is interested in the intersection of medieval culture, history, and literature. Karen earned her BA at the State University of New York at Albany and her MA and PhD at Cornell University before coming to St. Olaf in 1986 to teach Old and Middle English, Arthurian literature, Chaucer, and medieval women writers. She has deeply enjoyed team-teaching in two cycles of the Great Conversation and in English 221, “Literature in English to 1650.” Karen has published articles on Middle English romance, the Latin poetry and vitae of women saints, Malory, and 15th-century book culture. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled, Marriage in Malory, which examines marriage customs such as the wedding ritual, dowry and inheritance practices, the status of legitimate and illegitimate children, and sacramental theology as reflected in the Morte Darthur.
Karen is married to Richard DuRocher (also a member of the English faculty), and they have a daughter Mary Clare, age 8. Karen avidly gardens, often works for educational rights for the disabled, and occasionally teaches children's liturgy on Sunday mornings at 8 a.m.