Biography

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. 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, considering 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.

Teaching

I am an Associate Lecturer in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Staffordshire University teaching on ENGL40464 ‘Introduction to English Studies’, ENGL40512 ‘Writing for Success’ and ENGL50382/ENGL60381 ‘Shakespeare: The Tragedies’.

In previous years I have also taught ENGL50349/ENGL60350 ‘Shakespeare: From Comedy to Romance’.

Further information

Conference organisation

  • Organising Committee & Session Lead, Archival Skills for Postgraduate Researchers, 25 March 2022, Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum
  • 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

Academic service

  • 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

Public engagement

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).

Professional affiliations

  • 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
  • Review: “Katie Garner, Romantic Women Writers and Arthurian Legend: The Quest for Knowledge”, The Byron Journal 48: 1 (2020)
  • Blog Post: “Pandemic Pedagogy 2.0: Recreating Informal Spaces in Virtual Learning Environments”, History UK Blog (2021)
  • Article: "There’s no such thing as a ‘faithful retelling’ of Arthurian legend”, The Conversation UK. First published 19 February 2021
  • Co-Authored Article: “Book Club: A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe”, Church Times (05 March 2021)
  • Review: “Jeff Strabone, Poetry and British Nationalisms in the Bardic Eighteenth-Century: Imagined Antiquities”, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 44:3 (2021)

Conference presentations

  • "Such marvellous fictions”: Antiquarians, Arthur, and the Re-Imagining of the English Past in the Mid-Eighteenth Century, British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies 50th Annual Conference, 06 January 2021, St Hugh’s College, Oxford University 
  • "Myth-Making and National Identity: Re-Reading Arthur in the Aftermath of the Glorious Revolution”, Bangor English 16th Annual Medievalism Transformed Conference, 19 September 2020, The Centre for Arthurian Studies, Bangor University
  • “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

Collaboration

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 and 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
  • Bob Beattie Postgraduate Student of the Year Awards: Highly Commended, Keele Postgraduate Association, 2021

Grants

  • NWCDTP Cohort Development Fund (2021): £1,600
  • Keele English & Creative Writing Department Researcher Development Fund (2021): £550.00

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