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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Professor Mark Chinca

Prof Mark Chinca
Professor of Medieval German and Comparative Literature
On research leave with a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship from September 2023 to September 2026
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 338 542

Trinity College
United Kingdom


Mark Chinca studied in Cambridge and Kiel and joined the teaching staff of the German Section in 1988. A specialist in medieval literature with a comparative focus on German, Romance, and Latin, his primary research interests are in fiction, rhetoric, and metaphor; courtly literature; religious and devotional writing; the literature of death and dying in medieval and early modern Europe; the emergence of vernacular textual culture in the Middle Ages.

Between 2012 and 2018 Mark co-directed the Kaiserchronik project with Christopher Young, a collaboration with experts in Marburg and Heidelberg to produce a digital edition of the Kaiserchronik (2018), a mid twelfth-century chronicle of Roman and German history and one of the first verse chronicles in any European vernacular. Also with Christopher Young, Mark convened a series of colloquia in Cambridge and Princeton which led to the publication of Literary Beginnings in the European Middle Ages (2022), a collective literary history which asks how vernacular textual cultures began and what processes of consolidation and institutionalization had to be complete before we can speak meaningfully of “literature” in any given language. Another recent book is Meditating Death in Medieval and Early Modern Devotional Writing (2020); it explores the role of written texts in disseminating and controlling devotional practice across western Europe both before and after the Protestant Reformation. 

From 2023-26 Mark holds a Major Research Fellowship of the Leverhulme Trust and will be working on “The formation of medieval German literature.” The project traces the multiple and cumulative beginnings of traditions of textual practice in the German-speaking world over a long timespan from the ninth to the thirteenth century.

Published works: 


  • Meditating Death in Medieval and Early Modern Devotional Writing: From Bonaventure to Luther. Oxford University Press, 2020. Pbk 2023.
  • Gottfried von Strassburg: Tristan. Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • History, Fiction, Verisimilitude: Studies in the Poetics of Gottfried’s ‘Tristan’. London: Modern Humanities Research Association / Institute of Germanic Studies, 1993.


  • Kaiserchronik. Elektronische Ausgabe. Edited by Mark Chinca, Helen Hunter, Jürgen Wolf, Christopher Young. Heidelberg: Universitätsbibliothek, 2018.

Edited books and journal special issues:

  • Literary Beginnings in the European Middle Ages. Edited by Mark Chinca and Christopher Young. Cambridge University Press, 2022.
  • Sammeln als literarische Praxis im Mittelalter und in der Frühen Neuzeit. Konzepte, Praktiken, Poetizität.  Edited by Mark Chinca, Manfred Eikelmann, Michael Stolz, and Christopher Young. Tübingen: Francke Verlag, 2022.
  • Medieval Studies and Digital Philology in the German-Speaking World. Edited by Mark Chinca and Christopher Young. Digital Philology 6, no. 2 (Fall 2017).
  • Mittelalterliche Novellistik im europäischen Kontext. Kulturwissenschaftliche Perspektiven. Edited by Mark Chinca, Timo Felber, and Christopher Young. Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag, 2006. 
  • Orality and Literacy in the Middle Ages. Edited by Mark Chinca and Christopher Young. Turnhout: Brepols, 2005.
  • Blütezeit. Edited by Mark Chinca, Joachim Heinzle, and Christopher Young. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2000. Repr. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, 2012.
  • The Practice of Medieval Literature. Edited by Mark Chinca, Simon Gaunt, Sarah Kay, and Nicolette Zeeman. Forum for Modern Language Studies 33, no. 3 (1997).
  • Displacement and Recognition. Edited by Mark Chinca, Simon Gaunt, Sarah Kay, and Nicolette Zeeman. Paragraph 13, no. 2 (1990).

For a complete list of publications see here.