Archives, Heritage, and Medievalism

Archives Heritage and Medievalism Page Main Image

Our Research

The Medieval Studies Research Group is interested not only in the medieval period itself but also in the later interpretation and representation of the medieval past. Our members work with, study, and publish widely on archives and medieval records, and also interpret the medieval past for the public.

Archives and Medieval Records

Our research focuses on the study, editing, and translating of different types of medieval records, as well as the contexts of their production and their preservation. This research includes: diplomatic material as sources for social and cultural history; the history of manuscript libraries and the study of paleography; the cataloguing, editing, and study of charters and archival documents from early medieval Spain and Portugal (eighth to eleventh century); published transcriptions and translations of medieval bishops’ registers and comital household accounts, with new editions of the household records of Henry III’s queen, Eleanor of Provence, currently in preparation. We are also developing projects and initiatives with Lincoln Cathedral Library and The National Archives of the United Kingdom.

Interpreting the Medieval Past for the Public

The art forms present in our world - whether they be visual, architectural, literary, filmic, or otherwise - contribute greatly to how we have and continue to perceive both the Middle Ages and the medieval. They reveal something about our relationship with the medieval past (real or imagined) and how it can and does make meaning for us in the present. Medievalism, therefore, analyses not (only) the medieval past, but the effects of modern reinventions of that past. The Medieval Studies Research Group studies the various ways that the Middle Ages is revisited, reconstructed, and represented through the Early Modern era right up to the twenty-first century, via a range of topics, including: the Middle Ages in literature, from Edmund Spenser to Harry Potter and beyond; medieval film, television, and video games; medieval re-enactment groups; engagement with and reception of medieval heritage sites; Arthurian literature and artefacts, both medieval and postmedieval; modern representations of Vikings, Early English and late-medieval cultures; and uses of the Middle Ages in politics and political discourse, including social media.

 

Image: King David playing his harp. Lincoln Cathedral MS 174, f. 51r. Reproduced by kind permission of the dean and chapter of Lincoln Cathedral.