Carlotta Barranu, Newnham

Degree: PhD
Course: MedRen - Med
Supervisor: Dr Orietta da Rold
Dissertation Title:

Bilingual and trilingual English manuscripts and their readers, 1215 - 1415


Biographical Information

I first came to Cambridge in 2011 to read English Literature at Anglia Ruskin University. Since then, I have gained an MPhil in Medieval History from the University of Cambridge (2014-15) and an MA in Library and Information Studies from UCL (2016-17), before then returning to do a PhD at the Faculty of English funded by Newnham College (2017-present). During this time I have also accumulated experience working in both academic and special collection libraries, such as the Library of the Faculty of Classics, Cambridge (2015-16), the Parker Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (2016-17) and the Library of Christ Church, Oxford (May 2017). 

 So far, I have worked on the following projects:

‘A Re-Evaluation of the Decameron and The Canterbury Tales in light of Derridean post-structuralist theory’ (BA dissertation, 2014)’

‘Gregory of Huntingdon and the study of Greek in thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century England’ (MPhil dissertation, 2015)

‘Collecting medieval vernacular manuscripts in Cambridge libraries, c.1500-1740’ (MA dissertation, 2017) 

During my time at the Parker Library, I have also collaborated with the Digital Humanities team of Stanford University to shape and launch Parker on the Web 2.0, the Library’s new digital manuscript repository. Currently, I am involved in a project that will see Anthony Hobson’s lifetime work on Italian Renaissance bookbindings in publication. 

Research Interests

My work to date has mainly been concerned with the history of the book, and in particular with the influence of books on individual readers and society at large in medieval Europe. I am also interested in the digital humanities and the potential that the digitisation of manuscript books poses for future research.

In my doctoral thesis, I am examining a large corpus of medieval manuscripts in order to investigate the significance of multilingualism and its impact on English readers, especially the role of the clergy within this context. It is undisputed that the language of the Catholic Church was Latin; however, I am working to trace a connection between the mendicants orders and the spread of multilingual books in England. Through this research, I pose that mendicants played a significant role in the spread of multilingual, and thus vernacular, texts during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Although I currently focus on material from England, I am intending to broaden my scope geographically to include other regions of the British Isles, resulting in a comparative study of how language informed the construction of insular identity.

I am keen to hear from students or scholars interested in any aspect of multilingualism across the medieval period, as well as quantitative approaches to manuscript studies and global medievalism.

Areas of Supervision

I am available to supervise students on palaeography, codicology, historical bibliography, and topics related to European multilingualism.

During Michaelmas and Lent 2018-19, I will be teaching Italian literature to students enrolled on the English tripos, and codicology classes to first-year and second-year undergraduates taking Paper 3 (English Literature and its Contexts, 1300-1550). I have also offered a class on Practical Criticism and Critical Practice II on materiality and the question of authenticity.