Jane Chance (born 1945), also known as Jane Chance Nitzsche, is an American scholar specializing in medieval English literature, gender studies, and J. R. R. Tolkien. She spent most of her career at Rice University, where since her retirement she has been the Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor Emerita in English.
Education and career
She taught at the University of Saskatchewan and then moved to Rice University in 1973 to teach Old English literature; she was the first woman appointed to a tenure-track position in the English department. She was appointed to the Andrew W. Mellon Professorship in 2008 and became emerita upon her retirement in 2011. She is founder president of the Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages.
At Rice, Chance established what became the Medieval Studies Program and also headed the first Women's Studies program within the English department, which was nationally noted. In the late 1980s she was first president of the Rice Commission on Women. She unsuccessfully sued the university for gender discrimination in 1988. In 1995 she established and funded the Julia Mile Chance Prize for Excellence in Teaching, named for her mother, to honor women faculty members.
As Jane Chance Nitzsche, Chance published a revised version of her dissertation as The Genius Figure in Antiquity and the Middle Ages in 1975. Beginning in 1994, she then published a three-volume history of medieval mythography. Volume 1, From Roman North Africa to the School of Chartres, A.D. 433–1177, was termed "monumental" and "highly detailed" by a reviewer in Arthuriana who nonetheless found the focus on gender poorly supported; although the reviewer in Speculum called it "disappointing"; Volume 2, From the School of Chartres to the Court at Avignon, 1177–1350, was called "immensely learned and ambitious" in the same journal in 2002. The final volume, The Emergence of Italian Humanism, 1321–1475, appeared in 2015, and was judged by one reviewer to be less comprehensive than claimed. In 1995 she also published Mythographic Chaucer: the Fabulation of Sexual Politics.
Other works in which Chance focuses on medieval women and gender studies include Woman as Hero in Old English Literature (1986), which investigated, among other things, the concept of women as peace-weavers and their frequent failure, and The Literary Subversions of Medieval Women (2007); she edited Gender and Text in the Later Middle Ages (1996) and Women Medievalists and the Academy (2005), which Helen Damico, writing in JEGP, called "massive in size and major in significance".
Chance is also a leading Tolkien scholar. Her books in this field include Tolkien's Art: A "Mythology for England" (1979; revised edition 2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Mythology of Power (1992; revised edition 2001), in which she uses the theoretical framework of Michel Foucault, Tolkien and the Invention of Myth: A Reader (2004), and Tolkien, Self and Other: "This Queer Creature" (2016), a biography with literary analysis.
In 2013 she was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters from Purdue University and honored in a symposium at the International Congress on Medieval Studies organized by the Medieval Foremothers' Society.
- "Jane Chance, 1973–2011". Rice University Department of English. Archived from the original on December 21, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- "Jane Chance". Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Rice University. Archived from the original on December 21, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- Jane Chance (2000). "'Mine is Longer': Gender Difference and Female Authority in the Academy". Medieval Feminist Forum. 30 (1): 16–23.
- Joel Sendek (April 10, 1987). "Female faculty assemble to investigate inequalities". The Rice Thresher. p. 6.
- Lisa Gray (April 22, 1988). "Chance charges university with discrimination". The Rice Thresher. p. 1.
- Lorraine Snyder (November 4, 1988). "Chance suit delayed, awaits new judge". The Rice Thresher. p. 1.
- Kraettli Epperson (November 8, 1991). "Chance appeals discrimination decision". The Rice Thresher. p. 6.
- D. W. Robertson, Jr. (Summer 1976). "Review: The Genius Figure in Antiquity and the Middle Ages by Jane Chance Nitzsche". Comparative Literature. 28 (3: Contemporary Criticism: Theory and Practice): 288. doi:10.2307/1769227. JSTOR 1769227.
- Sara Stanbury (Winter 1995). "Review: Medieval Mythography: From Roman North Africa to the School of Chartres, A.D. 433-1177 by JANE CHANCE". Arthuriana. 5 (4): 117–20. JSTOR 27869160.
- Winthrop Wetherbee (January 1997). "Review: Medieval Mythography: From Roman North Africa to the School of Chartres, A.D. 433–1177, by Jane Chance". Speculum. 72 (1): 125–27. doi:10.2307/2865880. JSTOR 2865880.
- John Block Friedman (October 2002). "Review: Medieval Mythography, 2: From the School of Chartres to the Court at Avignon, 1177–1350 by Jane Chance". Speculum. 77 (4): 1254–57. doi:10.2307/3301233. JSTOR 3301233.
- Carrie Beneš (August 2015). "Review: Chance, Jane. Medieval Mythography, Volume 3: The Emergence of Italian Humanism, 1321–1475". The Medieval Review.
- "Jane Chance - Doctor of Letters". Purdue University. May 2013.
- Hope Weissman (January 1988). "Review: Woman as Hero in Old English Literature by Jane Chance". Speculum. 63 (1): 134–36. doi:10.2307/2854337. JSTOR 2854337.
- Maren Clegg Hyer (2006). "Textiles and Textile Imagery in the Exeter Book". In Robin Netherton; Gale R. Owen-Crocker (eds.). Medieval Clothing and Textiles. Boydell & Brewer. pp. 29–40. ISBN 9781843831235.
- Megan Cavell (2016). Weaving Words and Binding Bodies: The Poetics of Human Experience in Old English Literature. University of Toronto. p. 283. ISBN 9781442637221.
- R. N. Swanson (September 2011). "Review: The Literary Subversions of Medieval Women. By Jane Chance". The Heythrop Journal. 52 (5): 856–57. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2265.2011.00682_29.x.
- Clare A. Lees (January 1998). "Review: Gender and Text in the Later Middle Ages by Jane Chance". The Journal of English and Germanic Philology. 97 (1): 105–07. JSTOR 27711611.
- Helen Damico (April 2008). "Review: Women Medievalists and the Academy by Jane Chance". The Journal of English and Germanic Philology. 107 (2): 245–48. JSTOR 20722616.
- Norbert Schürer (November 13, 2015). "Tolkien Criticism Today". Los Angeles Review of Books.
- Edward R. Haymes (Spring 1980). "Review: Tolkien's Art: A "Mythology for England." by Jane Chance Nitzsche". The South Central Bulletin. 40 (1): 23–24. doi:10.2307/3187842. JSTOR 3187842.
- Robert Boenig (Spring 1993). "Review: The Lord of the Rings: The Mythology of Power by Jane Chance". South Central Review. 10 (1): 102–03. doi:10.2307/3190291. JSTOR 3190291.
- Daniel J. Smitherman (2003). "Revised Editions of Tolkien Scholarship". Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature. 57 (1): 109–11. doi:10.2307/1348047. JSTOR 1348047.
- Anthony B. Buccitelli (Summer 2006). "Review: Tolkien and the Invention of Myth: A Reader by Jane Chance". Western Folklore. 65 (3): 343–45. JSTOR 25474798.
- "Tolkien, Self and Other: "This Queer Creature"". Palgrave Macmillan.
- "Jane Chance". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- Personal page at Rice University