This postdoctoral project is funded by the Swiss National Fund for a period of 18 months (potentially renewable). With its focus on medieval romances across Europe, it is in conversation with other projects and research interests present in the HHU Anglistik I department, notably Prof. Dr. Edlich-Muth's and Dr. Mary Bateman's project on Bevis.
The popular romances that were being adapted across Europe in the late medieval period encompass a wide range of intercultural encounters and diverse characters generating powerful narratives concerning the formation of identity. The proposed project constitutes a comparative study of the representation of fictional identities in the widespread twelfth-century Old French romance Partonopeu de Blois and its fifteenth-century Middle English counterparts. By analysing the emotional language of these texts, I will identify how they participate in the hailing and construction of different strands of intersecting identity categories in a range of reading communities. While emotion scholarship in medieval literature frequently engages with identity categories such as gender, race, class or religion, there have so far been no comprehensive studies on how the language of emotion contributes to the construction of fictional identities. Similarly, while romance scholarship concerns itself with the portrayal of the individual’s quest for identity and the genre’s negotiation of binary categories such as courtly and common, Christian and heathen, young and old, male and female, there exists no studies that address medieval identity from an intersectional perspective, taking into account the interplay between all of these factors. By opening up the question of emotions in medieval literature to a broader, intersectional investigation of medieval literary identity, my project will bring together the many different strands of emotion and romance scholarship that engage with categories of identity.
Postdoctoral Researcher: Lucie Kaempfer