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Dr Venetia Bridges

Associate Professor

Associate Professor in the Department of English Studies+44 (0) 191 33 46581


My research as a medievalist is driven by curiosity about the ways in which texts and tales transform as they travel across languages and times and between peoples and places. I hope to model approaches to medieval studies that move away from anachronistic nationalism and its related assumptions about language, culture and identity. My main areas of study are book history, hermeneutics (with gender as a particular focus), and translation, especially in the so-called 'high' Middle Ages (c. 1100-1350).

I came to Durham in 2017 following lectureships at the universities of Leeds and Surrey. I studied medieval literature at Oxford before moving to Cambridge for my PhD, where I was supervised by Professor Philip Ford. Between 2012 and 2015 I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the interdisciplinary Centre for Medieval Literature based at the universities of York and Southern Denmark (Odense). 

My research to date has focused on the transformations of classical texts and narratives, such as the Troy story, in English, French and Latin across England and northern France. My first monograph, The Medieval Alexander Texts of France and England (2018), looks at the ways in which Alexander the Great's stories were read and adapted between 1100 and 1350, arguing for greater recognition of the connections between different languages and cultures across Europe. I have also published essays in the areas of medieval romance, medieval Latin poetry and manuscript history.

My current book project, Untimely Inheritances, extends my interest in the British High Middle Ages from the perspective of periodization, arguing that modern literary histories of the medieval period in these islands overlook the challenge posed by the continuing impact of 12th- and 13th-century literature in Latin and French in the later medieval period. Surviving books demonstrate that this material is read and copied several hundred years after its composition during the apparent 'triumph of English' as a literary language.

I am also interested in the ways in which medieval texts and images are co-opted in the modern era for a wide range of purposes, again often based on inaccurate ideas about the Middle Ages. I am working with Professor David Lawton to develop approaches to the 'global medieval' as part of this.


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