French Literature Abroad: Towards an Alternative History of Literature in French

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University Club, Room 212
@ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Portrait image of Simon Gaunt in front of book shelves wearing glasses and a dark sweater


2014 Germaine Brée Lecture:

Simon Gaunt

French, King’s College London


Traditional literary histories tend to be centrifugal, tracing trajectories that move outwards from a strong and identifiable center towards peripheral zones. This lecture suggests an alternative history of medieval literature in French, one that is centripetal rather than centrifugal. Focusing initially on three key places and epochs in the development of literature in French outside France (England in the 1130s and 40s; Flanders in the 1200s; Italy in the late thirteenth century), this lecture will ask how the traditional canon looks different when a more diverse geographical arena and a less Franco-centric optic is taken into account.


Simon Gaunt has taught at the University of Cambridge and King’s College London, where he has been Head of French and Dean of Arts and Humanities. His books include Gender and Genre in Medieval French Literature (1995), Martyrs to Love: Love and Death in Medieval French and Occitan Courtly Literature (2006) and Marco Polo’s Le Devisement du Monde: Narrative Voice, Language and Diversity (2013). He is co-editor of The Troubadours: An Introduction (1999), Marcabru: A Critical Edition (2000) and The Cambridge Companion to Medieval French Literature. He is currently working on the cultural value and contours of French outside France in the Middle Ages.

Event contact: Marion Vuagnoux, Department of French and Italian.

This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for Research in the Humanities, the Department of French and Italian, and the Global Middle Ages Project.