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My PhD research: Helen

Helen Price portrait
Helen Price introduces her research.
Gawain first section drafts from BC/MS20c/Armitage/2/9
Simon Armitage: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Geoffrey Hill Mercian Hymns notebook cover
Geoffrey Hill: Mercian Hymns
Literary drafts
Working with literary archives

My PhD thesis investigated ecocritical approaches to reading Old English poetry and specifically focused on poetic engagement with objects crafted by human beings. Part of my research involved examining how 20th and 21st century writers utilised medieval poetic forms or content in their own poetic engagements with the material world.

I was interested in two quite different forms of engagement with the medieval literary past. The first was the process of translation and the second was the appropriation of ideas and tropes. I was particularly interested in the poetry of Simon Armitage and Geoffrey Hill as writers who have produced work that engages directly with medieval literature and culture, and whose work is often strongly connected with specific geographical regions.

Special Collections holds the literary archives of both Simon Armitage and Geoffrey Hill. The archives include manuscript and typescript drafts of their work, correspondence, and research notes. I used the archives to gain an insight into the way in which these poets engaged creatively with the past in the construction of their own poetry.


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