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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



Supervised by Alex da Costa, my thesis considers the role of the Middle English exemplum in the preaching of John Mirk and his contemporaries. Using this rhetorical device as my lens I am able to examine the ways in which priests adapted preaching tools designed in the cloister to suit a lay audience and, consequently, to consider the interpretative processes used by the laity in their experience of parish sermons.

I came to Cambridge in 2016 to study for my MPhil in Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Sidney Sussex College. My dissertation focused on the relationship between sight and cognition in Julian of Norwich. For my PhD in Medieval Literature I moved to St Edmund's College and was a Doctoral Exchange Student at Harvard University in Easter Term 2018.

Prior to this, I completed my undergraduate degree in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, from which I graduated with First Class Honours and the James Elliot Prize for the highest mark in our final year examinations. I spent the third year of my degree on exchange at McGill University, Montréal. 

Other academic interests

Affective piety
Lay devotional practice
Female mysticism


Key publications: 

'The Abbey of the Holy Ghost, etc. (MS Ll.5.18)', Cambridge University Digital Library, University of Cambridge (2018).

Department: English
Supervisor: Dr Alex da Costa
College: St Edmund's College
AHRC subject area: Languages and Literature
Title of thesis: Leading by example: the pedagogy of the Middle English homiletic exemplum and the Festial of John Mirk
 Katherine Ellen Dixon