Sandra Pierson Prior

Sandra Pierson Prior
Department of English and Comparative Literature


Sandra Pierson Prior received her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College, and, after a long interval, returned to school to earn her graduate degrees in the Department of English at Columbia. After a brief period teaching at Queens College, CUNY, she came to Columbia. She directed the Logic and Rhetoric/Composition Program from 1987-2002, while teaching in the Core Curriculum (Logic and Rhetoric and Literature Humanities), as well as in her scholarly specialty of medieval literature. Since retirement a year later, she has taught Lit Hum several times.

Her early scholarly interests were principally in Middle English literature and the apocalyptic tradition. She has also worked on twelfth-century courtly literature and the discourse of romantic and sexual desire. She has published articles on Chaucer, Marie de France, Chr├ętien de Troyes, and the Pearl Poet, plus two books on the Pearl Poet. With Robert Stein, she co-edited a festschrift for Robert W. Hanning, Reading Medieval Culture (2005). For the last few years she has been working on a project on the parish community in Piers Plowman, placing the poem and its poet in the context of fourteenth-century English society.