Associate Professor, English British Literature
Jane Beal, PhD is an associate professor of English at the University of La Verne, where she specializes in medieval and early modern English literature. Her doctoral study of medieval Latin historiography, English translation, rhetoric, authority, and early modern audience reception led her to write her first academic monograph John Trevisa and the English Polychronicon (ACMRS/Brepols, 2012) and to co-edit the festschrift Translating the Past: Essays on Medieval Literature in Honor of Marijane Osborn (ACMRS, 2012). Her admiration for the exquisitely beautiful, fourteenth-century, Middle English dream vision poem called Pearl inspired her to write The Signifying Power of Pearl: Medieval Literary and Cultural Contexts for the Transformation of Genre (Routledge, 2017), to co-author and co-edit Approaches to Teaching the Middle English Pearl (MLA, 2018), and to edit and translate Pearl: A Middle English Edition and Modern English Translation (Broadview, forthcoming 2019). She is now editing New Perspectives on the Pearl-Poet, which considers all of the poems attributed to the poet: Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and St. Erkenwald.
She has edited two collections of academic essays for Brill’s Commentaria series on the reception of major religious figures in the Middle Ages: Illuminating Moses: A History of Reception from Exodus to the Renaissance (2014), for which she wrote “Moses and Medieval Christian Contemplative Devotion,” and Illuminating Jesus in the Middle Ages (forthcoming), for which she wrote “The Unicorn as a Symbol for Christ in Medieval Culture.” She also enjoys exploring the influence of medieval literature on modern fantasy. Her academic essays on the life and legendarium of J.R.R. Tolkien appear in The Journal of Tolkien Research, Mallorn: The Journal of the J.R.R. Tolkien Society, and The J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia.
She is not only a literary scholar, but also a prolific poet. She has published many poetry collections, including Sanctuary (Finishing Line Press, 2008), Rising (Wipf & Stock, 2015), and Journey (Origami Press, 2019). Inspired by Japanese poetic forms, she writes haiku, haibun, and haiga, which appear in the Asahi Haikuist, Frogpond, Haibun Today, Haiku Journal, and Illinois Audubon Society Magazine and which are collected in her Lulu books Tidepools (2009) and Wild Birdsong (2011). Her poetry-and-music audio recording projects include “The Secret Life,” “Love-Song,” and, co-created with her brother, the saxophonist and composer, Andrew Beal, “The Jazz Bird,” available from iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. She recently edited the poetry anthology, Hail, Radiant Star!: Nine Medievalist Poets (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming), which includes her “medieval bestiary poems” on the unicorn, lamb, pelican, lion, and phoenix.
In addition to poetry, she writes magical realist fiction and creative non-fiction. Her fiction is featured in her books Eight Stories from Undiscovered Countries (Lulu, 2009) and Hourglass: The San Quentin Short Stories (under review). Her stories appear in Crux Literary Journal, Dappled Things, Literature Today, Pacific Review, and The Voices Project as well as Main Street Rag’s anthology, Law and Disorder: Stories of Conflict and Crime. Her creative non-fiction includes biographies of women writers, on such luminaries as Christina Markyate, Marie de France, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Queen Elizabeth I, Aemilia Lanyer, and Ruth Stone, which appear in the volumes of Gale’s British Writers and American Writers series. Her essays on the lives of midwives appear in the professional magazine, Midwifery Today. They celebrate women like Stanislawa Leszczynska, the midwife of Auschwitz, and Lanyero Karamela, a contemporary midwife of Uganda, East Africa, and many early modern American, English, and European midwives as well.
Her education, research, writing, and teaching have been generously supported by grants and fellowships over the years from a variety of sources, including the University of La Verne, the University of California, and the Medieval Academy of America. This support has encouraged her primary research on medieval manuscripts, early printed books, and the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien held in the Huntington Library, the Library of Congress Rosenwald Rare Books Room, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the British Library, the Bodleian Library, the University of Leeds Library, and the Wade Center. Through her publications with presses in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Japan, which have been made widely available both in print and online, her research has reached an international audience. Through her teaching, it has benefitted thousands of students whom she has taught across the country and around the world.
With knowledge and enthusiasm, she always aims to make her teaching creative, memorable, and relevant. She has taught over fifty unique collegiate courses, primarily in literature and creative writing, but also in allied fields. She teaches in traditional, hybrid, and online educational settings at the university as well as in the community. She seeks to appeal to all types of learners, so she uses a variety of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic approaches. At the University of La Verne, she offers diverse courses, including:
- English 260 Shakespeare and Film
- English 270 Foundations of Linguistics (historical, social, applied)
- English 280 Science Fiction Literature and Film
- English 351 English Literature I: Medieval, Renaissance, and Restoration
- English 352 English Literature II: Romantic, Victorian, and Modern
- English 409 Special Topics: Literature of the Bible
- English 436 Major Authors: Marie de France
- English 436 Major Authors: Mythology of J.R.R. Tolkien
- English 499 Senior Examination
As a mentor-teacher, she writes essays on effective pedagogy, which appear in This Rough Magic, The Once and Future Classroom, and SMART: Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching. At all times, she loves to see her students learn, grow, and succeed.
Prior to joining the University of La Verne, Professor Beal received her BA (Sonoma State University), MA (Sonoma State University), and PhD (University of California, Davis) in English literature, with concentrations in biblical literature, classical mythology, and medieval and early modern literature, as well as a Certificate in Midwifery from Mercy in Action College of Midwifery. She served as a midwife in the U.S., Uganda, and the Philippines, and she taught at Wheaton College (near Chicago), Colorado Christian University (near Denver), and the University of California, Davis (between San Francisco and Sacramento) as well as the University of California Washington Center in Washington, D.C.. To learn more about her and her work, please visit:
- B.A., Sonoma State University
- M.A., Sonoma State University
- Ph.D., University of California, Davis