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The University of Southampton
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Professor Bella Millett 

Professor Emeritus

Professor Bella Millett's photo

Professor Bella Millett is a Professor emeritus of English at the University of Southampton.

BA (Oxon) in English literature, 1967; BPhil (Oxon) in medieval English literature, 1969; DPhil (Oxon) 1977.

I came to English at Southampton as an assistant lecturer in 1969; I became a Reader in 1991, and a Professor in 2008. I retired from the University in September 2014, but maintain a connection with it as an emeritus professor, and continue to carry out research.

I have spent much of my professional life working on the early 13th century West Midlands group of religious prose works whose main representative is Ancrene Wisse, a vernacular rule for women recluses which has been described as 'the major work of early Middle English prose'. I have produced editions of several of the works of the group, most recently a two-volume edition of Ancrene Wisse for the Early English Text Society, accompanied by an annotated translation published by Exeter University Press.

In the past few years my research into the pastoral background of the Ancrene Wisse Group has developed in new directions, and I have been exploring the relatively under-researched relationship of English vernacular preaching in the late 12th and early 13th centuries to contemporary Continental models. I am currently working on an edition of two Middle English sermon-collections from this period, the 'Trinity Homilies' and the 'Lambeth Homilies', for the Early English Text Society.

 I am a member of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture at Southampton.

Research interests

My main interests are in medieval English literature, particularly devotional writings and the literature of preaching, and in the place of England in the new developments in preaching and pastoral care which took place in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. I have a particular interest in editing, and especially the problems raised by those medieval works which cannot be dealt with by traditional editing methods.

 Research projects

I am currently working on an edition of two Middle English sermon-collections from the period around 1200, the 'Trinity Homilies' and the 'Lambeth Homilies', for the Early English Text Society. The aim will be partly to provide a usable modern edition of these homilies (which have not been fully edited since the nineteenth century), partly to place them more firmly within the history of English preaching, investigating their relationship to both native and Continental preaching traditions.

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Book Chapters


  • Millett, B. (1985). Chaucer, Lollius, and the medieval theory of authorship. In P. Strohm, & T. J. Heffernan (Eds.), Studies in the Age of Chaucer, Proceedings, No. 1, 1984: Reconstructing Chaucer (pp. 93-103). (Studies in the Age of Chaucer, Proceedings; No. 1). New Chaucer Society.


Online resources

Professor Bella Millett
Student Office, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton. SO17 1BF United Kingdom

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