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Medieval Studies

Medieval Studies

The Middle Ages span almost a thousand years, from the fall of Rome to the fifteenth century. The literature written in England during that time is astonishingly diverse. Staff at Royal Holloway are pursuing world-class research on the early Middle Ages in England (Old English literature), the High Middle Ages (11th-13th centuries), and the Late Middle Ages (up to 1500).

Dr Alastair Bennett

Dr Bennett works on late medieval literature and devotional culture, focussing in particular on William Langland’s Piers Plowman.

Dr Catherine Nall

Dr Nall works on late medieval literature, war, and politics, and the relationship between them.

Dr Jennifer Neville
Dr Neville’s research focuses on Old English poetry, in particular the collection of riddles in the tenth-century Exeter Book.

Bennett, Alastair, ed., The Pardoner’s Prologue and Tale (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

Bennett, Alastair, ‘“The emprentyng of hire consolacioun”: Engraving, Erosion, and Persistent Speech in The Franklin’s Tale’, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, 41 (2019), 141-72.

Bennett, Alastair, ‘Carding with Covetousness in Piers Plowman’, Notes and Queries, 65.1 (2018), 5-8.

Bennett, Alastair, ‘Covetousness, “vnkyndenesse”, and the “blered” eye in Piers Plowman and “The Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale”’, Yearbook of Langland Studies, 28 (2014), 29-64.

Bennett, Alastair, ‘Brevis oratio penetrat celum: Proverbs, Prayers and the Condition of Lay Knowledge in Late Medieval England’, New Medieval Literatures, 14 (2012), 127-163.

Nall, Catherine, Henry IV, Penguin Monarchs Series (London: Penguin, forthcoming).

Nall, Catherine, ‘Malory in Historical Context’, in A New Companion to Malory, ed. by Megan Leitch and Cory Rushton (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2019), pp. 15-31.

Nall, Catherine, ‘Violence and Compassion in Late Medieval Writing’, in Writing War in Britain and France, 1370-1854, ed. by Stephanie Downes, Andrew Lynch, and Katrina O’Loughlin (London: Routledge, 2019).

Nall, Catherine, ‘Moving to War in William Worcester’s Boke of Noblesse’, in Emotions and War: Topographies of Feeling in Medieval to Romantic Literature, ed. by Stephanie Downes, Andrew Lynch, and Katrina O’Loughlin (London: Palgrave, 2015), pp. 117-32

Nall, Catherine, Reading and War in Fifteenth-Century England: from Lydgate to Malory (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2012).

Neville, Jennifer and Megan Cavell, eds, Riddles at Work in the Anglo-Saxon Tradition: Words, Ideas, Interactions (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020).

Neville, Jennifer, ‘Sorting Out the Rings: Astronomical Tropes in Exeter Book Riddle 4’, in Riddles at Work in the Anglo-Saxon Tradition: Words, Ideas, Interactions, ed. by Megan Cavell and Jennifer Neville (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020).

Neville, Jennifer, ‘Redeeming Beowulf and Byrhtnoth: The Heroic Idiom as Marker of Quality in Old English Poetry’, in Narration and Hero: Recounting the Deeds of Heroes in Literature and Art of the Early Medieval Period, ed. by Victor Millet and Heike Sahme, Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde – Ergänzungsbände, 87 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014), pp. 45-69.

Neville, Jennifer, ‘The Exeter Book Riddles’ Precarious Insights into Wooden Artefacts’, in Trees and Timber in the Anglo-Saxon World, ed. by Michael Bintley and Michael Shapland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 122-43.

Alison Bazley (part-time)
‘Mirrors in Later Medieval Culture: An Interdisciplinary Study’ (supervised by Dr Catherine Nall and Professor Peregrine Horden)

Linden Currie (part-time)
‘Key to an Ancient Code: A New Aural and Visual Analysis of Old English Wordplay with Particular Reference to the Exeter Book Riddles’ (supervised by Dr Jennifer Neville)

Rowan Evans
‘Ancient Language, Landscape and Hybridity in Experimental Poetic Practice’ (supervised by Professor Redell Olsen and Dr Jennifer Neville)

Neville Mogford
‘Marking Time: Chronometry and Literary Culture in Anglo-Saxon England’ (supervised by Dr Jennifer Neville)

Dr Sheri Chriqui (2019)
‘The Practical and the Playful: Fifteenth-Century Heraldic Texts and the Narrative Construction of Heraldry and Heralds’ (supervised by Dr Catherine Nall)

Dr Michael Warren (2017)
‘Bird Kind : Avian Transformations, Species and Identities in Medieval English Poetry’ (supervised by Dr Ruth Kennedy)
The thesis has now been published as a monograph by Boydell and Brewer.

Dr Corinne Dale (2015)
‘Suffering, Servitude, Power: Eco-Critical and Eco-Theological Readings of the Exeter Book Riddles’ (supervised by Dr Jennifer Neville)
The thesis has now been published as a monograph by Boydell and Brewer.

  • The London Old and Middle English Research Seminar (LOMERS) brings together medieval researchers from London and around the UK to hear papers on current work in medieval studies.
  • Early Medieval Riddles at the International Medieval Congress
    For the past five years, Jennifer Neville has been organising a series of sessions on Early Middle English Riddles at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds.  These sessions are sponsored by the popular website, The Riddle Ages, which is run by her collaborator, Dr Megan Cavell (Birmingham University).  Papers from these sessions have contributed to a volume of essays, edited by Neville and Cavell, forthcoming from Manchester University Press.
  • The Biennial London Chaucer Conference is an international gathering of medieval scholars, hosted by the Institute of English Studies. Dr Nall was an organiser of the fourth conference, and Dr Bennett of the fifth and sixth.
  • The Old English Reading Group (OERG)
    Bringing together a mixed community of students of Old English, including absolute beginners, MA students, PhD students, members of staff, alumni, and alumnae, the Old English Reading Group focuses on reading Old English texts aloud and detailed close readings.
  • The Old English Reading Group International Summer Conference (OERGISC)
    Held once a year in May, OERGISC brings together members of our community at all levels to present the research that we have been doing to each other. 
  • The Middle English Reading Group (MERG) meets every week in term time to read, translate and discuss Middle English texts in an informal setting.
  • The London Anglo-Saxon Symposium (LASS) This annual symposium aims to bring together academics and members of the public who share an interest in the Anglo-Saxons.

We would be delighted to welcome students working on Old English literature (especially poetry) or the literature of the later Middle Ages.

Prospective students are encouraged to contact us as early as possible if they would like to be considered for support from TECHNE, our AHRC funded Doctoral Training Partnership.

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