Women’s Literary Culture before the Conquest

This project, funded by the award of a Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, offers the first sustained exploration of the literary culture of women in early medieval England.

It explores both the conditions that enabled a rich and varied culture to thrive, and the reasons why that remarkable culture is almost invisible today.

Histories of English Literature, including women’s literary histories, have tended to exclude or to marginalize the contributions of early medieval women. The project analyses new material to provide a better understanding of literary history and a new perspective on Anglo-Saxon literary production that places women at its very centre. 

In the course of the project  I will be visiting archives and libraries across Europe. The project blog will provide regular updates on this research.

The findings of the project will be published in a book that is contracted to appear in Bloomsbury's Studies in Early Medieval History series, edited by Ian Wood.


Our research is published in a host of journals.

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Just another gratuitous Oxford picture to show how hard I am working. https://t.co/r2ZoZM4bbG
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Work harder on your Latin declensions 🧐 https://t.co/9CB9mxBZtz
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But The Book of Margery Kempe is the ultimate fanfic. https://t.co/jNyAa84tRE

Latest blog posts


Literary Women in the Middle Ages: An Interview with Diane Watt by Megan Cavell

  Megan Cavell’s interview with Diane Watt about her project, ‘Women’s Literary...


Forthcoming Event: Crisis, Gender and the Politics of Time in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, November 5-6, 2019

In the last two decades queer, gender and feminist studies have enabled scholars to better understand...