My research centers on late-medieval literary and historical writing, with a particular focus on how texts mediate social and political contexts.
Much of my work centers on how medieval writers theorized life in wartime: how poets responded to the experience of war; how political theorists created international frameworks for the law of war; and how historians recorded the events of war. Although I am a medievalist by training, I find it impossible to study these topics without thinking about the way writers and artists respond to war today.
I also have a long-standing interest in the construction of nations, particularly how the meaning of names like ‘England,’ ‘Scotland,’ and ‘Britain,’ change over time.
Through my scholarship I aim to rethink inherited nationalist and monolingual historical scripts and revise a scholarly history that isolates war into national, linguistic, and disciplinary silos.
I hold an M.A. (Hons) in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh and M.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania, where I will receive my Ph.D. in 2021.
“Forms of Writing, Forms of War: England, Scotland, France c.1300-1450.”
“Forms of Writing, Forms of War” examines entwined Anglo-Scottish and Anglo-French relations in order to analyze the relationship between war, empire, and nation in late-medieval literature. It argues that historians and literary authors theorized the territorial conflicts endemic to medieval Europe as a distinct political worldview centered on war, in which war was taken as the default state of society and peace a mere cessation of battles soon to recommence. Drawing on manuscript studies, cultural history, and close readings of literary and non-literary texts, the project shows how our understanding of literary forms like national history is shaped by late-medieval writers who pursued war on the page as adamantly as soldiers on the battlefield. The Hundred Years War had distinctly literary stakes as writers from opposing sides atomized the transnational literary traditions of Latinate and Francophone Europe. Drawing on the work of Raymond Williams, the project argues that this process can be charted by the rising status of mediation, a word which enters the English language in the late fourteenth century and carries cultural and political meanings throughout the period. Bringing the diplomatic and aesthetic senses of mediation together, the project establishes an account of the relationship between political and literary negotiation in late-medieval literature. While scholars of later periods have explored how literature mediates the contradictions of English imperialism, “Forms of Writing, Forms of War” contributes to a premodern perspective to this broader intellectual project by revealing the literary forms of war that underwrite literary communities before the nation-state.
This edited collection expands the conventional Anglo-French framing of the Hundred Years War by delineating the conflict’s European theatre of war. Our contributors combine new approaches to canonical writers including Oswald von Wolkenstein and Alain Chartier with studies of lesser-known figures and genres not usually linked to war, such as women’s visionary writing.