(Trans)forming Knowledge

(Trans)forming Knowledge links a critical mass of scholars who study ways in which knowledge – or perceived knowledge – is established, contested, appropriated, adapted and transformed in a variety of foreign language contexts and across different types of text, media, and technology. 

Our research examines and applies new and emerging ways of understanding, communicating, and disseminating knowledge from the medieval period, through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, to the present day.

As such, we are often concerned with questions of communicative method and cultural translation; but we come to these questions from a rich variety of specialisms and disciplinary backgrounds. We aim to foster a research environment in which serious intellectual inquiry into knowledge in its multifarious forms is conducted in an open, collaborative, mutually supportive and genuinely cross-disciplinary way.

Stream leads: Nigel Harris and Andrew Watts


  • Helen Abbott specialises in nineteenth-century French poetry and music. Her research explores ways of writing about word-music relationships in poetic language, in critical theories, and using digital methodologies.
  • Caroline Ardrey specialises in nineteenth-century French poetry and its interaction with other art forms and media, in particular music and fashion.
  • Paolo De Ventura looks at early Italian literature and the historical evolution of the Italian language.
  • Elystan Griffiths researches social and political writing of the 18th and 19th centuries, women’s writing and the pastoral.
  • Nigel Harris focuses on three sometimes related interests: allegorical and symbolic uses of animals in medieval literature; late medieval didactic literature (in Latin and German), and its methods of conveying religious and ethical ideas to an increasingly wide audience
  • Sara Jones explores the ways in which first-person testimony is mediated across different cultural forms to political effect. She is also working on a project exploring how knowledge about the secret police was produced and circulated in the former East Germany.
  • Isobel Palmer focuses on twentieth-century poetry and literary theory, with an emphasis on Russian modernist poetry and Russian Formalism. Her current research draws on theories of the lyric, old/new media, and the urban environment to place questions of literary form in the dynamic contexts of the modernizing city and the 1905 and 1917 revolutions.
  • Emma Wagstaff looks at French poetry, and the relationship between literature and the visual arts, both underpinned by investigation of literary forms and their relationship to time.
  • Aengus Ward works in the fields of medieval Spanish history and historiography, textual editing, diachronic phonology and syntax.
  • Andrew Watts is a specialist in nineteenth-century French prose fiction, especially the work of Honoré de Balzac. His current research focuses on adaptations of classic novels from this period in a variety of different media including silent film, graphic novels, and stage musicals.

Major publications


Distinguished visiting speakers

Our deliberations are informed and enriched by relevant contributions from a range of distinguished guest speakers. Recent seminars and discussions have focused on questions of cognition (Terence Cave), the digital Humanities (Julianne Nyhan, Emma Cayley), Relevance Theory (Deirdre Wilson), philology (John T. Hamilton) and the relationship between adaptation and theory (Kamilla Elliott). The Stream has also established links with creative practitioners, for example hosting an event with BBC radio dramatist Adrian Penketh.

Find out more


Image of Ms. 12837 from the Biblioteca Nacional de España" reproduced under CC BY 4.0.


19th century French poetry and popular culture - Caroline Ardrey

Dr Nigel Harris discusses his research