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Medieval and early-modern studies

This group carries out research on Medieval and Early-Modern cultures across Europe, including France, Italy, England and Spain, and explores both literary and visual cultures.

Recent projects include: Professor Emma Cayley's REACT-AHRC grant for the ; Professor Hugh Roberts's AHRC grant Gossip and Nonsense: Excessive Language in Renaissance France and AHRC Research Network Obscenity in Renaissance France; and Dr Sara Smart's work on 'The Palatine Wedding of 1613'. Professor Roberts also runs the on-line database Obscenities.

Forthcoming events include Professor Cayley and Dr Tom Hinton's hosting of the British Branch annual conference of the International Courtly Literature Society at Exeter in 2014.

Staff membersResearch Area
Dr Jonathan Bradbury Golden Age Spanish literature; Spanish prose miscellanies of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
Professor Emma Cayley Medieval French poetry and culture 1350-1550, particularly Alain Chartier and Christine de Pizan; gender studies; manuscript studies and the History of the Book; digital humanities
Dr Thomas Hinton French and Occitan literature of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries
Dr Angelo Mangini Italian nineteenth- and twentieth- century literature and Italian Medieval poetry (esp. Dante)
Professor Fabrizio Nevola Chair in Art History and Visual Culture
Professor Hugh Roberts French Renaissance Literature;  gossip, nonsense and obscenity in French Renaissance texts
Dr Sara Smart German Court festivities of the Early Modern Period; early German musical theatre; women at court; the Berlin court 1680-1713
Dr Helena Taylor Early modern French literature, particularly classical reception and women's writing

Listed below are the projects associated with the Medieval and early-modern research group that secured external funding. For information on other projects, please see individual staff pages or the research pages for each individual language.


Current projectsStaff member
Debate and Game Culture: Poetic Engagement in Europe (1300-1550) Professor Emma Cayley
Gossip and Nonsense: Excessive Language in Renaissance France

Professor Hugh RobertsDr Emily Butterworth


Recent projectsStaff member
A Critical Edition of the Works of Brunscambille  
The Exeter Manuscripts Project Professor Emma Cayley
French Libertine Verse (c1600–1622) Professor Hugh Roberts
A Research Network on the Notion of Obscenity in Renaissance France Professor Hugh Roberts

Our medieval and early-modern studies staff are involved in scholarly editing and new media. Professor Gert Vonhoff and Professor Martina Lauster’s Gutzkow Editions project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, led to the development of the Kronos electronic publishing platform.

Professor Hugh Roberts's project on ‘Gossip and Nonsense’ involves collaboration with a number of locally-based artists, such as Dominic Hills, who is creating art projects in a range of media including iPhone apps to raise awareness of ‘excessive’ language of the French Renaissance.

Through funding from REACT Knowledge Exchange Hub, Dr Emma Cayley is collaborating with creative economy partner Antenna International to pilot a smart device app of the Exeter Book and other South West manuscripts, including the Syon Abbey materials held in the Special Collections at the University. Dr Cayley has already delivered study days in three local schools with creative practitioners and creative industry reps. She also hosted an exhibition of medieval manuscripts and artwork from local schools at Exeter Cathedral in 2012, and participated in associated lectures and workshops for schools and the general public run by the Cathedral on the Exeter Book. Dr Cayley’s app will transform the teaching of medieval manuscript culture and the history of the book in UK primary and secondary schools.

Funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy, Dr Cayley edited two editions of fifteenth-century French debate poetry, and Professor Roberts published a British Academy-funded critical edition of the seventeenth-century writer Bruscambille.

Student nameSupervisorsThesis topic
Catrin Francis Hugh Roberts The translation, adaptation and politicisation of English drama in eighteenth-century French Theatre.
Peter Knowles

Emma Cayley and Elliot Kendall

The codes and coding surrounding Games, Gaming and Social Networks in Late Medieval and Early Modern France and England, their rules and regulations.