I teach and research medieval literature and culture at the University of Southampton. My undergraduate teaching and MA supervision ranges across Old English Literature, Arthurian Literature, Chaucer, and medieval otherness and monstrosity. My main research interest is in medieval experiences and representations of space, including maps, travel and pilgrimage writing, and geographical iterature. I am particularly interested in the reception of medieval travel and pilgrimage writing, including the Book of Sir John Mandeville. I am keen to hear from applicants interested in PhD study in any of these areas. I am an active member of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture at Southampton.
I have successfully supervised PhDs in Old and Middle English literature, and welcome innovative and exciting project proposals in a wide range of fields, particularly those intersecting with my interests in travel writing, mapping, place, space, landscape, literary geographies, othering and otherness, and the circulation, reception, and translation of medieval texts. Ideas for interdisciplinary projects are welcome, as are projects working across languages (particularly Latin, French, and Italian).
- Medieval travel and pilgrimage literature
- Medieval maps, geographical writing, place and space, literary geographies
- Spatial humanities (including digital)
- Reception studies methodologies for medieval texts
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 and their cultural impact; medieval pilgrimage and pilgrimage accounts; medieval European literary and imaginative geographies; 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 digital approaches to exploring pilgrimage texts for the Pilgrims’ Libraries Network.
My most recent articles have focussed particularly on the fifteenth and sixteenth-century reception of late-Medievel Latin versions of medieval Europe's most widely-read and influential travel book: Mandeville's Travels. I've also written on the dynamic relationship between pilgrimage texts and maps and, with the Pelagios team, I have experimented with using the digital methods in the analysis of medieval Jerusalem pilgrimage texts.
I am currently dividing my time between two major research projects. Continuing my research on Mandeville, I am now investigating the Insular French text's earliest diffusion in England (with Edward Mills - Exeter and Daria Akhapkina - Warwick). I am working with Felicitas Schmieder (Fernuniversitaet Hagen) and Stefan Schroeder (Helsinki) on an edited volume, Reading Medieval Maps, for the Brill Reading Medieval Sources series. This collection of approximately 40 essays and case studies aims to provide a comprehensive guide to the current state of the field and new directions in research on the production, use and cultural roles of medieval maps.
Other articles and book chapters in progress and in press include 'Paths and Parchment: Medieval Literary Geographies' in The Routledge Handbook of Literary Geography (eds. Neal Alexander and David Cooper); 'South East Asia' in the Cambridge History of Medieval Travel Writing (ed. Sebastian Sobecki) and 'Mandeville and Pilgrimage' in the Reading Medieval Studies volume on Holy Land Pilgrimage Texts (eds Philip Booth, Mary Boyle, Rodney Aist). I am also currently developing a larger project on the imaginative geography the British Isles in the later Middle Ages.
I teach a wide range of medieval and later medievalist literature, from Old English Poetry to Victorian remakings of the Arthurian legend across a range of Undergraduate compulsory and optional modules. I can also offer special projects and MA dissertation supervision in medieval literature, medievalism, monsters and monstrosity.
I studied for my BA (English) and MA (Medieval Studies) at the University of Leeds, and then spent five years working in conference and event organisation before returning to study for a PhD in Medieval Studies at Leeds. I taught at the University of Leeds and the Open University before starting at Southampton in 2007. In 2014 my monograph, The Indies and the Medieval West: Thought, Report, Imagination, won the European Society for the Study of English prize for a best first book in cultural studies in English.
- European Society for the Study of English: Cultural Studies (2014)