Skip to content

Public Books Circle: Discussion of Lauren Groff’s book, "Matrix: A Novel" with Sara Ritchey

Join UT History Professor Sara Ritchey on February 8 for an online discussion of Lauren Groff's book, Matrix: A Novel.

Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, seventeen-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease. At first taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular and mercurial sisters. In this crucible, Marie steadily supplants her desire for family, for her homeland, for the passions of her youth with something new to her: devotion to her sisters, and a conviction in her own divine visions. But in a world that is shifting and corroding in frightening ways, one that can never reconcile itself with her existence, will the sheer force of Marie’s vision be bulwark enough? Equally alive to the sacred and the profane, Matrix gathers currents of violence, sensuality, and religious ecstasy in a mesmerizing portrait of consuming passion, aberrant faith, and a woman that history moves both through and around.

Buy a copy of the book or check it out from the library. Read, enjoy, and then join the book discussion online to hear an expert in the field talk about the major ideas of a text that you have read!

About the Speaker:
Sara Ritchey is a professor of history at UT. Her research interrogates premodern conceptual categories such as nature, the body, and most recently, periodization and time. At the same time, she is interested in how these past constructions continue to resonate in contemporary values, aesthetics, and social structures. Ritchey's book, Acts of Care: Regulating Women in Late Medieval Health (Cornell, 2021), explores the nexus of gender, caregiving, and medical epistemology in the Middle Ages. She is also the author of Holy Matter: Changing Perceptions of the Material World in Late Medieval Christianity (Cornell, 2014).

About the Series:

This event is part of the UT Humanities Center’s Public Books Circle series. More information about this year’s series is available at If you enjoy this series and would like to support future UT Humanities Center programming, please visit to learn about giving opportunities.

Dial-In Information

To register for the Zoom link, visit

Wednesday, February 8 at 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Virtual Event