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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2019/20 Prof. Dr. Neil Cartlidge

Prof. Dr. Neil Cartlidge

Durham University
English Studies/Medieval Studies
External Senior Fellow
January - July 2014


Neil Cartlidge works on the cultural, social and intellectual history of the Middle Ages, focusing particularly on Middle English literature, and its relationships with works in Latin and French (which were living languages in England for much of the medieval period). Much of his current research is addressed to themes and motifs that have a resonance throughout medieval Europe; and he has become increasingly interested in the way that such ideas have both fed – but also continue to challenge – the construction of the Middle Ages as an idea that suits the purposes and preoccupations of modernity. He also has particular research interests in the history of attitudes to the law (and legal relationships such as marriage); debate-poetry, dialogues and drama; medieval romances; and the works of Chaucer. Within English Studies, he is perhaps best known as the most recent editor of The Owl and the Nightingale, the first long comic poem in the English language.

He studied English Literature at Clare College in Cambridge, and completed his doctorate there in 1995 under the direction of the Professor of Medieval Latin, Peter Dronke. He then held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford until 1998, when he was appointed to a lectureship at St John's College, Oxford. In 1999 he moved to University College Dublin; and in 2006 he took up his current position at Durham University.

In 2002–2003, he was a Humboldt Research Fellow at the University of Freiburg; another Humboldt Fellowship took him to the Free University of Berlin in 2011.


Selected Publications

In prep. for publication (2014), as part of the French in England Translation Series:

  • The Works of Chardri: The Little Debate, The Life of the Seven Sleepers, and The Life of St Josaphaz: Three Poems in the French of Thirteenth-Century England, trans. (Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies)


FRIAS Research Project

Confrontations in Medieval Culture: Figures of Opposition, 1000–1600

Figurative dichotomies like Body-and-Soul, Carnival-and-Lent, Yes-and-No, Winter-and-Spring or Knight-and-Clerk are prominent among the formal structures cultivated by medieval writers. The aim of this project is a book-length account of the origins, evolution and cultural significance of such oppositional motifs. Focusing principally on literary texts in English, Latin and French, it aims to provide new perspectives both on a set of traditions that are particularly central to medieval literature, and also on the broader cultural dynamics that these traditions imply. What does it mean, ultimately, that medieval literature has such a marked preference for adversarial forms?