Old and Middle English

Old and Middle English 450-1500

Master of René I, Duke of Anjou (1409-80), Le Livre du cueur d’amour espris, Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Ms 2597, fol. 15 c. (1465-70, Anjou/Provence). (public domain).

Current research

Medieval studies in the School of English currently draws on the resources of four full-time members of staff with international reputations in Old and Middle English language and literature, who, along with graduate students form a dynamic and inclusive, interdisciplinary community.

Current and recent research topics

  • Mariological poetry
  • Medievalism, especially James Joyce
  • Chaucer and the Later Crusades
  • Germanic personal names
  • The manuscript tradition of the metrical chronicle attributed to Robert of Gloucester
  • The early development of Old English spelling practices

Research Interests

The research interests of members of the School are extremely wide-ranging, from the vestigial traces of paganism in Old English literature to the early medieval framework of Finnegans Wake, by way of Old Norse and the manuscript culture of later medieval England. This diversity is reflected in our supervisions at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, which provide for a vibrant synergy between our research and teaching.

Medieval Research Centre

A new interdisciplinary Medieval Studies MA programme is in development, under the auspices of the Medieval Research Centre, located within the School. All members of staff and graduate students contribute to the Medieval Research Centre, which provides a framework under which various joint, interdisciplinary, and collaborative activities can be formally located within the university.

The Medieval Research Centre hosts a well-established annual series of public lectures on topics of interest to students and staff, which continues to attract a series of eminent scholars to Leicester.

The Centre also organizes an annual series of research-led, postgraduate seminars, and the wide range of topics aired reflect the genuine commitment to interdisciplinary across the university. Our participation in the two largest and most prestigious general conferences in the field, the Kalamazoo Conference at the University of Western Michigan and the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds, introduces the work of Leicester medievalists to the widest possible audience, along with that of more established scholars with international reputations who are happy to take part in Medieval Research Centre sessions.

Colleagues from the School take an active role in:

  • International Arthurian Society
  • New Chaucer Society
  • The Viking Society
  • Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland.

Staff

Resources

The Special Collections in the University Library houses several items of interest to the medievalist including:

  • several thirteenth-century Latin bibles;
  • several Books of Hours of Franco-Flemish and Italian origin;
  • a fifteenth-century copy of the Vita Christi of Ludolf of Saxony;
  • a twelfth-century copy of Gilbert de la Porrée’s Commentary on the Psalms;
  • a notable fifteenth-century copy of the Brut Chronicle.

In terms of digital research support, in addition to such general databases as ABELL, JSTOR, Project Muse, Expanded Academic ASAP, the MLA International Bibliography, and Oxford Art Online, the Library subscribes to a range of resources for medievalists including

  • the Acta Sanctorum;
  • the Dictionary of Old English;
  • Early English Books Online;
  • the English Short Title Catalogue;
  • the International Medieval Bibliography;
  • Medieval Sources Online;
  • Parliamentary Rolls of Medieval England;
  • Patrologia Latina;
  • Patrologia Gracea;
  • the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae.

Projects

The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain: Evidence, Memories, Inventions

Five-year Leverhulme Trust funded project involving collaboration across

Current and Recent PhD students

  • Natalie Jones, 'The Development of Christological Imagery in the Middle English Lyric' (2011, AHRC funded), University College London.
  • Zoe Enstone,'The Origin and Development of Morgan in Arthurian Literature' (2012, AHRC funded), University of Leeds.
  • Shazia Jagot, 'Fin' Amors, Arabic Learning, and the Islamic World in the Work of Geoffrey Chaucer' (2014, Visiting Research Scholar, Council for British Research in the Levant 2011-12).
  • Emma Gilbert, ‘Nuancing Northern Middle English: Scribal Language and Variation in Northern Manuscripts of the Pricke of Conscience’ (2014).
  • Sanne Van Der Schee, ‘Representations of Breaking in Early Old English: An Orthographic and Phonological Study’.
  • Owen Roberson 'The representation and reception of the devil in C11th'

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