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William Crossgrove

Professor Emeritus of German Studies and Comparative Literature:
Comparative Literature
Phone: +1 401 863 2596
Phone 2: +1 401 863 2640

Professor Crossgrove works on "knowledge" literature in late medieval Germany and on the process of "vernacularization" whereby Latin scientific texts and unwritten artisanal skills are transmuted into vernacular texts for a newly-literate reading public of non-experts.


William Crossgrove began teaching at Brown in 1962, and retired in 2003, having also served from 1999 to 2003 as Associate Dean of the Faculty. At Brown he taught courses in Medieval Studies, Comparative Literature, and on a variety of other interdisciplinary topics, in addition to his regular language and literature courses in German studies. His publications have dealt chiefly with vernacular "knowledge" texts, especially herbals and agricultural handbooks, from the European Middle Ages. He is the author of Die deutsche Sachliteratur des Mittelalters (1994) and co-editor of Der deutsche Macer: Vulgatfassung (2003). Since July 1, 2006 he has served as Administrative Director of the Howard Foundation (


AB, Ohio University; PhD, University of Texas at Austin


Medieval Academy of America