Dr Edward Mills
Lecturer in Medieval Studies
I research and teach topics across a broad swathe of medieval and post-medieval cultural studies, with a particular research interest on medieval French language and literature and (within this) the use of the French language in medieval England. I joined the Department of Archaeology and History in 2021, after completing my PhD at Exeter, and currently teach courses at all undergraduate levels on medieval literature, society, and history. I also teach modern French language and literature, as part of the Department of Languages, Cultures, and Visual Studies.
My research focuses on the use of the French language in medieval Britain, and particularly on less traditionally 'literary' texts. My PhD, 'Imagining and enacting education in the French texts of post-Conquest England', examined the relationship between language use and instruction across a range of genres, including computus texts (pieces dealing with the dating of movable feasts), translations of the Latin Disticha Catonis, and the so-called 'courtesy book' tradition. I am currently working on a monograph based on my PhD research.
Since completing my PhD, I have developed further interests in the relationship between language and knowledge in medieval Britain, and have published an edition and study of the guide to the lunar calendar in British Library, MS Cotton Claudius D III (Medium Ævum, 91:1). An introduction to Rauf de Lenham's Kalender, a key text in the tradition of the computus in medieval French, is under review for a volume in Routledge's Cultural History of Translation series (ed. by Michelle Bolduc and Marie-Alice Belle). I am also interested in codicology and book history, as well as in the phenomenon and uses of medievalism in the post-medieval world.
Much of my research engages with textual criticism and the practice of scholarly editing, as well as with digital methodologies. In this respect, I have been fortunate to work as Postdoctoral Research Associate on the Learning French in Medieval England project, where I am working (along with Dr. Thomas Hinton) to produce a critical edition of all 17 manuscripts of Walter de Bibbesworth's Tretiz.
External impact and engagement
Public engagement and outreach are an important part of my work, and I take pride in my work with schools and wiith- the general public. I have collaborated with a number of local schools and colleges to deliver enrichment sessions across a range of medieval- and modern languages-related topics, and remain involved with the Modern Languages strand of the University's flagship Exeter Scholars Programme.
As part of the Learning French in Medieval England project, I have delivered a number of talks to non-specialists and school students, including for the 2020 'Being Human' festival (where we explored medieval maunscripts, Disney films, and the relationship between XML code and medieval texts) and the 2022 Translation! Festival (which saw us deliver a 'pub quiz'-style taster session on the history of French and English).
I completed my PhD in French at the University of Exeter in 2021, supervised by Dr. Thomas Hinton, Prof. Emma Cayley (now at the University of Leeds), and Dr. Susana Afonso. My PhD focused on the use of French as a language of didactism in England during the centuries following the Norman Conquest. Prior to arriving in Exeter, I worked as a lecteur d'anglais at the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France, where I taught advanced English language skills, British current affairs, and an introduction to medievalism.
Alongside my current teaching work in Archaeology and History and in Languages, Cultures and Visual Studies, I have also worked as Postdoctoral Research Associate on the Learning French in Medieval England project, where I (alongside the project's Principal Investigator, Tom Hinton) am working to produce a digital critical edition of Walter de Bibbesworth's 13th-century French language-teaching text, the Tretiz. You can watch a short video introduction to our work on the project (filmed as part of the University's ExeTalks series) here.