Dr Edward Mills
Lecturer in French
My student hours during Term 1 are 10am – 11am (Tuesdays and Thursdays). No booking is needed, and you’re welcome to come and see me either virtually or in person. To meet via Teams, please use this link. If you’re coming to see me in-person, you may find this illustrated guide to finding my office helpful. Please note that I work in a shared office; if you would like to discuss a confidential matter, or would prefer not to be overheard, please let me know in advance and I will find an alternative room.
I returned to the Department of Languages, Cultures and Visual Studies in 2023, after working as a Lecturer in Medieval Studies for two years (primarily based in the Department of Archaeology and History). During this time, I contributed to modules at all levels, including first-year medieval survey modules and the final-year Comparative, 'Civil Wars', as well as convening the second-year 'Medieval Paris' Option module. I also offered a first-year 'Sources and Skills' module based around post-medieval perceptions of the Middle Ages.
Within Languages, Cultures and Visual Studies, I teach French language and literature at all levels. At first-year level, I contribute to the the team-taught modules MLF1017 (The Making of Modern France) and MLF1105 (Introduction to French Thought), while at later years I convene modules in medieval music and late-medieval French court culture. I have also taught French language, and lead French-English translation workshops on the MA in Translation Studies.
My research focuses on the use of the French language in medieval Britain, and particularly on less traditionally 'literary' texts. My PhD, 'Imagining and enacting education in the French texts of post-Conquest England', examined the relationship between language use and instruction across a range of genres, including computus texts (pieces dealing with the dating of movable feasts), translations of the Latin Disticha Catonis, and the so-called 'courtesy book' tradition. I am currently working on a monograph based on my PhD research.
Since completing my PhD, I have developed further interests in the relationship between language and knowledge in medieval Britain, and have published an edition and study of the guide to the lunar calendar in British Library, MS Cotton Claudius D III (Medium Ævum, 91:1). An introduction to Rauf de Lenham's Kalender, a key text in the tradition of the computus in medieval French, will appear in an upcoming volume in Routledge's Cultural History of Translation series (edited by Michelle Bolduc and Marie-Alice Belle). I am also interested in codicology and book history, as well as in the phenomenon and uses of medievalism in the post-medieval world.
Much of my research engages with textual criticism and the practice of scholarly editing, as well as with digital methodologies. In this respect, I have been fortunate to work as Postdoctoral Research Associate on the Learning French in Medieval England project, where I am working (along with Dr. Thomas Hinton) to produce a critical edition of all 17 manuscripts of Walter de Bibbesworth's Tretiz.
In recent years, I have also begun work on pre-modern attitudes to neurological difference, particularly autism (motivated in part by my own late diagnosis of autism). My early work in this area will appear in the collaborative volume, Towards an Inclusive Academy: Perspectives from Disabled Medievalists, forthcoming in 2024 with Michigan University Press.
External impact and engagement
Public engagement and outreach are an important part of my work, and I take pride in my work with schools, organisations, and the general public. I have collaborated with a number of local schools and colleges to deliver enrichment sessions across a range of medieval- and modern languages-related topics, and remain involved with the Modern Languages strand of the University's flagship Exeter Scholars Programme.
As part of the Learning French in Medieval England project, I have delivered a number of talks to non-specialists and school students, including for the 2020 'Being Human' festival (where we explored medieval maunscripts, Disney films, and the relationship between XML code and medieval texts) and the 2022 Translation! Festival (which saw us deliver a 'pub quiz'-style taster session on the history of French and English). I am currently involved in a collaborative project (with volunteers at Delapré Abbey, Northamptonshire, and colleagues at the university) to translate the thirteenth-century Delapré Chronicle (Bodleian Library, MS Dugdale 18), and (most recently) have produced several passages of eleventh-century French for the Netflix series, Vikings: Valhalla.
Contribution to discipline
I am a regular reviewer of books for the journal French Studies, and have served as a reviewer for volumes in the Modern Humanities Research Association's Critical Texts series. I am a member of the Society for French Studies, the Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature, and the Anglo-Norman Text Society. I am also an Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
I have worked with several media partners to promote my research and to raise awareness of the discipline. Most recently, I contributed lines of medieval French dialogue to the popular Netflix series, Vikings: Valhalla (due to be released in early 2024).
I also appeared on BBC Radio 4's university-trotting quiz programme, The Third Degree, in July 2023, representing the Department of History and Archaeology.
I completed my PhD in French at the University of Exeter in 2021, supervised by Dr. Thomas Hinton, Prof. Emma Cayley (now at the University of Leeds), and Dr. Susana Afonso. My PhD focused on the use of French as a language of didactism in England during the centuries following the Norman Conquest. Prior to arriving in Exeter, I worked as a lecteur d'anglais at the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France, where I taught advanced English language skills, British current affairs, and an introduction to medievalism.
I have worked as Postdoctoral Research Associate on the Learning French in Medieval England project, where I (alongside the project's Principal Investigator, Tom Hinton) am working to produce a digital critical edition of Walter de Bibbesworth's 13th-century French language-teaching text, the Tretiz. You can watch a short video introduction to our work on the project (filmed as part of the University's ExeTalks series) here.