Photo of Dr Thomas Hinton

Dr Thomas Hinton

Research interests

My research interests focus on medieval French and Occitan literature, especially of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with a particular interest in manuscripts and the material context of medieval texts. More broadly, I am interested in the reception of literature; the uses of the past; the representation of the unfamiliar; narrative aesthetics; and theories of translation.

 

My current research project explores how the development of lay literacy in the thirteenth century affected the status of vernacular (non-Latin) languages and their literary traditions, focusing on the case of French and Occitan. Where twelfth-century texts in these languages typically aim to transmit some ancient story, whose great age guarantees its significance, the thirteenth century saw the advent of alternative models for a vernacular written culture, which sought legitimacy as cultural records of the present or recent past. Occitan and French lyric poets were among the first vernacular authors to be celebrated as such by contemporaries, and the modern idea of the canonical author owes a large amount to the influence of lyric song on the development of the various European vernacular literatures.

Research collaborations

I am involved in a collaborative project on conceptualizing the medieval library, working as part of an international group of researchers: Emma Campbell (University of Warwick), Philippe Frieden (Université de Lausanne), Miranda Griffin (University of Cambridge) and Luke Sunderland (Durham). Focusing primarily on French material, we ask why certain works were kept together, and what such collections can tell us about how texts were read and contributed to the production of knowledge.