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Dr Emma Campbell

Dr Emma CampbellAssociate Professor

Tel: +44 (0)24 765 23332
Email: emma dot campbell at warwick dot ac dot uk

Room: 4.31, Humanities Building, University Road

Postal address: French Studies, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL


After finishing a BA in English and French and an MA in Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds, I moved to King's College London to complete a PhD on Old French saints' lives under the supervision of Simon Gaunt. Following the submission of my thesis in 2003, I spent a year as a funded postdoctoral researcher and auditrice libre at the ENS in Lyon. I taught as a lecturer in the French Department at Leeds for a year before taking up my post at Warwick.

Research interests

My research to date, which has focused on the significant but largely neglected corpus of Old French saints' lives, is innovative in two ways: it demonstrates the critical interest of texts traditionally overlooked by literary scholars and brings critical theory to bear on this material in ways that challenge previous scholarship, not only ‘applying’ theory but also considering how these texts disrupt philosophies of power and community as well as psychoanalytic, feminist and queer theoretical models. My monograph – Medieval Saints' Lives: The Gift, Kinship and Community in Old French Hagiography (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2008) – is a key example of this approach. Similar agendas are pursued in other publications, notably my co-edited collection Troubled Vision and articles from 2003 (‘Separating the Saints From the Boys’), 2006 (‘Homo Sacer’) and 2010 ('Epistemology of the Cloister').

My current project on translation, which has received support from the AHRC, engages with new research on language and cross-cultural contact from within and outside medieval studies, drawing on the concepts and methodologies of postcolonial scholarship and translation studies. My next monograph explores notions of translation and untranslatability in medieval francophone texts from this perspective. My approach to translation in this project is distinctive in that it is not primarily based on an investigation of sources or models. Rather, the project explores how, in the context of a changing picture of medieval language and culture, translation can be seen to function conceptually as well as practically in francophone texts and manuscripts. I argue that, within this context, greater attention should be paid to how medieval vernacular writers make use of untranslatability in the form of the impossibility or failure of translation. What such an investigation adds to more established source-based approaches is a focus on how medieval writers attempted to translate meanings or messages that wholly or partially escaped linguistic expression as well as – or even instead of – source texts.

My interest in medieval translation is also being pursued through other projects and research events. I remain closely involved with a research collective on medieval translation that has been meeting since 2008 and I completed, in 2012, a co-edited volume with Dr Robert Mills on the ethics and politics of translation in the Middle Ages.

My main research interests are: Old French literature; manuscript studies; translation; modern philosophy and critical theory. I have worked on a broad range of twelfth- and thirteenth-century texts and am particularly interested in theoretically-oriented approaches to medieval literature and manuscript studies, notably in relation to feminism and queer theory, anthropology, postcolonial theory and translation studies. I would be able to supervise in any of these areas.

Teaching and supervision

My main teaching interests are in medieval literature and culture and in modern philosophy and critical theory. In addition to my language teaching, I currently teach on the Defining France module; I lecture on the first-year Strategies for Reading French Texts and the Languages and Cultures Beyond Boundaries modules; I teach a second-year module on Chrétien de Troyes; and I teach a final-year module on the transformation of the body in medieval French texts.



Edited volumes


Book chapters

  • Vie de Saint Alexis’, in The Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature in Britain, ed. by Siân Echard and Robert Rouse (Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons Inc., forthcoming 2017)
  • ‘The Scandals of Medieval Translation: Thinking Difference in Francophone Texts and Manuscripts’, in The French of Medieval England: Essays in Honor of Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, ed. by Thelma Fenster and Carolyn Collette (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer; 2017), pp. 38-54
  • ‘Saints’ Lives, Violence and Community’, in The Cambridge History of French Literature, ed. by Bill Burgwinkle et al. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 38-46
  • 'Clerks and Laity', in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval French Literature, ed. by Simon Gaunt and Sarah Kay (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 210-24
  • ‘Sacrificial Spectacle and Interpassive Vision in the Anglo-Norman Life of Saint Faith’, in Troubled Vision: Gender, Sexuality and Sight in Medieval Text and Image, ed. by Emma Campbell and Robert Mills (New York: Palgrave, 2004), pp. 97-115

Review articles

  • Ruth Mazo Karras, Sexuality in Medieval Europe: Doing Unto Others; Anna Kłosowska, Queer Love in the Middle Ages; and Karma Lochrie, Heterosynchrasies: Female Sexuality When Normal Wasn’t: Signs, 32:2 (2007), 539-44
  • ‘Cultural Traffic in the Medieval Romance World: A Survey of Current Research’, Journal of Romance Studies, 4:3 (2004), 97-116
  • I am a regular reviewer for Medium Aevum, The Medieval Review and French Studies. I have also published reviews in Speculum, the Revue des Langues Romanes and the Bulletin of International Medieval Research.


  • ‘Our World: An Interview’, Angelaki, 8:2 (2003), 43-54. Interview with Jean-Luc Nancy, with translator’s introduction.


BA, MA (Leeds), PhD (London)