Jane Beal is a writer, educator, and literary scholar. After receiving her BA (Sonoma State University), MA (Sonoma State University), and PhD (UC Davis) in English literature, with specializations in biblical, classical, and medieval / early modern literature, she held a post-doctoral teaching and research fellowship at UC Davis. She later worked as an English professor at Wheaton College (near Chicago) and at Colorado Christian University (near Denver), where she taught literature and creative writing. After serving internationally, she returned to teach at UC Davis, where she is currently an Associate Researcher in the Department of English.
Her contributions to the study of the exquisitely beautiful, fourteenth-century, Middle English dream vision poem, Pearl, include three books: an edition and translation with scholarly introduction, annotations, and texts and contexts for teaching, Pearl: A Medieval Masterpiece in Middle English and Modern English (in progress for Broadview), an academic monograph, The Signifying Power of Pearl (Routledge, 2017), and a co-edited a pedagogical volume of essays, Approaches to Teaching the Middle English Pearl (MLA, forthcoming), which includes her essays on “The Relationship between the Pearl-Maiden and the Dreamer” and, co-authored with Ann Meyer, “Teaching the Symbolism and Allegory in Pearl.” In the prefatory essay, “Materials for Teaching Pearl: Classroom Texts and Instructor’s Library,” she gives a detailed overview of editions, dual-language (Middle English and present-day English) edition-translations, and stand-alone, English translations of Pearl alongside a discussion of significant literary criticism of the poem from 1864 to 2015. The “Materials” section thus provides a reception history of Pearl, in the context of its connection to pedagogy.
Her essays of literary criticism on Pearl are “The Pearl-Maiden’s Two Lovers,” (Studies in Philology 100), “The Signifying Power of Pearl” (Quidditas: The Journal of the Rocky Mountain Medieval Association 33), and “The Jerusalem Lamb of Pearl” (Glossator 9). She has also written related pedagogical essays, “Three Approaches to Teaching the Medieval Pearl: Introduction to Literature, British Literature I, and the Mythology of J.R.R. Tolkien” (The Once and Future Classroom – Spring 2016), “Reading in a Roundtable, Socratic Dialogue, and Other Strategies for Teaching Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” (forthcoming in SMART: Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching – Fall 2016), and “Teaching Tolkien’s Translations of Medieval Literature: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Orfeo and Pearl” (This Rough Magic – June 2014). She has considered the influence of Pearl on Tolkien’s mythology in “Orphic Powers in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Legend of Beren and Lúthien” (The Journal of Tolkien Research – Spring 2015).
Jane is also the author of John Trevisa and the English Polychronicon (ACMRS / 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) as well as the writer of many other essays, articles, and chapters on medieval and early modern literature.
To learn more about her work and her work, see sanctuarypoet.net.
“He gef vus to be his homly hyne
ande precious perle3 vnto his pay.”
Pearl, lines 1211-12