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 and 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 Colorado Christian University (near Denver), where she taught literature and creative writing. After serving internationally, she joined the faculty of the University of California, Davis, teaching in the University Writing Program and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. She is now a tenured, full professor and the chair of the English department at the University of La Verne in southern California.
Her contributions to the study of the exquisitely beautiful, fourteenth-century, Middle English dream vision poem, Pearl, include three books: The Signifying Power of Pearl (Routledge, 2017), an academic monograph; Pearl: A Middle English Edition and Modern English Translation (Broadview, 2020), which includes a scholarly introduction, annotations, and texts and contexts for teaching, and Approaches to Teaching the Middle English Pearl (MLA, 2018), a co-edited a pedagogical volume of essays, 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 published on other poems attributed to the Pearl-poet, including an essay entitled, “Powerlessness: Redeeming the Memory of Trauma in Patience” (Integrité 19:1 – Spring 2020). She has 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” (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 Illuminating Jesus in the Middle Ages (Brill, 2019), 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 https://janebeal.wordpress.com.
“He gef vus to be his homly hyne
ande precious perle3 vnto his pay.”
Pearl, lines 1211-12