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Dr Megan Leitch BA Hons (Br.Col.), MPhil, PhD (Cambridge)

Dr Megan Leitch

BA Hons (Br.Col.), MPhil, PhD (Cambridge)

Senior Lecturer

School of English, Communication and Philosophy

Email
leitchm@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 0406
Campuses
2.18, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Users
Available for postgraduate supervision

I teach and research medieval English literature. I am a Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University, and co-editor of the journal Arthurian Literature.

My latest book project explores the intersections of medical and moral discourses in the medieval imagination, and is entitled Sleep and its spaces in Middle English literature: Emotions, ethics, dreams (forthcoming with Manchester University Press). I am also co-editing (with Victoria Flood) Cultural Translations in Medieval Romance, a collection of essays emerging from the 16th Biennial Medieval Insular Romance conference, which I hosted at Cardiff in 2018.

Previous books include:

  • Romancing Treason: The Literature of the Wars of the Roses (Oxford University Press, 2015)
  • Romance Rewritten: The Evolution of Middle English Romance, co-edited with Elizabeth Archibald and Corinne Saunders (D. S. Brewer, 2018)
  • A New Companion to Malory, co-edited with Cory James Rushton (D. S. Brewer, 2019)

I have published articles on Arthurian literature, medieval romance, and Chaucer in edited books and in journals including Arthuriana, Arthurian Literature, The Chaucer Review, Medium Aevum, and Parergon (for full details, see the 'Publications' tab).

Career Overview

  • August 2016 - present: Senior Lecturer in English Literature, Cardiff University
  • September 2012 - July 2016: Lecturer in English Literature, Cardiff University

Education and Qualifications

  • 2012: PhD, University of Cambridge
  • 2009: MPhil, University of Cambridge
  • 2008: BA (Hons), University of British Columbia

Honours and awards

  • Cardiff University Research Leave Fellowship, 2018-19
  • Visiting Research Fellow, St Catherine's College, University of Oxford, 2015

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy
  • New Chaucer Society
  • International Arthurian Society, British Branch
  • Canadian Society of Medievalists

Speaking engagements

Invited addresses include:

University of Bristol, Department of English Research Seminar, March 2019: ‘Sleep and its spaces in Middle English literature’

Swansea University, MEMO Symposium by the Sea, June 2018 (keynote): ‘Drowsy Knights and Dreamers: The Ethics and Affect of Sleep from Chaucer to Shakespeare’

University of Cambridge, English Faculty Medieval Seminar, May 2018: ‘“grete luste to slepe”: Sleeping through it all in Middle English Romance, Drama, and Dream Visions’

Oxford Medieval Society, termly visiting speaker event, February 2018: ‘Fighting for Mordred in the Fifteenth Century: Insular Identities and the Geopolitics of Literary Treason’

London Old and Middle English Research Seminar (LOMERS), November 2015: ‘“grete luste to slepe”: Sleep and its Spaces in the Pre-modern Imagination’

University of Cambridge, Magdalene Medievalists Seminar, June 2015: ‘Chaucer, Hypertextuality, and the Memory of Middle English Popular Romance’

University of Oxford, Medieval Seminar, October 2014: ‘Drowsy Knights and Dreamers: The Ethics and Affect of Sleep from Chaucer to Malory’

Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, Conference on Representing War and Violence in the Pre-Modern World, September 2013: ‘”For treason walketh wonder wyde”: civil strife and pragmatism in the literature of the Wars of the Roses, c.1437-c.1497’

Durham University, Department of English Seminar, March 2013: ‘Sleep and Romance from Chaucer to Shakespeare’

University of Bristol, Centre for Medieval Studies Seminar, October 2012: ‘”For treason walketh wonder wyde”: Treason, Truth, and Pragmatism in the Literature of the Wars of the Roses, c.1437-c.1497’

Committees and reviewing

Director, Cardiff Centre for Medieval Studies

Co-editor, Arthurian Literature

2019

  • Leitch, M. G. and Rushton, C. J. eds. 2019. A New Companion to Malory. Arthurian Studies. Cambridge, UK: D. S. Brewer.
  • Leitch, M. G. 2019. Malory in literary context. In: Leitch, M. G. and Rushton, C. J. eds. A New Companion to Malory. Arthurian Studies Cambridge, UK: D. S. Brewer
  • Leitch, M. and Bellis, J. 2019. Chivalric literature. In: Companion to Chivalry. Boydell Press

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2012

2011

2010

At Cardiff I teach a range of undergraduate and MA modules on medieval literature. These include:

  • ˜Transgressive Bodies in Medieval Literature (Year One)
  • ˜Chaucer's Gender Politics: Chivalry, Sex and Subversion in The Canterbury Tales (Year Two)
  • ˜Medieval Romance: Monsters and Magic™ (Year Three)
  • ˜Heroes and Villains from Chaucer to Shakespeare™ (MA)

Research interests

  • medieval romance, Arthurian literature, and dream visions
  • history of the emotions
  • medical humanities
  • literature and law
  • treason, sleep, and dwarves in Middle English literature
  • Malory's Morte Darthur, the Wars of the Roses, and the fifteenth-century
  • periodisation and continuities between medieval and early modern English Literature

My first monograph, Romancing Treason: The Literature of the Wars of the Roses (Oxford University Press, 2015), analyses texts from a variety of genres, and romance in particular, alongside contemporary social and political discourses, demonstrating that this literary culture is broader and richer than has previously been recognized. While the mid-to-late fifteenth century often goes unaddressed by both medievalists and early modernists, seen as a blip or rupture between the highs of Chaucer (and his  immediate successors) and the developments of Tudor writers, my book examines the central role of treason in Malory'™s Morte Darthur (written in 1469; printed by Caxton in 1485) and in understudied contemporary romances such as the prose Siege of Thebes and Siege of Troy, Melusine, and Caxton's translations.

Romancing Treason establishes some characteristics for the space between Lancastrian and Tudor literary culture, articulating the idea of a literature of the Wars of the Roses. Drawing upon theories of political discourse and interpellation, of the power of language to shape social identities, this book explores the ways in which, in this textual culture, treason is both a source of anxieties about community and identity, and a way of responding to those concerns. I argue that this literature offers instruction by both negative and positive reinforcement, with the former -“ the mode of paraenesis or admonition -“ attaining a distinctive primacy. Prose romances play a central role in this ethical discourse, but the concentrated yet contested ways in which treason is discussed in attainders, petitions, political poems, chronicles, and correspondence, as well as in literary texts, point us to a key word and concept of the time. 

My research interests in Arthurian Literature and medieval romance have also led to two co-edited volumes: A New Companion to Malory, which I co-edited with Cory James Rushton (D. S. Brewer, 2019); and Romance Rewritten: The Evolution of Middle English Romance, co-edited with Elizabeth Archibald and Corinne Saunders (D. S. Brewer, 2018). 

My work also focuses on Chaucer and on the medical humanities. I have published on Chaucer'™s poetics and tropes of gendered authorial anxiety in The Chaucer Review, and Chaucer is central to my latest monograph project. Entitled Sleep and its spaces in Middle English literature: emotions, ethics, dreams (forthcoming with Manchester University Press), this study explores the affective, ethical, and epistemic issues raised by sleep from the twelfth century to the early seventeenth, ranging across the genres of romance, fabliau, drama, and dream vision. This study of sleep's vital implications for how premodern people thought of and fashioned themselves, individually and collectively, elucidates a pre-modern mode of reading and moulding bodily performance that shapes many works of medieval and early modern literature, and the continuities between them. It also questions the distinctions we can (or should) make between literature and medical tracts, conduct books, and sermons - between imagination and practice.

My work on sleep and the medical humanities is featured in a recent blog post on the public engagement platform, The Polyphony.

I am currently supervising PhD students working on medieval Arthurian literature, crusading interests in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century English prose romances, and medieval English queens on the early modern stage. I welcome applications from prospective postgraduate students planning research in these areas or in the other areas listed under my research interests. Informal enquiries are always welcome.

Current supervision

David Mason

Research student

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Elisabeth Jones

Research student

Past projects

(Supervisor)  Dr Martha Baldon (awarded 2018): 'The Logic of the Grail in Old French and Middle English Arthurian Romance' (AHRC funded)

(Supervisor; 50%)  Dr Victoria Shirley (awarded 2018): 'The Galfridian Tradition(s) in England, Scotland, and Wales: Texts, Purpose, Context, 1138-1530' (AHRC funded)

Areas of expertise