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British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow,
University of Cambridge

I am currently undertaking a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Cambridge. My project (2021–24), ‘Tactile Communities: Emotion and the Experience of Medieval French Literature’, explores how readers of medieval French touched their manuscripts and the implications of these haptic interactions for community formation, aesthetic experience, and the very idea of literature. Read more about Tactile Communities here.

Prior to my fellowship at Cambridge, I completed a six-month Postdoctoral Fellowship at Freie Universität Berlin with EXC Temporal Communities, where I undertook an individual research project called Making Sense/Making Time.


From April to August 2020, I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate with The Values of French project at King's College London. I was responsible for producing digital interpretive editions of two sections of the thirteenth-century French prose universal history, the Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César.

I am a specialist of medieval French literature and manuscript culture. My PhD thesis (awarded 1 July 2020), ‘The Anachronic Manuscript: Voices of the Past in BnF fr. 17177’, focuses on the intersection of temporality, sense-making, and materiality with regard to a thirteenth-century French manuscript. I am currently revising my thesis into a monograph entitled The Anachronic Manuscript: Voices, Networks, and History in a Medieval French Book.

I am interested in approaches, both theoretical and empirical, that rethink medieval texts in relation to manuscript materiality. Other interests include: the distinction between history and fiction in the Middle Ages; testimony and trauma; philology; compilatio; medieval reception of the ancient past; ecocriticism; emotion and affect; the philosophy of Jacques Rancière and Jean-Luc Nancy; and the digital humanities.


Paris, BnF, fr. 17177

© BnF and Henry Ravenhall

© Henry Ravenhall 2023

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