Dr Catherine Batt

Dr Catherine Batt


Before I came to Leeds, I taught at Durham, and at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, Queen Mary and Westfield College, and Birkbeck College, University of London. In 2007-2008 I was a visiting associate professor in the Department of English, Fordham University, The Bronx, New York.

Some Recent Lectures and Conference Papers

2018 July: International Medieval Congress, Leeds: 'Forgetting to Remember in Malory's Morte'.

2018 Juneguest lecture, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal: 'Losing One's Head in Malory's Morte Darthur'

2017 July: International Arthurian Congress, Wuerzburg: Paper: ‘“We be al felowes in the hoost of our lord and we ben al hys knyghtes and souldyers”: Chivalric metaphor in Grail narratives and Works of Religious Instruction.’

2017 June: University of Bergen Conference: 'Women’s Literary Culture and the Medieval Canon’. Paper: 'Reviewing the contexts of the language of spiritual experience in late-medieval England’

2016 July: IMC, Leeds Paper: 'Anglo-Norman and Middle English Vocabulary of Compunction'.

2015 November: guest lecture, Stonyhurst College, Lancashire: 'Henry, duke of Lancaster's Livre de seyntz medicines and why it still matters'.

2015 September: St Anne's College, Oxford, Conference: 'Medicine of Words': Literature, Medicine and Theology in the Middle Ages'. Paper: 'Metaphors we believe by: spiritual and medical resources of the heart'.

2015 September: University of Hull Conference: 'Editing and Interpretation: Literatures of Medieval England'. Paper: 'BL 20 B iii: A mirror on the soul, a mirror on late-medieval English culture'.

2015 July IMC, Leeds: conference paper: 'Feeling and Devotion in Le Miroir pur bien vivre'. 

2015 May, 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo. Paper: 'Prayer in Malory'. Workshop: Reading Anglo-Norman Aloud. 

2014 July: Leeds IMC: Paper: 'London, British Library , MS Royal 20 B III: Learning to Read Le Miorir pur bien vivre'.

2014 May: National Taiwanese Science Council Fellowship lecture series, Taiwan: lectures delivered at National Taiwan University and National Changhua University of Education, on:  Henry, duke of Lancaster, The Book of Holy MedicinesSir Gawain and the Green Knight and material culture; Chaucerian fabliau.

2013 July 8-12: ‘Learned Authority, Vernacular Authenticity? Forms of Authorization in Latin, Anglo-Norman, and Middle English Prayer and Devotion’. Paper for ‘Translation and Authority; Authorities in Translation: The Medieval Translator Conference, KU Leuven 2013’.

Editorial Work:

Chair of Editorial Board, Leeds Studies in English and Leeds Texts and Monographs series (School of English: University of Leeds)

General Editor, The Medieval Translator Series (Turnhout: Brepols)

Advisory Board,  Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings, ed. by Shirley Chew (School of English:University of Leeds)

PhD topics I have supervised include translation and vernacularity; medievalism, poetic form, medical metaphors, textual editing, romance, and the works of the Gawain-Poet, Chaucer and Malory (see also the list of current and recent PhDs below). I welcome applications for doctoral study in any aspect of medieval literature and culture in which I have expertise, especially Anglo-Norman, devotional, translation and gender studies

Current PhD candidates:

01.11.2017-31.10.2018: visiting PGR: Funda Hay, Institute for Medieval Studies (supervised with Emilia Jamroziak, IMS / School of History): Transcultural Perspectives on Troilus and Criseyde.

01.10.2016- : Jack Litchfield, Institute for Medieval Studies (supervised with Iona McCleery, IMS / School of History): 'Wounded Knights and Surgeons in Fifteenth-Century English Chivalric Romance and Culture'.

01.10.2016- : Charles Roe, School of English: ‘The Representation of Episcopal Voices in the Mirour de seinte egylse and the Chasteu d’amur’.

01.10.2016- : Eleanor Wilkinson-Keyes, Institute for Medieval Studies (supervised with Karen Watts, IMS): ‘Jousting in Literary and Historical Contexts'.

01.10.2016- : Victoria Yuskaitis, Institute for Medieval Studies (supervised with Emilia Jamroziak, IMS / School of History): 'Anchorites in Shropshire: An Archaeological and Literary Analysis of the Achoritic Vocation'.

01.10.2015- : Vanessa Wright, Institute for Medieval Studies (supervised with Melanie Brunner, IMS / School of History and Ros Brown-Grant, French, SLCS): 'The Function of the Cross-Dresser in French and English Literature from 1200-1500'.

Recent PhD graduates:

2018 Trevor Smith, Institute for Medieval Studies (supervised with Dr Alan Murray, School of History): 'National Identity, Propadanda, and the Ethics of War in English Historical Literature, 1327-77'

2017 Clarck Drieshen, Institute for Medieval Studies (supervised with Dr Emilia Jamroziak, School of History): ‘The Dissemination and Reception of and Response to Visionary Devotional Instructions of Continental Origin in Late-Medieval England.’

2015 Katherine Miller, School of English (supervisd with Dr Alaric Hall): ‘The Lexicon of Slavery in Old English.’

2015 Alejandra Ortiz Salamovich: ‘Translation Practice in Early Modern Europe: Spanish Chivalric Romance in England.’






  • IMC Standing Committee member
  • IMS Steering Committee member

Research interests

Translation, in all its manifestations, linguistic and cultural, across time and tongues, is a central and continuing focus of my research interests, which include: multilingual medieval cultures; English/French literary relations; Saints’ Lives; the Gawain-poet; Caxton; Thomas Hoccleve; material culture; Thomas Malory and Arthurian Literature; Middle English Romance; poetics and the representation of women; women’s writing; twentieth-century medievalism (including the work of V. S. Naipaul, and Sylvia Townsend Warner); medieval medical cultures; devotional literature and the language of spiritual selfhood; Sloth, from sin to pathology.

Questions of translation are at the heart, not simply of medieval communication, but also of artistic invention, and I am a medievalist because medieval culture offers such rich resources for knowing and understanding ourselves and the wider world. The artefacts of medieval culture continually surprise me by challenging the tenets of modern preconceptions, not only about the Middle Ages, but about humanity and human interaction in general. Medieval cultures have different ideas about originality and inspiration from prevalent contemporary notions of artistic originality, and from the beginning of my interest in the medieval I have been engaged with translation’s creative dimensions. My MA dissertation (University of Liverpool) considered issues of imitation and originality in versions of the Saint Katherine legend, including the Latin Vulgate, the Anglo-Norman verse Vie by the nun Clemence of Barking, and early and later versions in Middle English poetry and prose. My PhD work (also at the University of Liverpool) considered English literary responses to French Arthurian cyclic romance. In Malory’s Morte Darthur: Remaking Arthurian Tradition (New York: Palgrave, 2002), I explored how Malory’s dual inheritance of insular and continental material informs a text that expresses a desire for social, political and literary stability, but also acknowledges, inter alia, the failures of social and legal institutionalizations of violence, in what becomes a critique of both literary form and social order.

Some of my more recent work involves practical translation: In 2014 my translation of and commentary on Henry, duke of Lancaster’s Anglo-Norman penitential treatise, Le Livre de seyntz medicines / The Book of Holy Medicines (1354) was published in Arizona University Press's French of England series. Henry'sfascinating work, the anguished outpourings of a soul acknowledging his sin and crying to God for grace, immediately catches the attention with its central metaphor of the spiritual self as a body wounded by sin, whom Christ the Physician treats with the salvific balm of his own blood. This text, which demonstrates the cultural dynamism of the fourteenth-century Anglo-Norman world, is an important witness to how a medieval lay writer can conceptualize selfhood and spirituality. Related to this material is my next project, a translation of a neglected unedited devotional treatise (of which Henry VIII’s library had two copies), which survives uniquely in British L:ibrary Royal 20 B.III. This treatise, the Miroir pur bien vivre, will be a point of departure for the investigation of the significance and influence of Anglo-Norman writings to medieval insular devotional culture in the fifteenth century and beyond. I am also concerned with the rhetoric of devotion and the concept of spiritual selfhood in religious writings.

Other current projects include: violence to women as a romance trope; the representation of women and genre-mixing in chronicle writing; medieval writers’ use of medical metaphors in the Penitential Psalms and their commentaries.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD 'English Literary Responses to French Arthurian Cyclic Romance', University of Liverpool
  • MA Medieval Literature, University of Liverpool
  • BA (1st Class Hons) English Literature, Bedford College, University of London

Professional memberships

  • International Arthurian Society

Student education

I teach / have taught on a variety of undergraduate and taught postgraduate modules in the School of English and the IMS, including:

Level 1: introductory modules to Drama; Medieval European Literature; Narratives of Witchcraft and Magic; Medieval Narratives in the Modern World.

Level 2: Medieval Literature; Arthurian Legend; Dream Literature; Medieval Poetry: Translation and Creative Re-writing.

Level 3: Final Year Projects

Taught Postgraduate MA

Arthurian Legend: Medieval to Modern; Medieval English; Old and Middle French; Medieval Bodies; Dissertation supervision



Research groups and institutes

  • Textual Histories Research Group

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>