Cardiff Medieval and Early Modern Research Initiative

MEMORI is the multi-disciplinary research hub for Cardiff University’s staff and students working in medieval and early modern cultural studies. Funded by the School of English, Communication and Philosophy, MEMORI promotes research that combines traditional scholarly rigour with new theoretical and methodological approaches.

Founded in 2009, the initial seminar programme featured a series of papers delivered by Cardiff academics on the theme of Camelot, including Stephen Knight on the translatio of the Welsh Myrddin into the Latin/Old French figure of Merlin; Rob Gossedge on the socio-political genesis of Wace’s Round Table; Richard Wilson, MEMORI’s first director, on Shakespeare’s handling of Arthurian and associated memes; and Irene Morra on the reorientation of those tropes into a self-consciously American milieu in the form of Lerner and Loewe’s stage musical, Camelot. In subsequent years, MEMORI’s seminar programmes have remained mostly literary and cultural in focus, though still friendly to history and historians. Moreover, since that first series, MEMORI has continued to promote trans-historical approaches to medieval and renaissance studies – encouraging critical thinking into neo-medievalism and new Elizabethanism alongside research into the literature and culture of the Middle Ages and Early Modern period.

Past speakers in recent years include Ruth Ahnert (Queen Mary), Catherine Clarke (Southampton), Helen Cooper (Cambridge), Marilynn Desmond (Binghampton, NY), Andrew Hadfield (Sussex), Margaret Kean (Oxford), Cathy La Farge (Cork), Eric Langley, Ayla Lepine (Nottingham), Mary Morrissey (Reading), Heather O’Donoghue (Oxford), Ad Putter (Bristol), Alec Ryrie (Durham), Paul Stevens (Toronto), Phillips Schwyzer (Exeter), Stephanie Trigg (Melbourne), Daniel Wakelin (Oxford) and John Wyver (Westminster), as well as numerous medievalists and early modernists active, then and now, at Cardiff University, including Lewis Beer, Rob Gossedge, Wyn James, Stephen Knight, Megan Leitch, Irene Morra, Carl Phelpstead, Helen Phillips, Ceri Sullivan and Richard Wilson.

Though its prime activity remains that of a research seminar series, MEMORI also hosts public lectures, sponsors sessions at Leeds International Medieval Congress, supports cross-disciplinary conferences within Cardiff University, and hosts occasional training events for PGTs and PGRs in the South Wales and West of England area, as well as a monthly reading group.

Vibrant and inclusive, MEMORI has always encouraged participation from all levels of Cardiff University’s pre-modern researchers – from undergraduates to staff. In particular, the role played by postgraduates has been vital to the continuing health of the research initiative. The aim of this website – alongside its associated Twitter account, @CardiffMEMORI – is to provide an online space to support the research activities of its members and to stimulate discussion of all things medieval and early modern.

Rob Gossedge