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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Dr Henry Ravenhall

dr henry
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom


Henry did his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at King’s College London, where he completed a PhD in French in 2020. Before joining the Faculty as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in September 2021, he held postdoctoral research positions at King’s College London and Freie Universität Berlin.

Research interests: 
  • medieval French literature and manuscript culture
  • medieval history-writing and theories of temporality
  • affect and emotion
  • history of the senses
  • philology
  • the philosophy of Jean-Luc Nancy and Jacques Rancière
Recent research projects: 

Henry is currently undertaking a project on touch, emotion, and community in medieval French literature and manuscript culture. He is rereading five widely disseminated texts in medieval French in their manuscript forms, paying close attention to the many signs of touch left on parchment. It is a common observation that images in manuscripts were rubbed, scratched, stroked, and even kissed by their readers. This project will produce the first monograph that investigates the implications of these widespread, yet understudied, premodern haptic practices, opening up new perspectives on the politics and ethics of reading in the medieval period as well as in our own ostensibly immaterial, digital age.

Published works: 
  • ‘The Date, Author, and Context of the Roman de Silence: A Reassessment’, Medium Ævum (forthcoming).
  • ‘All Roads Lead to Rome: Revisiting the Pairing of the Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César and the Faits des Romains in the Thirteenth Century’, Romania, 139 (2021), 5–36.
  • ‘The Untimely Subject: Reporting Discourse and Bearing Witness in Villehardouin's La Conquête de Constantinople and Yannick Haenel's Jan Karski’, Interfaces, 7 (2020), 9–36.
  • ‘L'expérience The Values of French Language and Literature in the European Middle Ages’, in ed. Marta Materni, ‘Autour du Roman de Florimont. Approches multidisciplinaires à la complexité textuelle médiévale’, Quaderni di Francigena, 2 (2020), 151–163.