Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oxford medievalist wins Philip Leverhulme Prize

Dr Laura Ashe is one of three young academics from Oxford University that were awarded the prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize worth £70,000.

The awards were given out to just 24 academics under the age of 36 who have ‘made a substantial and recognised contribution to their particular field of study, are recognised at an international level, and whose future contributions are held to be of correspondingly high promise’.

Dr Laura Ashe is in the English Faculty at Oxford University. Her research is focused on the literatures and culture of England, c.1000–1400. The long twelfth century, from the Norman Conquest to Magna Carta, was a time of development and change in political, legal and cultural spheres – but because its literature was in Latin and French, Dr Ashe says it has been excluded from English literary history.

Her research is devoted to restoring this period to our understanding of English medieval literature, tracing the continuities, which bind Old English to post-Conquest literature, and Latin and French to later Middle English.

Dr Ashe will be taking her prize over two years, beginning in October next year. She said: ‘The prize is fantastic, I’m going to use most of it to buy out my college teaching for two years in order to work on a large book. I’ve been commissioned to write Oxford English Literary History volume I: 1000–1350, which I hope will contribute to this multilingual period’s being brought properly into the mainstream of English literary studies.’

Dr. Ashe's first book Fiction and History in England, 1066-1200is a study of the ideologies of national identity, the genres of romance and chronicle, and the colonial discourses of the English in medieval Ireland.