Dr Kylie Murray, Christ's



Biographical Information

I am a Fellow in Medieval Scottish and English Literature at Christ’s College. Before moving to Cambridge, I held a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Balliol College, Oxford. I gained my degrees at St Andrews (MA, first class with Lorimer Prize for Scottish Literature from the 13th to 20th centuries) and Oxford (MSt, with Distinction, and DPhil: both of my graduate degrees were funded by the AHRC and Scottish International Education Trust, founded by Sir Sean Connery). I have held Visiting Fellowships at Bristol, Harvard and Glasgow. I'm currently a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Northern Studies of the University of the Highlands and Islands (Perth and Orkney), since my research has taken a distinctly northern Scottish turn in recent years.

Teaching and Lecturing

I offer teaching for the papers covering the literature and languages of Medieval and Renaissance Britain, and have also been teaching the Practical Criticism and Critical Practice paper which coverse literature - poetry, prose, drama- of all periods. I supervise a range of undergraduate and graduate dissertations in Medieval and Renaissance literature with students from a variety of Colleges in Cambridge. I also lecture for the English Faculty on these areas.

Research Interests

My research specialism is the literature of Medieval and Early-Modern/Renaissance Scotland (broadly, c.1100-c.1625) in Scots, French, and Latin. My principal research interests concern Scottish cultural and literary distinctiveness: what are the intersections of identities between Scotland, Britain, and wider Europe? When, how, and why do they take shape? I am particularly interested in the literary traditions of dream-vision, chronicle, romance, epic, and prophecy.

Archival work, material culture, and book history underpin my approach to research. The study of manuscript and early printed books forms a vital part of both my research and teaching. 

In 2015, I identified Scotland's earliest extant non-biblical book, a manuscript copy of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, previously thought to be northern English, but which I believe was produced in the Scottish kingdom proper during the reign of David I (1124-53). This research received national and international media interest, with UK coverage from the Times, the BBC, the Guardian, the Scotsman,  the Herald, and others. It is now listed 3rd in the top ten discoveries of Ancient Scotland.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

I am currently supervising PhD work on the visitation motif in the literature of Medieval England and Scotland, and have recently supervised work on material culture in English and Continental romance of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

I warmly welcome queries about graduate supervision on Medieval and Renaissance Literature from Britain and Europe.

Media Work and Public Engagement

I am committed to sharing the excitement, energy, and relevance of Medieval and Early-Modern Britain (especially Scotland) with audiences within and beyond academia, which led me to become an AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker in 2015. I continue to broadcast about various aspects of Medieval culture, literature, and books on BBC Radio 3. Some broadcasts to date include: 

  • BBC 2015 Free Thinking Lecture, on The Medieval Scottish Dream State (November 2015)
  • BBC Free Thinking, on Medieval Manuscripts at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (September 2016)
  • BBC Arts and Ideas, on the literary and intellectual history of Tayside and central Scotland on the eve of the Dundee V&A opening (September 2018).
  • BBC Free Thinking, on walls as a site for imagination and creativity in the Middle Ages, in conversation with John Lanchester (January 2019).
  • BBC Time Travellers, on a variety of Medieval thinkers and writers, including the first king of Scots and Picts; Macbeth's weird sisters, and Bridget of Sweden (March 2019).

In 2016, I gave the British Academy Chatterton Lecture on Poetry, titled ‘Elizabeth Melville and the Poetics of Desire in Early-Modern Britain'. Mine was the first lecture in this 64-year series to cover a pre-Union Scottish poet, or a Scottish woman poet of any period.

Selected Publications

(i) Books

  • The Making of the Scottish Dream-Vision (British Academy Monographs Series - Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2020)
  • The Scottish Boethius 1100-1600 (in preparation).    

(ii) Essays, Chapters, Articles, and Shorter Pieces

  • 'Rethinking the Scottish Reformation', in G. Carruthers (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Scottish Literature (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming, 2020/21).
  • 'Boethian Influence and Afterlives in the Declaration of Arbroath', in K.P. Muller (ed.), Arbroath 1320 – 2020: 700 Years of Fighting for Freedom, Sovereignty, and Independence in Scotland, England, Ireland, Europe and the World (Frankfurt: Lang, Scottish Studies International series no. x - 2020).
  • 'Library and Scriptorium in Eco's Name of the Rose', in A. Crawford and R. Crawford (eds), Libraries in Literature (forthcoming- 2020).
  • 'Elizabeth Melville and the Poetics of Dream and Desire in Early Modern Britain', Journal of the British Academy (forthcoming - 2020).
  • 'The Kingis Quair', 'Robert Henryson', 'William Dunbar': all for The Blackwell Chaucer Encyclopedia gen. ed. R. Newhauser (forthcoming, Oxford: Blackwell - 2020).
  • 'Thomas Hoccleve, The Dream-Vision, and Fifteenth-Century Scotland: New Insights', Notes and Queries, 61 (March, 2019), 30-4.   
  • ‘Appetite, Desire, and Excess in Bower’s Scotichronicon and Older Scots Poetry’, in J. Martin and E. Wingfield (eds), Premodern Scotland: Literature and Governance 1420-1587. Essays for Sally Mapstone (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 31-44.
  • ‘The European History of Medieval and Renaissance Scotland: 
a Post-Brexit Reflection’, 
in P. Lewis and A. Amin (eds), European Union
 and Disunion: What has held Europeans Together and What is Dividing Them (London: British Academy, 2017), 74-9.
  • ‘Visions of Royal Authority in the Courts of James I (1424-37) and James II (1437-60) of Scotland’, in K. Buchanan and L. Dean (eds), Medieval and Early-Modern Representations of Authority in Scotland and the British Isles (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016), 214-34.
  • ‘Books Beyond Borders: Fresh Findings on Boethius’s Reception in Twelfth-Century Scotland’, Medievalia et Humanistica, 41 (2015), 7-43.
  • ‘A newly identified Scottish Boethius manuscript: Rethinking Scotland’s intellectual and literary culture in the Middle Ages’, British Academy Review, 26 (Summer, 2015), 58-63.
  • ‘Lady Dervorguilla and Medieval Scotland’s Manuscript Treasures’, Floreat Domus: Balliol College (2015), 26-8.
  • ‘Passing the Book: The Scottish Shaping of Chaucer’s Dream States in Bodleian Library, MS Arch. Selden. B. 24’, in K. Terrell and M. Bruce (eds), The Anglo-Scottish Border and the Shaping of Identity, 1300-1600(NewYork andLondon: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012), 121-39.
  • ‘John Vaus, Aberdeen, and Early-Modern Scottish Book Culture’, in I. Beavan, J. Stevenson, and P. Davidson (eds), The Collections of the University of Aberdeen. Volume I: Library and Archival Collections(Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011), 120-3.
  • ‘Dream-Vision and Late Medieval Scotland: The Epic Case of William Wallace’, Harvard Celtic Colloquium Proceedings, 29 (2011), 177-98.
  • ‘Rhyme(r) and Reason: Thomas the Rhymer, Prophecy, and Anglo-Scottish Identity’, in J.D. McClure et. (eds), “What Country’s This? And Whither Are We Gone?” Papers from the Twelfth International Conference on the Literature of Region and Nation (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars’ Publishing, 2011), 322-39.
  • ‘The Visio Karoli Crassi, Vincent of Beauvais’ Speculum Historiale, and Bower’s Scotichronicon’, Vincent of Beauvais International Newsletter,33 (2008), 3-9.
  • ‘Kingship in Malory’s Morte Darthur and the Older Scots Lancelot of the Laik’, San Francisco Medieval Forum, 6 (2007) [online publication, not paginated].                

(iv) Book Reviews

  • 'J. McMullen and E. Weaver (eds), The Legacy of Boethius in Medieval England: Consolation and its Afterlives', Journal of British Studies (August, 2019)
  • 'P. Philips (ed), The Brill Companion to Boethius', Speculum (October 2018)
  • 'J. Martin (ed.), The Maitland Quarto, STS', Speculum (July 2018)
  • 'M. Brown and K. Stevenson (eds), 'Medieval St Andrews: Church, Cult, City', The Medieval Review (2018)
  • 'R. Purdie, Medieval Scottish Romances, STS', Innes Review (November 2014) 
  • 'J. Smith, Older Scots: A Linguistic Reader, STS', International Review of Scottish Studies (Spring 2014)
  • 'E. Elliott, Remembering Boethius', The Medieval Review (May 2014)

(v) Forthcoming work

Includes completion of my second book, The Scottish Boethius; two pieces on the intellectual contexts influencing the Declaration of Arbroath, including a keynote lecture for the 700th Anniversary  of Scotland's most enduring contribution to global democracy, held in April 2020 at Newbattle Abbey, near Edinburgh, and further media work which opens up early Scotland to the widest possible audience.