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Department of French Studies Wins Major AHRC Award

Professor Linda Paterson has been awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) research grant of over £400,000 to pursue a four-year Anglo-Italian collaborative project entitled 'Lyric Responses to the Crusades in Medieval France and Occitania'.

Together with a team of specialists from Royal Holloway, La Sapienza University in Rome, the University of Naples, the University of Salerno, the University of Palermo, and the Paul-Valéry University, Montpellier III, Linda will investigate the complex contemporary secular responses to medieval crusading movements, on the part of troubadours and trouvères, lyric poet-musicians composing in France, Occitania, Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, Syria and Greece.

Commenting on the award, Professor Paterson said:

"We shall explore how the lyric responses enlighten us about the views of their public and contribute to, complement, differ or dissent from the Church's crusading propaganda, both in their concepts of crusade and crusading and in their rhetoric. We shall also identify ways in which responses vary geographically and chronologically, and the relationship, tense or otherwise, between crusading and secular ideals."

All the research material will be made freely available online in high-quality editions, with translations into both English and Italian, along with professional readings and musical performances, and there will be accompanying monographs that place the material in historical and cultural context and offer new critical editions.

The Head of Department, Seán Hand, added:

"This fantastic project will add not just to our knowledge of contemporary reactions to the crusades, but also to our understanding of the movement's legacy on today's geopolitical complexities."