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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



I completed my BA in Modern and Medieval Languages (French and Spanish) at King's College, Cambridge in 2013, and my MA in French Literature and Culture at King's College London in 2014. My MA dissertation was entitled 'Merlin, Margins and Marginalia in Bibliothèque nationale de France, Français 95'. I am now working on conceptual systems in a range of medieval French and Occitan/Catalan literary texts and their manuscript witnesses, focusing on three areas: hagiography; Merlin in the Old French Vulgate and Post-Vulgate Cycles; and Ramon Llull's Arbre de Ciència. I am investigating systems of thought as they are expressed both through diegesis and through the physical systems of the manuscript folio, with a particular focus on the marginal and the excluded. My research addresses the ways in which that which is marked as marginal signals the contingency of the frameworks of comprehensibility and acceptability at whose borders it is positioned. I am interested in comparing the systems of classification and comprehension that medieval and contemporary societies use to impose order on the world. I am working on Michel Serres’ systems theory, and Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the rhizome as an alternative to arborescent structures of knowledge, as well as the enduring image of the tree as an expression of systematic organisation.

Other academic interests:

  • Literary Theory
  • Queer Theory
  • Literary representations of gender
  • Palaeography
  • Codicology
Department: French
Supervisor: Professor Bill Burgwinkle
College: King's
AHRC Subject Area: French
Title of Thesis: Rhizomes, Parasites and Trees: Systems of Thought in Medieval French and Occitan/Catalan Literary Texts.
 Blake  Gutt