I began my study at the University of Wales Aberystwyth, graduating with a first-class honours degree in English Literature in 2007. After several years of living and working in mid-Wales, I returned to my native Staffordshire and, eventually, to higher education, enrolling on the MA English Literatures at Keele in 2018. I completed my MA with a Distinction and received the award for Best Overall Student on an English PGT Programme for the 2018/19 academic year.
I stayed on at Keele to undertake my doctoral research, having received NWCDTP AHRC funding.
My fascination with Arthurian myth and legend goes back to childhood and both my undergraduate and MA dissertations examined aspects of Arthurian mythology by considering, in the first instance, the mirroring of gender roles in Tennyson’s Idylls of the King and, for my MA, the formation of the English gentleman and the presentation of masculinity in the Arthurian narrative from 1760 - 1850.
My doctoral research has developed out of my MA dissertation and combines my love of Arthurian literature with a newfound appreciation of the long eighteenth century, examining literary engagements with the Arthurian legend across the period and considering how these reworkings intervene in contemporary debates about British national identity and nationhood.
My supervisors are Dr Nicholas Seager, Professor David Amigoni and Professor David Matthews (University of Manchester).
I can be found on Twitter at @blaneylouise.
Research and scholarship
My doctoral thesis examines literary engagements with Arthurian legend across the long eighteenth-century, examining the ways in which reworkings of Arthur intervene in debates about historiography, gender, class, and national identity.
I am fascinated by the ways in which folklore and mythology are used to construct gendered and cultural identities and my work explores the nationalisation of cultural mythologies and examines the intersections between gendered and national identities in British Arthurian literature across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
In particular, my work considers how Williamite and Georgian appropriations of Arthur enabled the Victorians to rework the myth, but were also distinctive from those later reworkings, responding to cultural concerns from the Glorious Revolution to the Napoleonic Wars.
My wider research interests include Arthurian literature, folklore and mythology, eighteenth and nineteenth-century medievalism, gender theory, literary explorations of ageing, and the intersections between literature and history.
During the 2020/21 academic year, I will be teaching on ENGL40464 ‘Introduction to English Studies’ and ENGL50349/ENGL60350 ‘Shakespeare: From Comedy to Romance’ at Staffordshire University.
Organising Committee, Keele Humanities Postgraduate Symposium, 12 June 2019, Keele University
Communications Co-ordinator, Placing Class in Contemporary Literature Conference, 14 November 2018, Keele University
Co-Editor and Finance Officer, Under Construction: The Postgraduate Journal for Keele Humanities and Social Sciences, 2019 - Present
Student Trustee, Keele University Postgraduate Association, 2019/20
Committee Member, Keele Humanities and Social Sciences Work in Progress Seminar Series, 2019 - Present
Writer and Researcher, E-Mission: A multiplayer text-based game to increase awareness of lifestyle choices’ impact on our planet, Teaching Innovations and Projects Scheme 2019/20, Keele University, 2019 - Present
Researcher, User-Centred Design Project, Keele University, 2019-2020
Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum, Lichfield
Jan. 2019-May 2019
- Designed and launched a museum blog, for which I commissioned and edited contributions
- Created written, audio, and video materials to introduce the museum collection
- Scripted, filmed, and produced two videos on archive use and special collections handling for the museum website
- Assisted with museum activities at the Lichfield Literature Festival, including supervising members of the public in viewing and handling special collection materials
- Assisted at a series of postgraduate and early career “Introduction to Archives” workshop organised between the museum and Keele University
The Fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table of King Arthur
2007 - Present
- Co-editor of an annual collection of scholarly articles for this Arthurian interest group
- Organised and presented a 30-minute session on “Four Key Writers in Arthurian Literature” to both Fellowship members and members of the public at Lichfield Library in 2009
- Published three pieces on Arthurian literature within the quarterly journal, including “The Mirror Crack’d: Mirrors of Gender in Tennyson’s Idylls of the King” (2008), “Malory: Author or Translator?” (2007), and “Women in Arthurian Literature” (2006).
British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
British Association of Romantic Studies
International Society of Arthurian Studies, British Branch
“Thomas Warton’s The Grave of King Arthur”. The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 January 2019 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=38918]
Review: “Katie Garner, Romantic Women Writers and Arthurian Legend: The Quest for Knowledge”, The Byron Journal 48: 1 (2020) [https://doi.org/10.3828/bj.2020.11]
“King Arthur vs The Devil: Allegory, Myth-Making and National Identity in Richard Blackmore’s Prince Arthur”, British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies 49th Annual Conference, 08 January 2020, St Hugh’s College, Oxford University
“Literary Coteries and the Revival of Arthurian Romance amongst Eighteenth-Century Antiquarians”, International Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies 15th International Congress on the Enlightenment, 16 July 2019, University of Edinburgh
“Manly Sensibility: King Arthur, Antiquarianism and Masculinity in Eighteenth-Century England”, Keele Humanities and Social Sciences Postgraduate Symposium, 12 June 2019, Keele University
“The Formation of the English Gentleman: Masculinity in the Eighteenth-Century Arthurian Narrative”, Disrupting Disciplines, Sharing Perspectives Postgraduate Conference, 29 April 2019, Keele University
Collaborations and grants awards
I am keen to hear from anyone interested in collaborating, whether fellow English-Literature researchers or those outside of Literary Studies looking to engage in interdisciplinary work, especially around the areas of medievalism, Arthurianism, and the intersections between literature and national identity. I would also be interested in developing university- community projects around these themes.
AWARDS & HONOURS
British Association of Romantic Studies Stephen Copley Research Award, 2020
British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Postgraduate Bursary, 2020
Best Overall Student on an English PGT Programme, Keele University, 2019/20
NWCDTP AHRC PhD Studentship, 2019 - 2022
Keele Postgraduate Association Bursary, 2019
Keele Graduate Scholarship, 2018/19