Photo of Micheline White

Micheline White

Degrees:B.A. (Toronto); M.A. (Ottawa); Ph.D. (Loyola University, Chicago)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 1356
Office:2A45 Paterson Hall


Micheline White is an Associate Professor in the College of the Humanities and the Department of English. She completed a B.A. (honours) in English Literature at the University of Toronto in 1989 and then moved to Aomori, Japan, where she taught English at a Japanese High-school for a year. She received an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Ottawa in 1992 and a Ph.D. in English Literature from Loyola University Chicago in May 1998. Her main field of study is English Renaissance literature, and she is particularly interested in women’s writing and Reformation history. She has published several recent articles on Katherine Parr.

Research Interests

  • Sixteenth and seventeenth century religious writing
  • Women’s writing and literary networks
  • Reformation studies
  • Katherine Parr

I work on women’s religious writing in early modern England. My main interests include: women and public worship; women and Biblical exegesis; women and the history of the book; and the writings of Queen Katherine Parr. My current research project is a book-length study of elite Tudor women and the transformation of public worship in England between 1540 and 1559. It includes chapters on Katherine Parr, Katherine Willoughby, Elizabeth Tyrwhit, and Queen Elizabeth I. I also study women’s book history and am the co-editor of the first collection on this topic, Early Modern Women’s Bookscapes: Reading, Ownership, Circulation, eds. Leah Knight, Elizabeth Sauer, and Micheline White (University of Michigan Press, 2018).

Recent Research on Katherine Parr

1. “Pray for the Monarch: The surprising contributions of Katherine Parr and Queen Elizabeth I to the Book of Common Prayer.” Times Literary Supplement, 3 April, 2015: 14-15.  Link to TLS

This piece sheds new light on the historical origins of the “Prayer for the Queen’s Majesty,” a prayer that appeared in the 1559 Anglican Book of Common Prayer and that is still used today. It demonstrates that the prayer is derived from a Latin prayer by Georg Witzel for the Holy Roman Emperor printed in 1541. It was adapted as a prayer for Henry VIII, translated by Katherine Parr, and disseminated in her 1544 Psalms or Prayers, a book of wartime prayers. Parr made fascinating modifications as she translated, enhancing Henry’s virtues and military prowess. Although 19th and early 20th-century historians noted the connection between the 1559 “Prayer for the Queen’s Majesty” and the earlier “Prayer for the King,” they were unsure of the origins of the prayer and did not openly attribute it to Parr or examine Parr’s literary skills. Parr is not mentioned at all in more recent accounts of the Book of Common Prayer.

This piece also argues that the prayer was almost certainly inserted into public worship and edited in 1559 by Elizabeth I, Parr’s beloved step-daughter. The prayer appeared in Elizabeth’s Chapel Royal five months before the printing of the 1559 BCP and she had translated the prayer in her youth as a gift for her father. Elizabeth made the prayer more suited to her sex, toning down the passages about military glory and ferocity. This means that Elizabeth was likely an editor of a female-authored part of the BCP, a detail that complicates the general assumption that the prayers in the Tudor Books of Common Prayer were compiled, written, translated or edited by clergymen.

2. “The Psalms, War, and Royal Iconography: Katherine Parr’s Psalms or Prayers (1544) and Henry VIII as David.” Renaissance Studies 29.4 (Sept 2015): 554-575. Link to article

3. “Katherine Parr, Henry VIII, and Royal Literary Collaboration,” in Gender, Authorship and Early Modern Women’s Collaboration, ed. Patricia Pender.  New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, 23-46.

4. “Katherine Parr’s Marginalia: Putting the Wisdom of Chrysostom and Solomon into Practice,” in Early Modern Women’s Bookscapes: Reading, Ownership, Circulation. Eds. Leah Knight, Elizabeth Sauer, and Micheline White. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Forthcoming.

5.  Plenary Paper, “The (In)Visible Queen: the Circulation of Unattributed Prayers by Katherine Parr.”  March 2017.  Galway, Ireland.  Conference on “Reception, Reputation, and Circulation in the Early Modern World, 1500-1800.”  You can listen to a podcast here on Sound Cloud.

Media Interviews About Katherine Parr

Micheline White speaks to Peter Robb about Katherine Parr, Thomas Tallis, and Alamire.

Micheline White speaks to Mary Hynes on CBC’s Tapestry about her Research on “How Two Queens Revolutionized the Book of Common Prayer.”

Interview about Katherine Parr in French with Daniel Mathieu of Radio-Canada for “les voies de retour”:
(go to 15:50)

Micheline White speaks to the Anglican Communion News Service:

Jon Brownlee discusses Micheline White’s research on Katherine Parr.

Honors and Awards Since 2005

  • Carleton Research Development Grant, July 2015-July 2016. Title: “The Political Activism of Queen Katherine Parr ”
  • FASS Teaching Award, 2015
  • FASS Research Award, 2012-2013
  • SSHRCC Standard Research Grant  2011-2014
  • Academic prize awarded by the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women (SSEMW) for the article “Women Writers and Literary-Religious Circles in the Elizabethan West Country: Anne Dowriche, Anne Lock Prowse, Anne Lock Moyle, Elizabeth Rous, and Ursula Fulford.”Modern Philology 103.2 (2005): 187-214. 2006
  • SSHRCC Standard Research Grant, 2002-2006

Edited Books

Early Modern Women’s Bookscapes: Reading, Ownership, Circulation. Eds. Leah Knight, Elizabeth Sauer, and Micheline White. Forthcoming from University of Michigan Press.

Micheline White, ed. English Women, Religion, and Textual production, 1500-1625. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Press, 2011.

Micheline White, ed. Ashgate Critical Essays on Women Writers in England: Anne Lock, Isabella Whitney, and Aemilia Lanyer. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Press, 2009.

Selected Recent Publications

“Women in Worship:  Continuity and Change in the Prayers of Elizabeth Tyrwhit and Frances Aburgavenny,” in A History of Early Modern Women’s Writing, ed. Patricia Phillippy. Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2018, 170-185.

“The Perils and Possibilities of the Early Modern Book Dedication:  Anne Lock, Queen Elizabeth, and John Knox.” Parergon: Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Mediavel and Early Modern Studies.  29.2 (2012): 9-27. Special issue on “Early Modern Women and Book History.”

“Dismantling Catholic Primers and Reforming Private Prayer:  Anne Lock, Hezekiah’s Song, and Psalm 50/51,” in Private and Domestic Devotion in Early Modern Britain, eds.  Alec Ryrie and Jessica Martin.  Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Press, 2012, pp. 93-113.

“Women’s Hymns in Mid-Sixteenth-Century England: Elisabeth Cruciger, Miles Coverdale, and Lady Elizabeth Tyrwhit,” ANQ: Special Issue on Women Devotional Writers of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries 24.1 (2011): 21-32.

“The Dedication and Prayers from Anne Gawdy Jenkinson’s translation of Guillaume Du Vair’s Meditations upon the Lamentations of Jeremy.” English Literary Renaissance 37 (2007): 34-46.

“Women Writers and Religious and Literary Circles in the Elizabethan West Country: Anne Dowriche, Anne Lock Prowse, Anne Lock Moyle, Elizabeth Rous, and Ursula Fulford.” Modern Philology 103.2 (2005): 187-214.

“Power Couples and Women Writers in Elizabethan England: the Public Voices of Dorcas and Richard Martin and Anne and Hugh Dowriche,” in Framing the Family: Representation and Narrative in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods, eds. Diane Wolfthal and Rosalynn Voaden. Tempe: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2005, 119-38.

“Tudor Women’s Writing and Congregational Singing: from the Hymn of the Unknown ‘Handmaid’ (1555) to Mary Sidney Herbert’s Psalmes (1599).” The Sidney Journal 23 (2005): 61-82.

“A Woman with Saint Peter’s Keys?: Aemilia Lanyer’s Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum and the Priestly Gifts of Renaissance Women.” Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts  45.3 (2003):  323-41.

“Recent Studies in Women Writers of Tudor England, 1485-1603.” English Literary Renaissance 30.3 (2000): 457-93.

“Renaissance Englishwomen and Religious Translations: The Case of Anne Lock’s Of the Markes of the Children of God (1590).” English Literary Renaissance 29 (1999): 375-400.

“A Biographical Sketch of Dorcas Martin: Elizabethan Translator, Stationer, and Godly Matron.”  The Sixteenth Century Journal 30 (1999): 775-92.

Recent Invited Lectures and Conference Presentations

2015: “Queen Katherine Parr and Royal Image Making.” Meeting of the RSA. Berlin, March.

2014: “The Surprising Contributions of Katherine Parr and Elizabeth Tudor to the Book of Common Prayer.” Invited lecture at the Institute for Historical Research, London, October.

2014: “The Surprising Contributions of Katherine Parr and Elizabeth Tudor to the Book of Common Prayer.” Invited lecture at the University of Essex, October.

2014: “Katherine Parr, Parr’s “Circle,” and the 1559 Book of Common Prayer.” Sixteenth Century Studies Conference. New Orleans, October.

2014: “Katherine Parr and the Politics of Royal Translation.” Meeting of the Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies at the Canadian Congress. St. Catherine’s, May.

2014: “Women and Liturgical Reform.” Meeting of the RSA, New York, March.

2013: “Archbishop Cranmer and Queen Katherine Parr, and Vernacular Common Prayer.” SCSC. San Juan, PR, October.

2013: “The Psalms and Repentance during a Time of War.” Psalm Culture and the Politics of Translation. Queen Mary University of London. July.   

Recent Graduate Courses

ENGL 5307:  Women, Authorship, and Politics in Renaissance England: Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Sidney Herbert, and Aemilia Lanyer