Professor Beryl Rowland

Left: Beryl Rowland when the honour of distinguished research professor was conferred on her at York’s spring convocation, June 1983 

Beryl Rowland, distinguished research professor emeritus and senior scholar, died on April 30. Professor in the English Department and affiliated with York for 30 years, she was renowned for her numerous articles and books on Geoffrey Chaucer and medieval literature. Among the most recent are Medieval Woman’s Guide to Health: The First English Gynecological Handbook (1981) and Earle Birney: Essays on Chaucerian Irony (1985).

Professor Rowland’s other books include Blind Beasts: Chaucer’s Animal World (1971), Animals with Human Faces: A Guide to Animal Symbolism (1973) and Birds with Human Souls: A Guide to Bird Symbolism (1978). In addition, she was author of essays on Chaucer and English poetry of the Middle Ages and over 150 articles published in learned journals in Canada, Europe, Japan and the US; and editor of several works, including Cressida in Alberta (winner of the Alberta Golden Jubilee Drama Award 1955) and the CBC drama Behold a Pale Horse (1956).

Among her many activities, Professor Rowland was president of The New Chaucer Society, based at Washington University in St. Louis, 1984-1986, a member of the International Association of University Professors of English and the Medieval Academy of America, and a life member of the Modern Languages Association.

Professor Rowland was winner of the American University Presses Book Award in 1974 and recipient of a commemorative medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 1993.

The Beryl Rowland Book Prize is awarded each year at York convocation to a McLaughlin College student majoring in English with outstanding overall achievement.