Literary representations of queens and queenship; women book owners; women’s education in the middle ages; patronage; literary politics; England and Scotland in the middle ages; saints and sainthood, especially in the case of queen-saints.
I’m currently at that post PhD stage where I’m just about emotionally, intellectually and physically recovered from writing the thesis and it’s time to think about producing a monograph.
I’m getting into my new project now, which is partly based on my doctoral research:
Writing the Perfect Family: St Margaret of Scotland, Her Children and Their Books
This monograph offers the first consideration of literary patronage and royal power across the Anglo-Scottish border and encompasses both male and female royal patrons. It concerns St Margaret, her daughter Matilda and her son David I, and reveals the ways in which this ‘model family’ secured their reputations as ideal kings and queens through a conscious and concerted programme of literary patronage. It will demonstrate that the use of books as political tools was not an outlet exclusive to women, and that women’s literary culture was not simply influenced by men’s. Thus it will offer an essential new understanding of the role of literary patronage in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
‘Politics and Sainthood: Literary Representations of St Margaret of Scotland in England and Scotland from the Eleventh to the Fifteenth Century’ (2017)
Abstract: This thesis provides the first book-length study of St Margaret of Scotland’s literary representation across the medieval period. Drawing both on existing developments made towards the understanding of the historical Margaret – and other medieval queens – and on advances in the wider theoretical field of queenship studies and feminist scholarship, it demonstrates the usefulness of reading the textual representation of Margaret as a reflection of contemporary ideas about queens and queenship in England and Scotland across the five centuries it covers.
It was described by my examiners, Professor Sally Mapstone (St. Andrews) and Dr Philippa Semper (Birmingham) as ‘[bringing] various strands of new knowledge into the field’ and ‘[being] of considerable importance’ to medieval scholarship. So that was very nice of them.