Skip to main content

Transformations and Translocations

Transformations and translocation image cropped

The Transformation and Translocations strand was introduced into CML in 2018, after the centre was renewed. Fundamentally, it grew out of the work of all three strands from the first period of funding – ‘Fictionality’, ‘Canon’ and ‘Languages’. It productively integrated CML members from Odense and York with a stable group of external collaborators/co-funders, extending the resources and impact of the strand. These included Jane Gilbert (University College London), Máire Ní Mhaonaigh (Cambridge), Thomas O’Donnell (Fordham, NYC), Wim Verbaal (Ghent) and Hanna Vorholt (York).

The strand worked to develop methodologies which examined form and social networks simultaneously. These methodologies attend to the agency of people (men and women), genres, modes (verse, poetry, prose), styles, texts and manuscripts (book types, layouts, images) in forging literary links across space and time. Building on the practices of both comparative literature and history, our approach focused on the connections between literary cultures often considered as distinct, whether geographically or chronologically. The strand equally attended to the absence of connections and to discontinuities, thus shedding light on the commonalities, diversities and ruptures of medieval literature.

The major lines of our research have included

  • Poetic Anthologizing in the Latin West – collaborative project funded by CML, St John’s College Cambridge and Ghent University – which will result in a submission to Interfaces entitled, Affordances of Poetic Anthologizing in the Latin West, with a number of co-written chapters, each crossing different poetic traditions to address theoretical dimensions of the topic.
  • The Liber Floridus is an intensely richly illustrated encyclopedia, produced by Lambert, a canon in the Flemish city of St Omer, working in the early decades of the twelfth century. Lambert addressed profound questions about cosmography, nature and environment, the universality of time and history, and the nature of the divine, by extending his book to include many genres, illustrations and diagrams in his book, exploring the limits of verbal and visual thinking in the process. This manuscript held in Ghent University library has been the subject of a 1) workshop (2019) bringing together researchers at all stages from Ghent and CML and a 2) PhD Autumn School (2021), run at Ghent, which was built on expertise from CML, Ghent and Fordham with further specialist contributions, addressed the specific topic of ‘Scales of Knowledge: From Cosmos to Book’, exploring Lambert’s integrated vision of knowledge across Arts and Sciences. A team from York and Ghent are now developing 3) a funding application on the Liber Floridus which includes a strong digital humanities dimension.
  • The strand generated the frameworks for two major CML conferences. ‘Moving Forms: The Transformations and Translocations of Medieval Literature’ was held in Athens in 2019 and was published in Interfaces in 2022. ‘Scale(s) of Literary History – Europe, c. 500-1500’ (with the Canon and Library Strand) was held in Rome in 2022 and select papers will be published in Interfaces in 2024.
  • Jagot’s research draws on both English literature and Near and Middle Eastern Studies to explore the connections, both entangled and diffuse, between Western literary culture and the Islamic world during the medieval period. Her research takes a multilingual and interdisciplinary approach, working across late medieval English literature, the history of science, art and religion. Her work extends to consider modern and contemporary literature on Europe and the Muslim world and ways of working across both medieval and modern contexts and critical frameworks on orientalism, postcolonialism and global literature. She has published in Interfaces and other venues.
  • Manolova’s research was transformational for the strand, bringing both Byzantium and the natural sciences into our thinking in general and central to the Liber Floridus activities. Her focus on space and dimensionality in medieval manuscripts preserving scientific works, has been published in numerous book chapters and articles.
  • Rodríguez Porto’s research in the strand pursed has been exploring an alternative, decentralized, complex narrative with regard to the consolidation of Romance languages and the development of book illustration including but decentering the tradition focus on France by widening the frame to include Iberia, Italy, the Levant.  It has led to a series of publications.
  • Tyler’s main research focus drawing on and shaping the methodologies of this strand has been the development of ‘Entanglements: Vernacular Literary Cultures in Latin Europe, 350-1150’ which in the longer term aims to be a funded project. Within this framework she has published ‘The Language of History-Writing in the Ninth Century: An Entangled Approach’, co-written with Ní Mhaonaigh, in the Journal of Medieval History and made numerous presentations as she develops and refines the project.
  • Tyler and Younge jointly wrote a piece on the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entitled, ‘Moving People, Moving Forms: Narrating Migration in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles’. This chapter, which drew on the methods of the research strand. It appeared in a volume highly germane to the strand - Migrants in Medieval England, c. 500 – c. 1500(British Academy, Oxford University Press) – which was co-edited by Tyler with W. Mark Ormrod and Joanna Story.  
  • Younge, working with Sarah Bowden (Kings College London) and Leah Braun (Humboldt), ran a series of workshops on ‘Narrating Time in the Twelfth Century’. Essays from the project which cover issues from the technology of monastic clocks to philosophical notions such as ‘folded time’ is under review for Interfaces for publication in 2023.


Last Updated 12.01.2024