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.

About the project

This project 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 we will be visiting archives and libraries across Europe. The project blog will provide regular updates on this research.

The findings of the project are published in Women, Writing and Religion in England and Beyond, 650-1100 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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Lovely Surrey walk https://t.co/M0q7uPEk0a
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Impressive. “I am Anglo-Saxon”. No, Jean, you aren’t. No-one is. Lots of reasons to avoid the term, as this illustr… https://t.co/yRVL4DPPrQ

Latest blog posts


Forthcoming Event: The Book of Margery Kempe and its antecedents

Tuesday 9 March 2021, 5.30pm Speaker(s): Professor Diane Watt, University of Surrey Medieval Literatures...


In the News

Women’s literary history in England is usually taken to start in the later Middle Ages. Many...