Sonja Mayrhofer is a doctoral candidate in the University of Iowa’s Department of English, currently at work on a dissertation entitled “The Body (Un)Balanced: Humoral Theory and Late Medieval Literature.” Her research focuses on how humoral psychology influenced representations of bodies in medieval literary texts (specifically in St. Erkenwald, in Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale, in Richard Cœr de Lyon, and in Marie de France’s Yonec). Her chapters explore the connection between the humors and religious devotion, marriage, cannibalism, and shape-shifting. Her aim is to show that humoral psychology was not just a medical theory known to medieval medical practitioners, but also a deeply influential cosmology for the representation of bodies and emotions in literary works. Her scholarship is often interdisciplinary and is informed by her interest in comparative literature and the health humanities.
She is a Ballard Seashore Fellow and has taught composition and literature classes (surveys and electives) in the University of Iowa’s Rhetoric Department and General Education Literature Program.