Dr. Nicole Nyffenegger-Staub

Dozentin für Medieval English Studies und Modern English Literature

Medieval and Early Modern Literature and Culture

D 208 (new wing in the Department of English)
Postal Address
Department of English
Länggassstr. 49
CH – 3012 Bern
Consultation Hour
Walk in consultation hours Spring Semester 2023
9-11 every Friday
(except 24 February, 7 April, 14 April, 12 May, 26 May)

Unitobler, D 208 (new wing in the Department of English)
On Zoom for students presently abroad: https://unibe-ch.zoom.us/j/93319027896

Nicole Nyffenegger teaches medieval and early modern English literature and culture. Her research focuses on human skin in literature: she is the co-convener of the Cultural Skin Studies group, an international and interdisciplinary network of skin studies scholars and she has published numerous articles on the topic. Other research interests include representations of pain and violence in literature and on stage, the performativity of gender and identity, and human-animal studies. Apart from these topics and the ever-present literature-history connection (as a trained medieval historian, she feels she has a certain bias), Nicole's teaching has covered a wide range of topics (see list below) connected to cultural studies, gender studies, materiality studies, methodology, the history of the English language, and literary theory. She has received several teaching awards. Since 2012, she has also been the Matura Head Expert for English in the Kantonale Maturitätskommission Kommission KMK.

She may be contacted with questions on the Stay Abroad.

I teach the literature and culture of medieval and early modern England on both BA and MA level. My workshops are often aimed at covering a lot of material in relatively short time (e.g. “Reading the Bible”). For BA courses I try to vary between those that focus on one author or work (e.g., “Chaucer’s Women”) and those that approach a specific topic through a variety of works from different eras and genres (e.g. “Animals in Premodern Literature and Culture”). MA seminars tend to be more theoretical and are geared towards further refining core academic skills in paper writing, discussions, and presentations. I also teach beginner courses such as “Analysing Literature” and “Introduction to Literature” and regularly (co-)organise excursions.



  • King Arthur's Best Knight: Tales and Romances of Sir Gawain
  • “Has not a Jew Eyes?” Medieval and Early Modern Antisemitism (MA seminar with Annette Kern-Stähler)
  • Reading and Acting Shakespeare's Roman Plays
  • "Eternal Lines" - Early Modern Sonnets
  • "This Wooden O" - Dramatic Conventions in Early Modern plays.
  • The Body and the Senses in Medieval and Early Modern Literature. (Co-Taught with Prof. Annette Kern-Stähler)
  • Early Modern City Comedies
  • Romances of England
  • Nature into Poetry: Late medieval and early modern animals, plants, and landscapes
  • Early Modern Utopias
  • Money Matters in Medieval Literature
  • Christ’s Passion, Mary’s Pain
  • Chaucer and Gower Sharing Tales
  • Gender in (some of) Shakespeare’s Comedies
  • Will to Power: Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, Doctor Faustus, and the Jew of Malta
  • Shakespeare at the Movies
  • Hot Topics in Medieval Studies (lecture with Annette Kern-Stähler)
  • Reading (some of) Shakespeare’s Greatest Plays
  • Blood, Wounds, Scars: Inscribed Bodies in Medieval and Early Modern Literature
  • Violence in Medieval and Early Modern Literature and Culture (lecture)


  • 2019: Commerce, Crafts, Chapels (Suffolk and Norfolk, with medieval historians)
  • 2018: The Age of Sutton Hoo
  • 2018: Marlowe and Shakespeare in London
  • 2017: Northern England (with medieval historians)
  • 2017: Shakespeare in London
  • 2016: London “In the footsteps of Gower and Chaucer”
  • 2014: St Gallen Stiftsbibliothek “From Skin to Book”
  • 2014: Paris, St. Denis (with students from Kent University)
  • 2013: Canterbury “Exploring Medieval Artefacts”
  • 2011: York


  • “Credit Suisse Award for Best Teaching” 2009
  • Faculty commendations for “Ausgezeichnete Lehre” in FS 2017, AS 2017, FS 2018, AS 2019 (2 courses), FS 2020 (2 courses), HS 2020
  • Lehrpreis der Phil.-hist.Fakultät FS20



Nyffenegger, Nicole, and Annette Kern-Stähler, editors. Secrecy and Surveillance in Medieval and Early Modern England, SPELL 37. Narr, 2019.

Nyffenegger, Nicole, and Katrin Rupp, editors. Writing on Skin in the Age of Chaucer. De Gruyter, 2018.

Nyffenegger, Nicole. Authorising History. Gestures of Authorship in Fourteenth-Century English Historiography. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.

Nyffenegger, Nicole, and Katrin Rupp, editors. Fleshly Things and Spritual Matters: Studies on the Medieval Body in Honour of Margaret Bridges. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011.

Nyffenegger, Nicole, Thomas Schmid, and Moritz Wedell, editors. Marginalisierung und Funktionen des Randes im Mittelalter, Das Mittelalter: Perspektiven mediävistischer Forschung = Zeitschrift des Mediävistenverbandes,15.2, 2011.

Book chapters and journal articles

Nyffenegger, Nicole. “Skin Narratives: Speaking of Wounds and Scars in Shakespeare’s Coriolanus.” Stigma: Early Modern Marked Skin, edited by Craig Koslovsky and Kathrine Dauge-Roth, Penn State University Press, in press.

Nyffenegger, Nicole. “The Illicit Touch: Narratives of Abused Human Skin.” Touch, edited by Caterina Nirta, Danilo Mandic, Andrea Pavoni, and Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, Westminster University Press, 2020, pp. 195-234.

Nyffenegger, Nicole, and Annette Kern-Stähler. Introduction. Secrecy and Surveillance in Medieval and Early Modern England, edited by Annette Kern-Stähler and Nicole Nyffenegger, Narr, 2020, pp. 11-21.

Nyffenegger, Nicole. “Blushing, Paling, Turning Green: Hue and its metapoetic function in Troilus and Criseyde.” Writing on Skin in the Age of Chaucer, edited by Nicole Nyffenegger and Kathrin Rupp, De Gruyter, 2018, pp. 145-165.

Nyffenegger, Nicole, and Kathrin Rupp. Introduction. Writing on Skin in the Age of Chaucer. De Gruyter, 2018, pp. 1-16.

Nyffenegger, Nicole, Annette Kern-Stähler, and Eva von Contzen. “Engaging with the Past: Reinventing the Middle Ages.” Anglistentag 2016 Hamburg: Proceedings, edited by Ute Berns and Jolene Mathieson, Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2017, pp. 87-91.

Nyffenegger Nicole. “Saint Margaret’s Tattoos: Empowering marks on white skin.” Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, vol. 25, no. 4, 2013, pp. 267-83.

Nyffenegger, Nicole, “Gestures of Authorship in Medieval English Historiography. The case of Robert Mannyng of Brunne.” Medieval and Early Modern Authorship, SPELL 25, edited by Guilllemette Bolens und Lukas Erne, Narr 2011, pp. 265-276.

Nyffenegger, Nicole and Katrin Rupp. “(Re)Writing the Medieval Body.” Fleshly Things and Spiritual Matters. Studies on the Medieval Body in Honour of Margaret Bridges, edited by Nicole Nyffenegger and Katrin Rupp, Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2011, pp. 1-10.

Nyffenegger, Nicole. “Subjectivity and Crisis in 14th century English historiography.” Clerks, Wives, and Historian: Essays on Medieval English Literature. Variations, edited by Winfried Rudolf, Andrew James Johnston, and Thomas Honegger, Peter Lang 2008, pp. 69-90.

Nyffenegger, Nicole. “Histoire des Croisades des Wilhelm von Tyrus” (D49) and “Histoire d’ Outremer des Wilhelm von Tyrus” (D50). Saladin und die Kreuzfahrer. Publikationen der Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen 17 / Schriftenreihe des Landesmuseums für Natur und Mensch Oldenburg 37, edited by Alfried Wieczorek, Mamoun Fansa, and Harald Meller, Zabern, 2005.


Nyffenegger, Nicole. Review of Dismemberment in the Medieval and Early Modern English Imaginary: The Performance of Difference, by Frederika Elizabeth Bain. The Medieval Review TMR, 23 May 2022.

Nyffenegger, Nicole. Review of Medieval Historical Writing: Britain and Ireland, 500-1500, edited by Jennifer Jahner, Emily Steiner, and Elizabeth M. Tyler. The Medieval Review TMR, 9 August 2021.

Nyffenegger, Nicole. Review of The Shapes of Early English Poetry: Style, Form, History, edited by Irina Dumitrescu and Eric Weiskott. Das Mittelalter, 25.1, 2020, pp. 205-207.

Nyffenegger, Nicole. Review of Shakespeare, Catholicism, and the Middle Ages: Maimed Rights, by Alfred Thomas. The Medieval Review TMR, 26 August 2020.

Nyffenegger, Nicole. Review of From the Romans to the Normans on the English Renaissance Stage: Early Drama, Art, and Music, by Lisa Hopkins. The Medieval Review TMR, 23 September 2019.

Nyffenegger, Nicole. Review of Afterlives of Rape in English Literature, by Suzanne Edwards. Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality, vol 54, no 2, 2019, pp. 142-144.

Nyffenegger, Nicole. Review of The Gendered Body. Female Sanctity, Gender Hybridity and the Body in Women’s Hagiography, by Sarah Schäfer-Althaus. Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen, 2018.

Nyffenegger, Nicole. Review of Scribal Authorship and the Writing of History in Medieval England, by Matthew Fisher. The Medieval Review TMR, 3 April 2014.

Nyffenegger, Nicole. Review of Other Nations. The Hybridization of Medieval and Insular Mythology and Identity, edited by Wolfram Keller und Wendy Marie Hoofnagle. Anglistik, 2012.

Nyffenegger, Nicole. Review of Inventing Womanhood. Gender and Language in Later Middle English Writing, by Tara Williams. The Medieval Review TMR, 6 March 2012.

Other Media

Radio interview on (short!) cultural history of tattoos “DRadio Wissen” 13.10.2014 (Interview_Mitschnitt (MP3, 6.5 MB))

Akademien der Wissenschaften Schweiz. Roundtable Wissenschaftskultur der Zukunft: Über Nachhaltigkeit, Diversität und Chancengleichheit, 24 November 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H680I_I4lyk&t=1715s


Human skin in literature, discourses of the human body, representation of pain in literature and on stage, constructions and performativity of gender and identity, animals in literature, concepts of authorship. Gender studies, human-animal studies, cultural studies, materiality studies, new materialisms.

Cultural Skin Studies, an international academic network bringing together scholars working on skin
in literature and culture, led by Dr Nicole Nyffenegger (Bern) and Dr Charlotte Mathieson (Surrey).


I am a member of the following professional organizations:


  • Head expert (Hauptexperte) for English in the Kantonale Maturitätskommission KMK and as such involved in several committees concerned with, e.g., revisions of the “Lehrplan” at Gymnasium level
  • Mid-level faculty representative in the “Fakultäre Gleichstellungskommission”