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The University of Southampton
Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture

Mapping Marvels in the Medieval Insular World Seminar

Dr Aisling Byrne
15 May 2017
Avenue Campus, Room 65/1163. All welcome, refreshments provided.

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Anthony Ossa-Richardson at .

Event details

Speaker: Dr Aisling Byrne, Reading. This paper considers medieval insular texts that rewrite actual world locations as otherworld spaces. This rewriting is by no means limited to accounts of remote and unexplored corners of the world. Some medieval writers do this when describing neighbouring regions and, in some cases, the very place in which the text originates is reimagined in these terms. Drawing on evidence from medieval maps and from a range of literary sources, this paper explores how and why the islands of the Atlantic archipelago—Britain, Ireland, Iceland and smaller islands like the Isle of Man—were reimagined as otherworldly spaces.

Speaker information

Dr Aisling Byrne , University of Reading, English. I teach medieval literature in the Department of English Literature and my primary research interest is the literature of medieval England. I have published on the transmission and translation of medieval romance, on writers such as Gerald of Wales and Thomas Malory, and on themes such as marvels, feasting, chivalry, and territorial politics. I am also interested in multilingualism, medieval geographies, and the history of the book. My monograph, Otherworlds: Fantasy and History in Medieval Literature, was published in 2015 by Oxford University Press. Much of my work seeks to situate writing from medieval England within a broader insular context. I am co-convenor of the Crossing Borders in the Insular Middle Ages project. The project's conference series brings together international scholars to discuss cultural connections across the medieval insular world - Britain, Iceland and Ireland. I studied at University College, Dublin (BA) and at the University of Cambridge (MPhil, PhD). Before coming to Reading, I spent four years working at the University of Oxford as Fitzjames Research Fellow in Old and Middle English at Merton College.

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