Women's Literary Culture before the Conquest

201 - Arts Building
Arts and Law, Research
Tuesday 28th November 2017 (17:00-19:00)
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In this presentation I will talk about the research I am undertaking as part of my Leverhulme major research fellowship.

My project offers the first sustained exploration of the literary culture of women in early medieval England. It explores both the conditions that enabled a rich and varied culture to thrive, and the reasons why that remarkable culture is almost invisible today. Histories of English Literature, including women’s literary histories, have tended to exclude or to marginalize the contributions of early medieval women, focusing instead on a small group of women from the twelfth to fifteenth-century, notably the courtly writer, Marie de France, and the visionaries Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe. This project analyses new material to provide a better understanding of English literary history. It aims to demonstrate that late medieval women writers and visionaries, who are often viewed as exceptional, are part of a much longer tradition. At the same time, it will offer a new perspective on Anglo-Saxon literary production that places women at its very centre.

Diane Watt is a Professor of Medieval Literature at the University of Surrey. Diane is currently in receipt of a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship for the project Women’s Literary Culture Before the Conquest  She works on medieval literature, women’s writing, gender and sexuality. Her books include Medieval Women’s Writing (Polity, 2007), Amoral Gower (University of Minnesota Press, 2004), and Secretaries of God (1997). She was Head of School from 2011-2016. She is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, of the Royal Society of the Arts and of the Higher Education Academy.

All staff and students are welcome to attend.