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Jane Beal, PhD is an Associate Researcher in the Department of English at the University of California, Davis. She holds a BA (Sonoma State University), MA (Sonoma State University), and PhD (UC Davis) in English literature, with specializations in medieval literature, classical mythology, and the literature of the Bible. She also holds a Certificate in Midwifery from Mercy in Action. She has served as an Associate Professor at Colorado Christian University and a visiting Assistant Professor at Wheaton College as well as a midwife in the U.S., Uganda, and the Philippines. She teaches literature, creative writing, and composition and rhetoric.
In her research, Jane focuses on medieval poetry, history, and Judeo-Christian contemplative spiritual practices. She writes on the exquisitely beautiful, fourteenth-century, Middle English dream vision called Pearl. She has produced three books on the poem: an academic monograph, The Signifying Power of Pearl: Medieval Literary and Cultural Contexts for the Transformation of Genre (Routledge, 2017); a dual-language edition-translation of the poem, Pearl: A Medieval Masterpiece in Middle English and Modern English (requested for review); and a co-edited collection of pedagogical essays, Approaches to Teaching the Middle English Pearl (MLA, forthcoming).
She is also the author of John Trevisa and the English Polychronicon (ACMRS and Brepols, 2012), editor of Illuminating Moses: A History of Reception from Exodus to the Renaissance (Brill, 2014), and co-editor of the festschrift, Translating the Past: Essays on Medieval Literature in Honor of Marijane Osborn (ACMRS, 2012). She is currently writing Becoming the Bride: The Sponsa Christi Ideal in Medieval and Early Modern English Culture and editing Illuminating Jesus in the Middle Ages (Brill, in progress). Her contribution to the latter volume is a chapter called, "The Unicorn as a Symbol for Christ in Medieval Culture."
In addition to her peer-reviewed studies of medieval literature and culture, Jane has written and published numerous works of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. Her poetry collections include Rising: Poems for America (Wipf & Stock, 2015) and Sanctuary (Finishing Line Press, 2008) as well three recording projects that combine poetry and music: Songs from the Secret Life (Shiloh Studio of Sound, 2009), Love-Song (The Poetry Place, 2010), and The Jazz Bird (Fire-Water Phoenix Studios, 2014), now available on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. Her short stories appear in Crux Literary Journal, Dappled Things, Literature Today, Pacific Review, Voices Project, and Main Street Rag’s anthology, Law & Disorder, and her biographical essays in American Writers, British Writers, and Midwifery Today.
Jane is a knowledgable, enthusiastic teacher whose work in the classroom has been recognized with awards from UC Davis. Her articles on teaching medieval literature appear in This Rough Magic, The Once and Future Classroom, and SMART: Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching. She has taught many courses in the Department of English, the University Writing Program, and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (now the Center for Educational Effectiveness), including lively seminars on "The Mythology of J.R.R. Tolkien." At all times, she loves to see her students learn, grow, and succeed.