Emma Suzanne Bairstow

Emma Suzanne Bairstow


Personal profile

Research overview

Emma commenced her PhD in French Studies in 2021. Her current doctoral research focuses on the role of female matriarchal, maternal and magical powers in influencing the inner story world of the Perceforest, analysing specific scenes and episodes containing influential characters such as Lydoire, Sebille and Zellandine. Across the three years of her doctorate, she has decided to tackle the gigantean task of analysing episodes and female characters across all 13 volumes of the Droz editions of this anonymous 14th century prose. Whereas her previous research has explored the individual experiences of influential female characters in medieval texts, this doctoral project will seek to understand how these characters influence and change the inner story world around them, and the experiences of others.

Research interests

Emma's interests in research have hitherto been centralised around various elements of medieval French literary prose, but she notes that there is a consistent element which underlines all of her pursuits, and that is the merveilleux. From her undergraduate exploration of knowledge and physicality as marginalising forces for the supernatural in the Merlin en Prose, to her MLitt project on the notion of Mélusine's assimilation into the human in Jean d'Arras' famous text, there has been a constant focus on the non-human in her research. This interest is quite often gendered, as she has enjoyed considering the ways in which supernaturality affects the experiences of women, both as a liberating and marginalising force.

Academic/Professional Qualification

Emma started her undergraduate degree in French and Italian at the University of St Andrews (with Sorbonne Université) in 2016, and graduated in June 2020. She then continued her time at St Andrews as she ventured into her Medieval Studies MLitt, graduating in 2021 with a much more detailed awareness of the specific interdisciplinary and professional skills needed as a medievalist. She has now started her PhD in French Studies in September 2021.

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Letters, Medieval Studies , University of St Andrews

Award Date: 30 Sept 2021

Bachelor of Arts, French and Italian, University of St Andrews

Award Date: 30 Jun 2020


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