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Miss Charlotte Thompson


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Member of the Department of English Studies  


I am a PhD student working on the twelfth century Anglo-Latin author, Lawrence of Durham (d.1154), a monk, cantor, and eventual Prior of Durham Cathedral. Though he is now little known, Lawrence produced a varied and substantial body of work comprising biblical epic, philosophical prosimetric dialogue, dramatic verse, and hagiography – works which are extant in over twenty manuscripts today. By looking both at the literary texts and their manuscripts in this project I hope both to bring overdue critical attention to Lawrence's literary and poetic craft and to contribute to discourses concerning social, political, and intellectual history. Studying Lawrence's writings and their circulation is central to understanding European traditions of classical reception and the intellectual networks moving throughout monastic communities in England and across the channel from France. Yet within these works Lawrence is innovating on classical forms and contributing to centuries old discourses on attitudes towards love, friendship, aging, and death, writing on a range of serious philosophical, religious, and intimately human topics.

My project is funded by a Durham Doctoral Studentship from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

Prior to my PhD, I studied at Durham for both the BA in English Studies (2016-19) and the MA in Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies (2020-21). My undergraduate dissertation focused on the depiction of the Holy Grail in the literature of the later Middle Ages, looking at the works of Chrétien de Troyes, Joseph de Arimathea, and Thomas Malory. My MA dissertation explored the political use of the Christus Victor motif in literature of the later Roman and Carolingian empires, focusing on Constantine and Charlemagne. I looked at both prose Lives and an assortment of poetry and considered the relationship between these works and scriptural, patristic, and apocryphal antecedents – in particular focusing on the Gospel of Nicodemus and Psalm 91. In between my respective degrees I worked as a Junior Common Room President for Josephine Butler College (2019-20) and within the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York as a Postgraduate Administrator (2021-22). I am originally from Guernsey in the Channel Islands.


Conference Papers

(Accepted) 'Lawrence of Durham: The Boundaries Between Court and Cloister', Status, Rank, or Office?: Social Boundaries in England c. 900-1200. University of Durham.