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Lara Farina

Lara Farina

Associate Professor

Ph.D. Fordham University

Office: 335 Colson Hall
Tel: 293-9715
Fax: 293-5380

Lara Farina specializes in British and continental medieval literature, medieval piety, and histories of gender and sexuality. She is the author of Erotic Discourse and Early English Religious Writing (Palgrave 2006) and has published articles about eroticized reading practices, medieval women’s devotional literature, and queer approaches to the history of sexuality. Her current research focuses on medieval ideas about sensation, particularly the sense of touch. She teaches the undergraduate courses, British Literature to 1800 (ENGL 261), Non-Western World Literature (ENGL 226), and Sexual Diversity in Literature and Film (ENGL 288), as well as courses in Chaucer (ENGL 361) and Literature of the Middle Ages (ENGL 360). At the graduate level, she has offered courses in medieval topics such as “Visions and Wonders,” “Blasphemy,” and “Textual Communities.”


Medieval Literature

Selected Publications


Erotic Discourse and Early English Religious Writing. NY: Palgrave, 2006.

  • Examines the uses and reception of erotic rhetoric in monastic, anchoritic, and mendicant-affiliated texts from the tenth to thirteenth centuries. Pays special attention to reading as a spatial practice and traces an evolving articulation of sexual fantasy as spatially private.


  • “Headless and Loving It: Wondrous Skin and Tactile Affection.” forthcoming in Reading Medieval Skin, ed. Katie Walter (Palgrave 2013).
  • “Once More with Feeling: Tactility and Cognitive Alterity, Medieval and Modern.” Forthcoming in Postmedieval (Fall 2012).
  • “Missing Something?: Queer Desire.” forthcoming in Clinical Encounters: Psychoanalytic Practice and Queer Theory, ed. Noreen Giffney and Eve Watson (Routledge, 2012).
  • “Women and Reading.” forthcoming in History of British Women’s Writing, Vol. 1 (1350-1500). (Palgrave, 2011).
  • “Queer History and Erotic Reading.” The Lesbian Premodern, ed. Noreen Giffney, Michelle Sauer, and Diane Watt (Palgrave, 2011).
  • “Money, Books, and Prayers: Anchoresses and Exchange in Thirteenth-Century England.” Women, Wealth, and Power in Medieval Europe, ed. Theresa Earenfight (Palgrave, 2010).
  • “Before Affection: Christ I and the Social Erotic.” Exemplaria 13.2 (Fall 2001). 469-96. To be republished in A Companion to the Exeter Christ Poems, ed. Bruce Gilchrist and Caroline Esser (Exeter UP).


  • The Intimate Senses: Taste, Touch, and Smell. (Special issue of Postmedieval, Winter 2012). Co-editor with Holly Dugan.

In progress:

A book project on the sense of touch in medieval culture.

An article on the senses in MS Cotton Nero A.x.

Composition & Rhetoric
Creative Writing
Literary and Cultural Studies
Professional Writing and Editing
the WVU Writing Center