Dr Thomas Hinton
Senior Lecturer in French
My research interests focus on medieval French and Occitan literature, especially of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with an interest in manuscripts and the material context of medieval texts; currently I am working particularly on the French of medieval England. More broadly, I am interested in the reception of literature; the uses of the past; the representation of the unfamiliar; narrative aesthetics; and theories of translation.
I offer modules on medieval French and Occitan literature and culture, as well as co-teaching an introductory first-year literature module. I also teach French language. In 2017 I won the University of Exeter Student Guild award for Best Postgraduate Supervisor.
My research interests focus on medieval French and Occitan literature, especially of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with a particular interest in manuscripts and the material context of medieval texts. More broadly, I am interested in the reception of literature; the uses of the past; the representation of the unfamiliar; narrative aesthetics; and theories of translation.
I am currently focusing on the French of medieval England - in particular, a language-learning text by the 13th-century Essex knight Walter de Bibbesworth, known as the Tretiz. From Jan 2020 until Jul 2021 I will be working on a digital edition of the seventeen manuscripts of the Tretiz, funded by an AHRC Leadership Fellowship.
This project falls within a longer-term investigation of how the development of lay literacy in the thirteenth century affected the status of vernacular (non-Latin) languages and their literary traditions, focusing on the cases of French and Occitan. Where twelfth-century texts in these languages typically aim to transmit some ancient story, whose great age guarantees its significance, the thirteenth century saw the advent of alternative models for a vernacular written culture, which sought legitimacy as cultural records of the present or recent past. Lyric poetry has a significant role in this story: Occitan and French poets were among the first vernacular writers to be celebrated as such by contemporaries, and the modern idea of the canonical author owes a large amount to the influence of lyric song on the development of the various European vernacular literatures.
I am a member of the international Research Team for the project Troubadours and European Identity: The Role of Catalan Courts, led by Dr Miriam Cabré (Girona) and funded by Recercaixa. From 2012 to 2014 I was part of a collaborative project on conceptualizing the medieval library, working as part of an international group of researchers; this resulted in a special issue of French Studies, published in 2016.
I am interested in hearing from potential research students with proposals relating to any topic relevant to my research expertise. I am especially happy to consider working with candidates whose interests relate to 12th- or 13th-century French or Occitan material; Arthurian literature; or medieval multilingualism in the British Isles.
Edward Mills, 'Imagining and Enacting Education in the French Texts of Post-Conquest England'
Coline Blaizeau, 'The Metafictive Marvellous in the Roman de Perceforest'
External impact and engagement
I enjoy discussing medieval culture in public contexts, and have taken part in a number of activities, including the 2018 Translation Festival organised by Prof Michelle Bolduc and Eliana Maestri, and a pub talk on the French language in medieval Devon.
Contribution to discipline
Since 2018 I have been a member of the Consultative Panel for the journal French Studies Bulletin.
- HISM019 - Critical Approaches in Medieval Research
- HISM183 - Interpreting the Middle Ages
- MLF1001 - French Language
- MLF1014 - Love and Death in French Culture
- MLF2069 - East is East? Cross-Cultural Encounters in Medieval French Literature
- MLF3006 - The Invention of Modern Love
- SML3035 - The Fantastic in 19th and 20th Century Literature
2000-2004:BA (Hons) in Philosophy and Modern Languages at St John's College, Oxford
2005-2006: MA in Medieval Studies at King's College London
2006-2010: PhD in French at King's College London
2009-2012: Junior Research Fellow in Modern Languages at Jesus College, Oxford
2012-2013: Addison Wheeler Research Fellow at Durham University