The Values of French Language and Literature in the European Middle Ages

Posted on 20.01.2021 - 15:01 by Hannah Morcos

The Values of French Language and Literature in the European Middle Ages (2015-2020) is a research project directed by Prof. Simon Gaunt (PI) and hosted by the Department of French, King's College London, in collaboration with King's Digital Lab. For more information, visit (available until 2030).

The Values of French examines the nature and value of the use of French in Europe during a crucial period, 1100-1450, less in terms of its cultural prestige (the traditional focus of scholarship) than of its role as a supralocal, transnational language, particularly in Western Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. The project fosters collaboration between, and cuts across, different intellectual and national scholarly traditions, drawing on expertise in codicology, critical theory, linguistics, literature, and philology; it involves a range of scholars, entailing empirical research around a complex and widely disseminated textual tradition vital to medieval understandings of European history and identity, the Histoire ancienne jusqu’à César. This case study grounds and stimulates broader speculative reflection on two questions concerning linguistic identity. What is the relation historically between language and identity in Europe? How are cognate languages demarcated from each other? Indeed, its final aim, through and beyond its consideration of French as a lingua franca, is to interrogate that language’s role in the emergence of a European identity in the Middle Ages.

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no. 670726, see:


Gaunt, Simon; Morcos, Hannah; Rachetta, Maria Teresa; Ravenhall, Henry; Ventura, Simone; Noël, Geoffroy; et al. (2020): The Values of French Language and Literature in the European Middle Ages. figshare. Collection.
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ERC Horizon 2020 (grant agreement no. 670726)



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Simon Gaunt
Maria Teresa Rachetta
Henry Ravenhall
Simone Ventura
Geoffroy Noël
Paul Caton
Ginestra Ferraro
Natasha Romanova
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