Professor and Department Head of English, Theatre, Film, & Media

625 Fletcher Argue Building


David Watt loves studying literature and the technologies that have been used to share it. He has a special place in my heart for manuscripts and early printed books, which constantly remind him of the commitment needed to create and share opportunities for learning. It is not easy to make a book by hand, nor is it easy to set type and cast off pages on a printing press, yet people have devoted countless hours to these activities. By so doing, those who make books reveal their commitment not only to the ideas they wish to share but to the audiences with whom they hope to share them. David tries to show a similar level of commitment when he writes, whether alone or with others, and he takes the same approach to course design, campus events, and even meetings. As a teacher, editor, and colleague, he values the opportunity to learn from and with others and he has found books to be an excellent catalyst for doing that and for explaining why he thinks it is so important.


  • D. Phil. (English), University of Oxford, 2004
  • M. St. (English, Medieval), University of Oxford, 2001
  • MA (English) University of Alberta, 1999
  • BA (Hons, English), University of Alberta, 1998

Course List

  • ENGL 1200 Representative Literary Works
  • ENGL 2080 Medieval Literature 
  • ENGL 2620 Introduction to Print Culture & Book History
  • ENGL 3000 Chaucer
  • ENGL 3080 Studies in Medieval Literature: Games & Thrones
  • ENGL 3800 Studies in Special Topics: King Arthur and the Matter of Britain


Undergraduate and Graduate Seminars

  • Awkwardness & Grace
  • Imagination & Invention
  • Old Books...New Science 
  • Heresy, Crusade, and the Definition of Belief in Later Medieval England




Laughter & Awkwardness in Late Medieval England: Social Discomfort in the Literature of the Middle Ages. Bloomsbury, 2023.

The Making of Thomas Hoccleve’s Series. Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies. Liverpool University Press, 2013.


Recent Edited Volumes

With Jenni Nuttall, ed. Thomas Hoccleve: New Approaches. D. S. Brewer, 2022

With Kathy Cawsey, ed. Florilegium 36: 40th Anniversary Volume (1979-2019): Past Presidents’ Addresses, 2023 (for 2019).

As guest editor. Florilegium 33: Medieval Manuscripts in Canada. 2019 (for 2016). 


Recent Articles and Book Chapters

With Kathy Cawsey. “Introduction: A Celebration of Florilegium’s Fortieth Anniversary,” Florilegium 36: 40th Anniversary Volume (1979-2019): Past Presidents’ Addresses. 2023 (for 2019): 1-6.

With Jenni Nuttall, “Thomas Hoccleve: Then and Now,” in Thomas Hoccleve: New Approaches, 1-22. Ed. Jenni Nuttall and DavidWatt. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2022.

“‘Mescreauntz,’ Schism, and the Plight of Constantinople: Evidence for Dating and Reading London, BL Additional MS 59495.” John Gower in Manuscript and Early Printed Books, 131-51. Ed. R. F. Yeager, Martha Driver, and Derek Pearsall, 131-51. Cambridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2020.

“The Collegiate Gothic: Legitimacy and Inheritance in Robertson Davies’ The Rebel Angels.” English Canadian Medievalism: Romance and Allegory, 97-112. Ed.Anna Czarnowus and Jane Toswell. Cambridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2020.

With Elizabeth-Anne Johnston. “Two Gilbertine Fragments at the University of Manitoba.” in Florilegium, vol. 36 (for 2018): 105-125.

“Introduction: What do we study when we study manuscripts in Canada?” Florilegium, vol. 33: Medieval Manuscripts in Canada. 2019 (for 2016): 1-14.

With Sharon Wright, and Paul Dyck. “The Study of Renaissance and Reformation Books on the Canadian Prairies.” Renaissance and Reformation Studies 37.3. (2014): 235-262.