Miss Hannah Piercy
Before coming to Durham, I studied for my BA at the University of Cambridge, where I was awarded a First Class Honours degree in 2015. My interest in medieval literature developed early on in my undergraduate degree: I took the compulsory module on ‘English literature and its contexts, 1300-1550’ in my first and second year, and further chose to take modules on ‘Early medieval literature and its contexts, 1066-1350’ and ‘The medieval supernatural, 1066-1500’. In my third year, I wrote a dissertation on ‘Binding and Unbinding: Fashioning Narrative in Medieval Romance’, which looked at the role of clothing in allowing writers to self-consciously reflect on their work in medieval romance. My dissertation was supervised by Dr Lucy Allen.
After completing my undergraduate degree, I came to Durham to study for an MA in Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies in September 2015. During my MA, I studied modules on ‘Narrative Transformations: Medieval Romance to Renaissance Epic’, ‘Old English Language and Literature’, and ‘The Anglo-Saxon World’, an interdisciplinary module based across the English, History, and Archaeology departments. I also took a core module in ‘Research Methods and Resources’, and audited ‘Palaeography’, taught within the History department. I wrote my master’s thesis under the supervision of Professor Corinne Saunders, entitled ‘Narrative (En)closure?: Rewriting Women in Insular Medieval Romance’. Drawing upon theories of trauma articulated in the field of the medical humanities, as well as work in cognitive narratology, this thesis argued that disruptive women in medieval romance are structurally rewritten to accord with the genre’s patterns of closure.
I am now studying for a PhD in Medieval Literature here at Durham, under the excellent supervision of Professor Corinne Saunders and Professor Elizabeth Archibald. I began my PhD in September 2016. The working title for my thesis is ‘Desiring Women: Representations of Female Desire in Medieval Romance’. Taking an approach in part theoretical, and in part grounded in the social and historical circumstances of the time, I seek to unravel the complex representations of desiring women across the medieval romance tradition.
My PhD is funded by Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership, for the Arts and Humanities Research Council. I hope to continue on to an academic career after completing my thesis.
My main research interests include gender and sexuality, material culture and its representation in literary texts, marriage and social contexts, mental health, manuscript studies, the transmission and translation of texts (particularly between Middle English, Anglo-Norman and French), the continuity between the medieval and early modern periods, the use of medievalism and its presence in the modern world, animals and nature, place, monstrosity, otherness, and identity. Outside of my research, I am interested in access to higher education and cultural institutions, as well as the arts more broadly.
I would be very happy to discuss any aspect of my research or studies with anyone who would like to know more.
(Forthcoming) ‘Popular Narratives and their Crimes: Rape in Middle English Romance and Game of Thrones’, at ‘Leeds International Medieval Congress 2017’, University of Leeds, 3rd-6th July 2017.
(Forthcoming) ‘Girl Power Then and Now: Medieval Romance, The Song of the Lioness and The Protector of the Small’, at ‘The Middle Ages in the Modern World’, University of Manchester, 28th June-1st July 2017.
‘Safe Spaces? Medieval Romance, Transgression, and Enclosure’, at ‘Gender, Places, Spaces, Thresholds’, annual conference of the Gender and Medieval Studies group, Canterbury Christ Church University, 12th-15th January 2017.
‘Monstrosity or Misogyny? Rewriting Female Sexual Identity in Medieval Romance’, at ‘Identifying Identity: Ideas of Personal and Public Identity in the Medieval and Early Modern World’, organised by the Medieval and Early Modern Student Association, University of Durham, 14th-15th July 2016.
‘A Woman’s Touch: Female Identity and Cultural Contact in Medieval Romance’, at ‘Converging Worlds: Cultural Exchanges in Literature and the Written Word’, University of Durham, 20th June 2016.
‘“Refused ye bene of me”: Rewriting Female Sexuality in Medieval Romance’, at ‘Medieval Sexualities’, University College London, organised by the Northern/Early Medieval Interdisciplinary Conference Series, 11th-12th June 2016.
Publications and edited volumes
Piercy, Hannah, ‘Binding and Unbinding: Fashioning Narrative in Medieval Romance’, Durham English Review, Vol. 5 (January 2017).
Piercy, Hannah, Abigail Richards, and Abigail Steed, eds, Darkness and Illumination: The Pursuit of Knowledge in the Medieval and Early Modern World, Medieval and Early Modern Student Association (MEMSA) Journal, Vol. 2 (June 2016).
Northern Bridge Research Training and Support Grant, for ‘Safe Spaces? Medieval Romance, Transgression, and Enclosure’, at ‘Gender, Places, Spaces, Thresholds’, annual conference of the Gender and Medieval Studies group, Canterbury Christ Church University, 12th-15th January 2017.
Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) Student Bursary Scheme, grant for attendance at the ‘New Chaucer Society Congress 2016’, Queen Mary’s University, London, 11th-15th July 2016.
Grey College Trust, grant for attendance at ‘Medieval Women Revisited’, University of York Centre for Medieval Studies in collaboration with Palacký University, 7th-9th July 2016.
Grey College Trust, grant for ‘‘“Refused ye bene of me”: Rewriting Female Sexuality in Medieval Romance’, at ‘Medieval Sexualities’, University College London, organised by the Northern/Early Medieval Interdisciplinary Conference Series, 11th-12th June 2016.
‘Medieval Romance: What, Who, How, Why?’, Grey College Postgraduate Research Seminar, 24th November 2016.
‘The Monster Within: Understanding Monstrosity in Medieval Romance’, Medieval and Early Modern Student Association (MEMSA) Seminar Series, Durham World Heritage Visitor Centre, 21st June 2016.
‘What is a Monster?’, Grey College Postgraduate Research Seminar, 3rd December 2015.
Chair of the Medieval and Early Modern Student Association (MEMSA) at Durham, 2016-17.
Co-convened the Late Summer Lecture Series at Durham University, 2016.
MCR Secretary for Grey College MCR, Durham University, 2015-16.
Filmed for ‘Transitions into Postgraduate Study’ information video, Durham University, January 2017.
Helped with the English department session during the Postgraduate Open Day at Durham University, 16th November 2016.
Provided diary entries to be posted on the English Literature MA website, Durham University, 2016.
Worked with the Cambridge Admissions Office’s widening participation department on summer schools, challenge days, and open days, 2013-2015.
Took part in Cambridge University Shadowing Schemes, 2012-14.