of German Studies and, by courtesy, Professor of English. Her work focuses primarily on medieval German literature of the eleventh to the thirteenth century. Her research topics cover visuality and materiality, manuscript illustration and transmission, language, performativity, and book history. 

Recent publications include two edited volumes: Animals in Text and Textile. Story-Telling in the Medieval World, edited with Evelin Wetter (Switzerland: Abegg Foundation, 2018), and Sensory Reflections of the Middle Ages, edited with Fiona Griffiths (Berlin/New York: De Gruyter, 2018). She is also the co-author (with Edith Wenzel) of Neidhart: Selected Songs from the Riedegger Manuscript (Western Michigan University: TEAMS series in bilingual medieval German texts, 2016). She is the PI for the Global Medieval Sourcebook ( for which she received the NEH Digital Humanities Advancement Grant (2018) as well as awards from the Roberta Bowman Denning Fund for Humanities and Technologies at Stanford (2016, 2017, 2018). Professor Starkey has been visiting professor at the Universities of Palermo (2011) and Freiburg im Breisgau (2013, 2018).

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 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. 


Selected Publications:


Reading the Medieval Book: Word, Image, and Performance in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s “Willehalm” (2004)

A Courtier’s Mirror: Cultivating Elite Identity in Thomasin's "Welscher Gast" (2013)

Edited Books

Imagination und Deixis: Studien zur Wahrnehmung im Mittelalter (with Horst Wenzel, 2007)

Visual Culture and the German Middle Ages (with Horst Wenzel, 2005)

Visuality and Materiality in the Story of Tristan (with Ann Marie Rasmussen and Jutta Eming, 2012)



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


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” (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.