Mary Bateman (Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf)

Wed May 18th 2022, 12:00 - 1:15pm

"English, Anglo-Norman, and French Bevis of Hampton manuscripts and their afterlives"

Dr Mary Bateman is a postdoctoral researcher at Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf. She is currently working alongside Professor Miriam Edlich-Muth on the DFG-funded project ‘The Medieval Bevis-Tradition in Multi-Text Manuscript Contexts’. The project aims to understand what manuscript contexts can tell us about how particular texts were adapted into new regional, linguistic, and cultural reading communities. Dr Bateman completed her PhD at the University of Bristol in 2020. Her doctoral thesis and forthcoming monograph trace the emergence of a local Arthur in England and Wales between 1400 and 1700. Her research spans the medieval and the modern, and she is particularly interested in translingual approaches to the long afterlives of medieval history and myth. Her research interests include heroic literature, manuscript and book history, early modern medievalisms, and intermedial approaches to medieval experience.


The story of Bevis of Hampton tells the tale of a Saxon hero dispossessed of his inheritance and his adventures around the Mediterranean basin. It was one of the most popular medieval romances of the Middle Ages, written first in Anglo-Norman but translated into many languages, from English and Welsh to Yiddish and Byelorussian. Taking into consideration the long afterlives of Bevis manuscripts in English, French, and even a lost Anglo-Norman manuscript, this paper proposes the impact that these multi-text collections could have had in enabling Bevis’ transmission across Europe.

This paper emerges from research carried out on the DFG-funded project ‘The Medieval Bevis-Tradition in Multi-Text Manuscript Contexts’. The three-year project investigates how the medium of the multi-text manuscript facilitated the adaptation of the Bevis of Hampton narrative across the linguistic and cultural borders of late medieval Europe.