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Dr Marianne O'Doherty 

Associate Professor of Late Medieval Literature and Culture

Dr Marianne O'Doherty's photo

Dr Marianne O'Doherty is an Associate Professor of Late Medieval Literature and Culture at the University of Southampton.

I studied for my BA, MA, and PhD at the University of Leeds, completing my doctoral thesis at the Institute for Medieval Studies in 2006. I have taught for the Open University and at Leeds, where I also worked for several years on the annual International Medieval Congress. I joined the University of Southampton in 2007. In 2011, I was awarded an Arts and Humanities Early Career Fellowship to complete a monograph on the representation of the Indies in the later medieval world. In September 2014 my first monograph, The Indies and the Medieval West: Thought, Report, Imagination was awarded a European Society for the Study of English prize for a First Book in the category Cultural Studies in English.

My research generally focusses on medieval spatial representations and accounts of spatial experience – travel narratives; maritime texts; maps; geographies, and so on – in the later Middle Ages. I’m particularly interested in questions of materiality, and in the longer-term reception of medieval texts, maps and geographical ideas. But I also have interests and teach across much broader historical period, from Old English poetry to twentieth and twenty-first century engagements with medieval culture.

I welcome enquiries from prospective doctoral students interested in PhDs on any elated topics.

Research interests

My research interests include: medieval forms of spatial representation, with particular reference to travel writing and cartography and a side-interest in digital methodologies; contacts between the Latin West and non-Christian cultures in the late Middle Ages; medieval pilgrimage and pilgrimage accounts; medieval European literary and imaginative engagements with the wider world, in particular the Indies; reception studies; medieval books, readers, and reading. You can hear me talking about India’s most Famous mythological emperor, Prester John, on In Our Time (4 June 2015). I've also blogged about about Where Were the Middle Ages for the Public Medievalist, and about my research for the Pilgrims’Libraries Network.

Recently, my research has focussed in particular on medieval travel and pilgrimage texts, and I have written a couple of broader discussions of aspects of this field (‘Travel, Mobility, and Culture’, in The Routledge Companion to Cultural History in the Western World,1250–2000 (2020); ‘Southeast Asia’ in the Cambridge History of Medieval Travel Writing (forthcoming)). In particular, I have been researching the reception of late-medieval Latin versions of Mandeville’s Travels in England and on the Continent. Forthcoming articles touching on this area include ‘Richard Hakluyt and the ‘Vulgate Latin’ Version of Mandeville’s Travels' (Viator 2020) and ‘The Pilgrim, the Book, and the World: Understanding and Devotion in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College Library MS 426’, a manuscript that includes a unique abridgement of a Latin Mandeville (JMEMS 2021). With the Pelagios team, I have also experimented with using digital methods, such as Pelagios’s Recogito platform, in the analysis of medieval Jerusalem pilgrimage texts (‘Old Traditions, New Technologies: Linked Geospatial Data and Late-Medieval Jerusalem Pilgrimage Documents’. Forthcoming).

I am also working on several longer-term projects. Projects currently in the design stage include, with a range of European partners, a COST-Action proposal on the subject ‘Cultures of Europe’s Historic Routes’. With Felicitas Schmieder and Stefan Schröder, I am in the early planning stages of a volume on medieval maps and mapping for Brill’s Reading Medieval Sources series. I am also planning a monograph provisionally entitled Beyond Utopia: Social and Spatial Dreaming in the Middle Ages', which will investigate how medieval people envisioned alternative, sometimes idealizing, social spaces.

As well as teaching and researching in English, I am an active member of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture here at Southampton.  I would be pleased to discuss potential research topics with prospective PhD students wishing to work on topics that touch on any of my research interests.

Research projects

Proposed European COST-Action: ‘Cultures of Europe’s Historic Routes’ (planning group co-lead, 2018-2020)

2016-2018 Pilgrim Libraries: Books and Reading on the Medieval Routes to Rome and Jerusalem (participant)

2012-13: member of the AHRC network 'Remembered Places and Invented Traditions: Thinking about the Holy Land in the Late Medieval West'.

2014: Pelagios 4: studying the places of our past through the Early Geospatial Documents that refer to them (AHRC Digital Amplifications project).

2015-2017: Pelagios Commons. Medieval Special Interest Group co-ordinator and Commons Committee member.

2016-2017: member of Leverhulme International Network ‘Pilgrim libraries: books and reading on the medieval routes to Jerusalem & Rome’.

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Book Chapters

My teaching includes the first-year modules English on the Move and Literary Transformations; the second year module Arthurian Worlds and the third-year module Chaucer and his World. I contribute to teaching on a range of MA modules, and welcome proposals for Masters’ dissertations on medieval topics.

In 2013 I won the Southampton Centre for Innovation in Technologies and Education award for best Blackboard site.

Dr Marianne O'Doherty
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BF, United Kingdom

Room Number: 65/2005

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