Research Interests

Pre-Modern Ecologies, Sound and Translation

My first monograph Animal Soundscapes in Anglo-Norman Texts highlights how thinking about sound unsettles fixed assumptions about language in relation to the animal in medieval textual cultures. My work explores the themes of animal sound, noise and language in medieval French and English literature written in Anglo-Norman England, including glossaries and treatises, bestiaries, hagiography, fables, lyric and song. Animal Soundscapes challenges theoretical assumptions in contemporary animal studies by focusing on how language and sound expression is used to redefine networks of relation between humans and nonhumans in the Middle Ages. I consider the ways that texts from the Middle Ages, including the Fables by Marie de France and the Life of Saint Francis of Assisi, use the sounds of beasts and birds to reinforce human exceptionalism whilst simultaneously placing the noises of different creatures back into the mouths of human audiences. 

My next project considers the naturalcultural tensions in ideas of race and species in bestiaries and beast fables. I am investigating the extent to which we can talk about ideas of species in medieval naturecultures in light of contemporary discussions in anthropology, critical race studies, ecocriticism, and the the translation of science. I am also interested in questions of sound and music, poetry and performance, and the Environmental Humanities.

Image de Michelle Rumney

Publications

Animal Soundscapes in Anglo-Norman Texts (Boydell & Brewer: May, 2022)

'Noise on the Ocean Before "Pollution": the Voyage of Saint Brendan', Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, 29.3 (2022). 

'Animal Umwelt and Sound Milieus in the Middle English Physiologus', Exemplaria: Medieval, Early Modern, Theory, vol. TBC.

‘Adeliza of Louvain: Patronage and the Emergence of the French of England’, in English Consorts: Power, Influence, Dynasty, ed. by Aidan Norrie, Carolyn Harris, Joanna Laynesmith, Danna Messer, and Elena Woodacre (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming, 2022).

‘Quacktrap: Glosses and Multilingual Animal Contact in the Tretiz by Walter of Bibbesworth’ in Words in the Middle Ages, ed. by Vincent Debiais and Victoria Turner (forthcoming: Brepols, 2019).

‘Wolfe Yollez’, The Learned Pig (‘Wolf Crossing’ editorial season, online journal, 2017).

 

Review: Animal Languages in the Middle Ages: Representations of Interspecies Communication, ed. by Alison Langdon, Medium Aevum (forthcoming, 2019).

Review: Sarah Kay, ‘Animal Skins and the Reading Self in Medieval Latin and French Bestiaries’, French Studies, 72 (2018).

Review: Jameson S. Workman, ‘Chaucer and the Death of the Political Animal’, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, 38 (2017).

Review: Paul Webster, ‘King John and Religion’, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 64.4 (2016).

Review: Miranda Griffin, ‘Transforming Tales: Rewriting Metamorphosis in Medieval French Literature’, French Studies,70.3 (2016).