Renée Trilling

Professor / Angus Cameron Professor of Old English


Department of English

Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • Old and Middle English literature
  • theories of historiography and nationalism
  • linguistics and philology
  • new materialisms
  • gender studies
  • medievalism and popular culture
  • critical theory


Renée R. Trilling is Angus Cameron Professor of Old English at the University of Toronto. She specializes in the language, literature, and culture of England in the pre-Conquest period.

Her first monograph, The Aesthetics of Nostalgia: Historical Representation in Old English Verse (Toronto, 2009; winner of the International Society for the Study of Early Medieval England’s Best First Book Award), explores the relationship between poetic form and historical consciousness in early English vernacular verse. She is also author of the Oxford Bibliography of Old English Literature and Critical Theory (Oxford, 2016) and co-editor of A Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Studies (with Jacqueline A. Fay; Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), Textual Identities in Early Medieval England: Essays in Honour of Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe (with Jacqueline A. Fay and Rebecca Stephenson; D. S. Brewer, 2022) and Feminist Approaches to Early Medieval English Studies (with Robin Norris and Rebecca Stephenson; Amsterdam University Press, 2023). She is a former Editor for Old English of JEGP: Journal of English and Germanic Philology, published by the University of Illinois Press. 

Her research has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Humanities Research Institute and Center for Advanced Study at Illinois. She has published articles on Beowulf, Wulfstan the Homilist, Ælfric’s hagiography, vernacular historiography, wisdom poetry, and early medieval medicine, focusing on issues of gender, materiality, nostalgia, and literary form. Her current work draws on posthumanist trends in neuroscience, quantum physics, and philosophy to explore the role of materiality in early medieval notions of subjectivity. Before coming to Toronto, she taught at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from 2004-2023.


PhD: University of Notre Dame, English (medieval concentration), 2004
MA: University of Notre Dame, English (medieval concentration), 2001
BA: University of Wisconsin-Madison, English and German (with Honors), 1997