Misty holds a Ph.D. in Old and Middle English Literature from Cornell University and has published articles on medieval romance, medieval women, world literature, and European history. Her scholarly books focus on monstrous women like the legendary half-fairy, half-snake Melusine.

Edited Collections

Melusine’s Footprint: Tracing the Legacy of a Medieval Myth

“A magnificent book combining a wide variety of literary as well as artistic approaches . . . this enthralling work contributes extensively to Melusinia, presenting a figure who clearly continues to escape prescribed boundaries.” — Gillian M.E. Alban

An invigorating international and interdisciplinary examination of the legendary fairy Melusine. Along with fresh insights into the popular French and German traditions, these accomplished essays investigate Melusine’s English, Dutch, Spanish, and Chinese counterparts and explore her roots in philosophy, folklore, and classical myth.

Review in Medieval Feminist Forum


Monstrous Women in Middle English Romance

Winner of the D. Simon Evans Prize for Medieval Studies

“Dr. Urban’s study is at once an elegantly provocative yet accessible introduction to these unusual works, and a many-sided consideration of the challenge that all these works raise.”  – Professor Andrew Galloway, Cornell University

Building on current monster theory and adding to research on medieval women in literature, this study reclaims the Middle English romance as a sophisticated literary strategy that, in its narrative reflexivity—and its use of a fictionalized thirdspace—reveals how medieval rhetoric essentially makes women into monsters.


Book cover: Teaching Rape in the Medieval Literature Classroom“Sexual Compulsion and Sexual Violence in the Lais of Marie de France,” in Teaching Rape in the Medieval Literature Classroom: Approaches to Difficult Texts, edited by Alison Gulley. ARC Humanities Press, 2018.

“The Unicorn Learns Accountability.” In The Ballad of the Lone Medievalist. Eds. Kisha G. Tracy and John P. Sexton. Punctum Books, 2018.

“Women’s Weapons in The White Queen.” In Premodern Rulers and Postmodern Viewers: Gender, Sex, and Power in Popular Culture. Eds. Janice North, Karl C. Alvestad, and Elena Woodacre. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

naturebaths“Magical Fountains in Middle English Romance.” In The Nature and Function of Water, Baths, Bathing, and Hygiene from Antiquity through the Renaissance. Eds. Cynthia Kosso and Anne Scott. Leiden: Brill, 2009.