The Values of French Language and Literature in the European Middle Ages is an ERC-funded project running 2015-2020 within the framework of an Advanced Grant awarded to Simon Gaunt.
The Values of French examines the nature and value of the use of French in Europe 1100-1450, less in terms of its cultural prestige (the traditional focus of scholarship) than of its role as a supralocal, transnational language in Western Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. The project fosters collaboration between, and cuts across, different intellectual and national scholarly traditions, drawing on expertise in codicology, critical theory, digital humanities, linguistics, literature, and philology; it involves scholars from a range of European countries and North America, entailing empirical research around a complex and widely disseminated textual tradition vital to medieval understandings of European history and identity, the Histoire ancienne jusqu’à César.
This case study grounds and stimulates broader speculative reflection on two questions concerning linguistic identity. What is the relation historically between language and identity in Europe? How are cognate languages demarcated from each other? Indeed, its final aim, through and beyond its consideration of French as a lingua franca, is to interrogate that language’s role in the emergence of a European identity in the Middle Ages. Read more.
Image by: Miniature of Noah and the ark, from London, British Library, Add. 15268, f. 7v. Reproduced with the permission of the British Library Board.
A team led by Dr Sanja Perovic (Department of French) has been awarded an AHRC Standard Grant of c.£1 million to carry out an interdisciplinary research programme which aims to develop a broad comparative framework for understanding the circulation of radical texts between Britain, France and Italy in the revolutionary period.
Dr Perovic is joined by Co-Investigators Professor Erica Mannucci (University of Milan-Bicocca) and Dr Rosa Mucignat (King’s College London, Comparative Literature) and a team of translators, creative practitioners, members of the King’s Digital Lab and 2 postdoctoral researchers to be based at King’s College London.
This collaborative project will provide the first comparative study of the translation and circulation of democratic and free-thinking texts between Italy,France and Britain during the French Revolution and Napoleonic era. It will enhance public and academic awareness of the role of translation as an integral element of the revolutionary project, and investigate how translation makes it possible for radical works to be 'living texts' that continually move forward into new communities, new places, and new times.
The project will create substantial research outputs including an open-access database of c. 400 radical translations and biographical information on c. 50-75 militant translators. Research activities will be complemented by a series of public events, translation workshops and performances involving students, translators, and focus groups to test the hypothesis that political radicalism is a shared European heritage still capable of generating new understandings and meanings today.
In 2017, the year of the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation and the 50th anniversary of the most successful World’s Fair of the twentieth century, Craig Moyes, Director of the Centre for Quebec and French Canadian Studies (IMLR, University of London) and Steven Palmer (Department of History, University of Windsor) hosted a widely acclaimed four-day interdisciplinary symposium at multiple locations across London.
This project will culminate in the publication of an edited volume (McGill/Queen’s University Press, forthcoming) as well as a supporting website. It garnered a wide range of grants and additional funding, including a $25,000 SSHRC (Canada) Connections grant, a £5,000 Canada/UK Foundation Outreach grant, £5,000 from the UL Cassel Fund, £10,000 from the KCL Modern Languages Research Fund, and $5,000 from the University of Windsor (Ontario).
'Staging Canada' received a particularly warm response from l’Association internationale des études québécoises (AIEQ), who had supported the event by funding the travels of three Québécois academics:
The project’s PhD student was David Murray.
Medieval Francophone Literary Culture Outside France was an AHRC-funded research project that ran 2011-2015. It investigated the movement across Europe and beyond of Francophone literature c.1200-c.1450. The project involved collaboration between King’s College London (PI Simon Gaunt), University College London (CI Jane Gilbert), and the University of Cambridge (CI Bill Burgwinkle).
Our aim was to explore how key literary texts travelled along two main axes: a northern route that stretches from England across the Low Countries to Burgundy and the Rhineland; a southern route across the Alps to Northern Italy and out into the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas, to the Middle East. The database of manuscripts of six key textual traditions is intended to facilitate research on cultural and linguistic identity, on medieval textuality, and on the literary history of Europe. The project curated a major exhibition of manuscripts at Cambridge University Library in 2014 and organised two international conferences. A volume of essays and a monograph were planned for 2018 and 2019 with Brepols and OUP. Read more
Image by: "Or dist li contes..." - Historiated "O" with horse-conga. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 95
‘Gossip and Nonsense: Excessive Language in the French Renaissance’ ran from 2012-2015, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (£193,000) and directed by Hugh Roberts (University of Exeter, Principal Investigator) and Emily Butterworth (Co-Investigator). The project studied gossip and nonsense as twin aspects of a Renaissance culture of excessive language – the shadow side of the ideal of copia (abundance, copiousness).
The project produced an edited interdisciplinary Special Issue of the journal Renaissance Studies entitled ‘Gossip and Nonsense in the Renaissance’, a book authored by Emily Butterworth, The Unbridled Tongue: Babble and Gossip in Renaissance France (Oxford University Press, 2016), and a number of articles. The project also involved two artists, Dominic Hills and Clare Qualmann, who produced art works linked to the project, culminating in an exhibition at The Bank Gallery at the Cass, London, E1. Read more
Further current projects in the Department of French
Learn more about undergraduate courses in the UK's number 1 French department.
Discover postgraduate opportunities with the Department of French.
Find out more about our vibrant research culture across the department and beyond.
Browser does not support script.