First Persons: Voices and Masks in High Medieval Latin Literature


ACLS Fellowship Program


English, Comparative Literature


This project explores the literature of the High Middle Ages (chiefly Latin literature of the eleventh and early twelfth centuries, predominantly but not exclusively from England and Northern France), particularly its imaginative, playful, and problematic uses of the first person, which help us understand medieval notions of “literature” and “fiction,” as well as the medieval reception of classical culture. The argument centers on ideas of textual performance, whether theatrical, declamatory, or imaginative (the reader's insertion of his or her own “first person” into that of the text). It looks at genres such as prayer and meditation, dialogues, plays or semi-dramatic forms, epigrams, inscribed pictures, and autobiographical interventions in histories and treatises.