Emotion and the Medieval Self in Northern Europe 

The concept of emotive performativity – the gestural, vocal or metaphorical staging of emotions – serves as a theoretical bridge to explore questions of selfhood, interiority and the history of emotions in Northern Europe.

The project combines a multifaceted approach to enable a more holistic understanding of textual emotions and of how their staging may generate or mediate a sense of self. The intent is to establish evidence of a medieval sense of selfhood – represented via the performance of emotions – that may be culturally, linguistically or generically contingent.

The project was awarded a Research Project Grant from the Icelandic Centre for Research (RANNÍS) in 2019. The project consists of an international team of scholars located in Iceland, Holland, the UK and Italy.

For further information see project website (


Charlemagne: A European Icon

Partner in Leverhulme International Network research project on ‘Charlemagne: A European Icon’ led by Marianne Ailes (University of Bristol), which aims at publishing a series of volumes on the European reception of Charlemagne forthcoming in the Bristol Studies in Medieval Cultures series by Boydell & Brewer. The project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

As part of the project I am collaborating with Helen Fulton on a volume on Charlemagne in the Norse and Celtic Worlds (see here). For further information on the project at large see the project website.

See Q & A blog post.


Voice and Emotion in Medieval Literature

Project Leader for an international research project aimed at theorising voice as means of engaging medieval textuality, particularly in connection with emotive representation. The project received a three year Research Project Grant from The Icelandic Research Fund (the main national funding agency) for 2013-2016 and from the University of Iceland Research Fund for 2013-2017.

The main aims of the project were to address the multiplicity and interrelation of emotion and voice in medieval literature through a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approach.

The premise of the project was that medieval emotionality could only be accessed through textual, visual or archaeological evidence and that consequently in texts emotionality could only be accessed through the narrative itself.  Textual representation of emotion was for that reason found to be intimately related to the narrative voices present in the text.  After all, voice represents the presumed subject in the text, which in turn is imbued with emotion as the ‘feeling' subject to which the reader relates and responds.

The project drew on a mounting interest in cognitive approaches to literature, yet sought to engage the topic of emotion through medieval literary voices as the figurative means of conveying and representing medieval emotionality. The study sought to address questions such as how one can relate to narrative or literary emotions that are culturally contingent and hence marked by both time and place of their conception?  What does the emotive instance in a text tell us about the reading community which created and preserved it?  How can the voice of a text evoke feelings that are ultimately never real or actual, but a figment of a text, a fictive reality created out of words?

The monograph Emotion in Old Norse Literature details a theoretical paradigm for assessing textual emotions and their relation to voice and/or vocalisation and showcases the applicability of the proposed theory to medieval literature through a study of the textual representation of emotion across multiple different genres and works. The study is focused on Old Norse literature, but takes a broad perspective, both temporally and geographically speaking. The project and the monograph thus address the question of how the modern reader can still today relate to and understand the fictive emotions of literary characters in works that predate us by several hundred years.

The research team hosted the colloquium 'Vox, Voix, Voys: Voicing the Middle Ages' at Christ Church, University of Oxford on June 11, 2016



Member in a collaborative interdisciplinary network on ´Translatio' funded by NordForsk lead by Karl G. Johansson (University of Oslo). The network hosted several workshops in the collaborating countries aimed at fostering dialogue and collaboration on aspects of 'translatio' in the North.