• KY16 9PH

    United Kingdom

Accepting Postgraduate Research Students

Personal profile

Research overview

My research focuses on medieval French and Occitan literature. I joined St Andrews in 2014 after completing a PhD at the University of Warwick (2013) and following Teaching Fellowships at the University of Warwick (2012-13) and University of Leeds (2013-14).

My first monograph, Theorizing Medieval Race: Saracen Representations in Old French Literature was published with Legenda in 2019. It explores how, in the medieval Christian imagination, racial identity is not only paradoxical but even performative and draws on modern critical theory in order to counter suggestions that such identities were necessarily adversarial, consistent or absolute for medieval writers. I have also published widely on literary representations of the relationship between race and gender, race and religion, interracial love, and racial passing.

My current research follows three, interconnected, strands:

Retelling Medieval Tales

The medieval stories available to modern readers tend not to be very racially, religious, or geographically diverse and are usually about ‘national’ figures and traditions as well as European settings. This is especially true for younger audiences. This project will make a wider range of medieval stories available by bringing together creative writers and storytellers, illustrators, and academics to adapt, (re)imagine, and (re)tell medieval stories. Together, we aim to explore attitudes towards race and confront the realities of racism in the Middle Ages while also challenging modern Eurocentric ideas about the Middle Ages.

For updates and further information, see: https://retellingmedievaltales.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk


Translating Aucassin et Nicolette

Translated, adapted and retold in newspapers, opera, ballet, film, radio, and theatre the medieval French tale of Aucassin et Nicolette was uniquely popular the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It tells the story of the love between a young Christian nobleman, Aucassin, and a formerly enslaved Christian convert, Nicolette. Its unparalleled success reveals where and why the medieval matters to modern individuals and communities, giving new insights into forms of medievalism – how the medieval shapes modern ideals and identities.


Fairy Tale and Medieval French Literature

The Middle Ages are often associated with fairy tale in the popular imagination today, yet modern scholars of fairy tale tend to omit this period from their studies. My research on late medieval French epics or chansons de geste, which often add fairy tale elements to the warrior focus of earlier epics, reassesses the relationship between fairy tale and medieval literature. It provides insight into the political and social use of fairy tale in medieval narratives and uses the cross-culturalism of fairy tale to explore less westernised or nationalised readings of medieval literature. 



As well as sub-Honours language, literature, and culture seminars, I teach three research-led Honours modules across French and Comparative Literature:

  • FR4116: Medieval Marvels: the Exotic, the East and the Other in Medieval French Literature
  • FR4117: Politics, Propaganda and Mythmaking in Medieval France
  • CO4027: Folk and Fairy Tales

At postgraduate level, I teach students both through St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies and through the School of Modern Languages, particularly for: MS5024 (Mediaeval Language), MS5101/2 (Approaches to Mediaeval Studies 1/2) and MS5027 (Directed Reading).

I would be happy to hear from any students interested in pursuing a PhD in topics relating to medieval French or Occitan literature, culture or history, whether via Modern Languages or Mediaeval Studies.

External positions

President, British Branch, Société Internationale Rencesvals

Sept 2022 → …

UK Director, International Medieval Society of Paris (IMS)



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