As a medievalist, I have long been familiar with the excellent reputation of the eminent scholar Jane Chance, the Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor Emerita in English at Rice University and a recipient of an honorary doctorate of letters from Purdue University in 2013. Although I am a historian and her work is in the discipline of medieval literature, we medievalists are often (although not always) aware of the work of scholars in other disciplines. Yet Jane, in particular, is a powerhouse in the field, having authored twenty-three books and over one hundred articles and reviews on Old and Middle English literature, medieval women and gender, and medievalism. She has also received Guggenheim and NEH Fellowships, membership at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio residency, and many book and article prizes for her various works.
In 2011 she began her well-earned retirement thirty-eight years after teaching her first English course at Rice University in 1973. Yet like many senior scholars, Jane saw her “retirement” as simply giving her more time to pursue her scholarship. Indeed, since her retirement she has produced four more books and served as a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston. Very few scholars, even among the elite, could boast of such a successful career and speak with greater authority on the state of medieval studies.