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David Williams

Contact Information
Email Address: 
david [dot] williams2 [at] mcgill [dot] ca

McGill University Department of English
853 Sherbrooke Street West
Arts Building
Montreal, QC H3A 0G5 CANADA

Retired Faculty
Professor (retired)

B.A. (Boston); M.A., Ph.D. (Toronto), Professor, Emeritus, Kennedy Smith Professor of Catholic Studies

Teaching Areas: 

Chaucer, the grotesque, Bible, Saints' Lives, mediaeval language theory, Catholic Studies.

Awards, Honours, and Fellowships: 
  • Raymond Klibansky Prize for the Most Outstanding Book in the Humanities, for: "Deformed Discourse: the Function of the Monster in Mediaeval Thought and Literature."
Selected Publications: 


Language Redeemed: Chaucer's Mature Poetry (2007).

Chaucer and Language Eds. Robert Myles and David Williams (2001).

Deformed Discourse: The Function of the Monster in Mediaeval Thought and Literature (1996).

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales: A Literary Pilgrimage (1987).

Cain and Beowulf: A Study in Secular Allegory (1982).


"'Lo how I vanysshe': The Pardoner's War against Signs." in Chaucer and Language. (2001)

"Attentio, Intentio, Distentio: Intentionality and Chaucer's Third Eye," Florelegium 15 (1997).

"From Grammar's Pan to Logic's Fire: Intentionality and Chaucer's Friar's Tale," in Literature and Ethics (1988): 77-95.

"Wilgeforte--Patron Saint of Monsters--and the Sacred Language of the Grotesque," in Scope of the Fantastic (1985): 171-77.

"Radical Therapy in 'The Miller's Tale,'" Chaucer Review 5.3 (1981): 227-35.

"Flannery O'Connor and the Via Negativa," Sciences Religieuses 8.3 (1979): 304-12.

"Exile as Uncreator," Mosaic 8.3 (1975): 1-14.

Book Images: 
Current Research: 

The interrelation of text, image, and cult in hagiographical narrative; the nature of the ontology of word in biblical and poetic language.