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Dr Jane Gilbert
158, first floor, Malet Place 1-4
Department of French
UCL, Gower St
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Faculty of Arts & Humanities

My undergraduate degree was in English and French at King's College, Cambridge, after which I worked in the bookshop at the Tate Gallery and studied medieval Art History at the Courtauld Institute before returning to Cambridge to do my PhD on doubles and doubling in medieval French and English narratives. After a Junior Research Fellowship at Murray Edwards College (then New Hall), I came to UCL in 1997.

Research Summary

I research on medieval French and English literature, both separately and comparatively. I am always particularly interested in relations between medieval literature and modern critical theory (especially but not exclusively francophone).

My current project is on Form in Translation. I am interested in thinking about how literary form translates between French, English and Latin in medieval texts and manuscripts, in how forms are laid out in manuscripts, and in the affective, literary and philosophical consequences. This is still in its early stages. I have written about tail-rhyme in English and French in the 'chronicle' of Pierre de (Peter) Langtoft and its manuscripts, relating this to ideas about 'sonic warfare' ('Singing in (Different) Tongues', article in preparation after two conference papers). I am currently especially interested in brackets (honestly!), and am preparing an article approaching these via Bruno Latour's Inquiry into Modes of Existence (to appear in a special number of Romanic Review in 2018). (If you have examples of brackets in manuscripts, please do send me details, I would be very glad to hear from you.) I have also done some preliminary work on alexandrines in the light of Giorgio Agamben's work (published in Exemplaria in 2015, details under 'Publications'), and intend to develop this. A further planned major step is to look at prose and prosimetrum. My corpus covers Old and Middle French (both continental and 'insular', that is, 'Anglo-Norman' (earlier) and 'Anglo-French' (later)), Middle English and Latin, and includes texts and manuscripts from the 11th to the 15th centuries.

Within critical theory, I have long-standing interests in the following: Narcissus, mirrors, doubles and the uncanny; living death; the other within; Antigone; Lacanian psychoanalysis; anthropology.

I was a co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project, Medieval Francophone Literature Outside France, www.medievalfrancohone.ac.uk, and am finishing the project monograph, co-authored with Bill Burgwinkle (Cambridge) and Simon Gaunt (KCL). I am interested especially in links between northern France, the Low Countries, England, the Rhineland and Savoy. The themes that attract me are especially translatio, translation and metamorphosis, legendary histories and their relation to fiction, ways of thinking about community, and prophecy. 

Teaching Summary

At undergraduate level, I teach specialist courses on medieval French literature (FREN2102, FREN4115, the latter also available as an MA option, FRENG115) and comparative literature (ELCS4004, also available as an MA option ELCSG004). My current courses focus on the reception and translatio of classical material in the Middle Ages, especially metamorphosis and legendary histories. All my teaching is inspired by strange, disturbing encounters between medieval literature and modern critical theory, and by what this can allow us to discover about our own practices as well as about those of people centuries ago.

At MA level, I teach medieval French literature and culture in various courses on various programmes, and also teach comparative literature both medieval and not, and critical theory.

I am happy to discuss supervising dissertations or theses, especially on my specialist medieval topics but also more widely.

Academic Background
1993 PhD Doctor of Philosophy University of Cambridge
1989 P.Grad Dip Postgraduate Diploma – History of Art Courtauld Institute of Art, London
1987 BA Hons Bachelor of Arts (Honours) – Modern and Medieval Languages Tripos University of Cambridge
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