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Durham University

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Mr Laurie Atkinson

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In 2013 I began my study for a BA in English Literature at Durham University, where I was awarded a First Class Honours degree in 2016. My dissertation was entitled ‘“Why þat yee meeued been / can I nat knowe”: Autobiography, Convention, and Discerning Doublenesse in the Works of Thomas Hoccleve’ and has since been published in an adapted form in Neophilologus. Between 2016-17 I studied for an MPhil in Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, where I was awarded a distinction.

At Cambridge, I began developing what I describe as a ‘formal paradigm’ for Chaucer’s dream-poetry, a recognisable framing narrative with implicit metafictional potential that is appropriated and adapted with varying degrees of sophistication throughout the long fifteenth century. My dissertation, ‘“Of dreflyng and dremys quhat dow it to endyte?”: A “Formal Paradigm” for Chaucer’s Dream-Poems and its Reception in the Works of William Dunbar and Gavin Douglas’, served as a testing ground for the PhD thesis that I would begin at Durham. This thesis, which is provisionally entitled ‘Dreaming of Authors and Authoring Dreams: The “Fiction of Authorship” in the Medieval Dream-Poem after Chaucer’ considers the utilization in diverse literary projects of the ‘fiction of authorship’ encoded in the dream-frame promulgated by Chaucer, as well as the reception and reproduction of that frame in manuscript and print. The fiction of authorship that I set out to describe is not specific to the dream-poem, it shares features with the framing narratives of other homodiegetic and indeed heterodiegetic medieval texts. I focus on the dream-frame, however, both for its huge popularity amongst vernacular writers and readers in this period, and as a mode for some of the most provocative experiments in the conceptualising of authoring and authority in late medieval English and Scottish literature. My supervisor for this project is Professor Corinne Saunders. My Phd is funded by an AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Studentship.

My recent research has been focused on late manifestations of the dream-poem in the early sixteenth-century, in particular, the work of John Skelton and Stephen Hawes in England and Gavin Douglas and William Dunbar in Scotland. My other research interests include late medieval autobiographical writing, the history of the book—particularly the interaction between manuscript and print and the evolution of paratexts—broader Anglo-Scottish literary and intellectual relations, Anglo-Saxon Northumbria, and the literature of Lancastrian England, where Thomas Hoccleve retains my lasting affection.


  • ‘Say my Name: Auto-Citation and the Fiction of Authorship in the Dream-Poetry of Stephen Hawes’, Foundation, 10 (forthcoming).
  • ‘“Why þat yee meeued been / can I nat knowe”: Autobiography, Convention, and Discerning Doublenesse in Thomas Hoccleve’s The Series’, Neophilologus, 101:3 (Jul., 2017), 1-16.
  • Review: John Tiffin, Paradigm Theory (Christchurch, New Zealand: Ideas Lab, 2015-16). Durham English Review, 4:1 (Jan., 2017), 125-30.
  • ‘“To me as Lowrence leird”: Literary Authority and the Hazards of Interpretation in Robert Henryson’s Moral Fables’, Foundation, 8 (Jun., 2016), 1-13.

Conference Papers

  • ‘“Vnder coloure I dyuers bokes dyde make”: Strategies of Obscurity in the Love Allegories of Stephen Hawes’, at ‘Secrecy and Surveillance in Early Modern England: The Swiss Association of Medieval and Early Modern English Studies Sixth International Conference’, University of Bern, 13-14th Sep. 2018 (upcoming). Awarded PhD bursary by SAMEMES.
  • ‘And to that ende, here is remembrance’: Registers of Petition in Hoccleve’s ‘Monk who clad the Virgin’, at ‘The Making of Thomas Hoccleve: The First International Hoccleve Society Conference’, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, 6-8th Jul. 2018 (upcoming). Awarded travel grant by the International Hoccleve Society.
  • ‘Say my Name: Auto-Citation and the Fiction of Authorship in the Dream-Poetry of Stephen Hawes’, at ‘The 53rd International Medieval Congress’, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, 10-13th May 2018. Awarded Research and Training Scheme Grant by AHRC UK Northern Bridge.
  • ‘“The roytast ane ragement with mony rat rane”: Confronting the Margins in Gavin Douglas’s Eighth Prologue to the Eneados’, at ‘The Communities and Margins of Early Modern Scotland’, University of Glasgow, 20-21st Oct. 2017.
  • ‘“Of dravelling and dreams what dow it to endite?”: Narrative Framing in the Dream Visions of William Dunbar and Gavin Douglas’, at ‘The XVth International Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Scottish Literature and Language’, University of Glasgow, 24-28th Jul. 2017. Awarded travel grants by the Society for Renaissance Studies and Jesus College Graduate Research Fund.
  • ‘“And to that ende, here is a remembrance”: Mary as Ymage, Mary as Mediatrice, and Mary as Patron in Thomas Hoccleve’s “Story of the Monk Who Clad the Virgin by Singing Ave Maria”’, at ‘Stranger Danger: Literary Exploitations of the Nation, Self and Other’, University of Cambridge Pre-1750 Literature Graduate Conference, University of Cambridge, 24th Apr. 2017.
  • ‘“Of dravelling and dreams what dow it to endite?”: Uneasy Dreams in the Prologues to Gavin Douglas’s Eneados’, at ‘Deeper than Swords: Fear and Loathing in Fantasy and Folklore’, University of Edinburgh Fantasy and Folklore Postgraduate Conference, University of Edinburgh, 18-19th Jan. 2017.
  • ‘Futile tradition? An examination of the intersection of religious and heroic elements in the Old English Guthlac A and Guthlac B’, at Writer’s Bloc Undergraduate Literary Research Conference, University of Edinburgh, 20th Feb. 2015.

Awards and Prizes

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council UK Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Centre Studentship (2017-20).
  • Jesus College, Cambridge, College Scholarship (2017).
  • Jesus College, Cambridge, Morgan Prize (2017).
  • University of Cambridge, Newton College Masters Studentship (2016-17).
  • Durham University Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship for Academic Excellence (2014-15 and 2015-16).
  • St Chad’s College, Durham, Academic Achievement Award (2016).
  • Department of English Studies, Durham University, T. W. Craik Award (2016).
  • Department of English Studies, Durham University, The McKinnell Prize (2016).
  • Department of English Studies, Durham University, J. R. Watson Award (2015).
  • Honorary Life Member of the Northumbrian Association (2016).

Placements and Editorships

  • Professional placement at Medieval Institute Publications and the Richard Rawlinson Centre for Anglo-Saxon and Manuscript Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI (May-Jul. 2018). Funded by AHRC UK Northern Bridge Placement Scheme.
  • Editor and subsequently advisory editor for the undergraduate literary journal the Durham English Review (2015- ).


Journal Article

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