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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Dr Mary Franklin-Brown

University Associate Professor
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
(+44) (0)12233 34930

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


Mary Franklin-Brown studies medieval writing in French, Occitan, Latin, and Catalan. She interprets these texts though the dual lenses of medieval philosophy and current critical thought, and she also takes account of the material transmission of texts through performance or manuscript copy. Her Reading the World: Encyclopedic Writing of the Scholastic Age (University of Chicago Press, 2012), a Foucauldian archaeology of medieval encyclopaedias, received the Harry Levin Prize from the American Comparative Literature Association. She is now working on two large projects. The first, a book titled Time and the Lyric, examines conceptions of time in the twelfth century. It interweaves an analysis of erudite Latin poetry with a study of the quadrivium (especially music and astronomy), of calendars, and of humanist commentaries, in order to elaborate a new theory of the lyric form. The second project, provisionally titled ‘Poetry, Politics, and Community’, interprets eleventh and twelfth-century vernacular poetry through recent theories of human community.

Dr Franklin-Brown completed A.B. and A.M. degrees at Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire) and a PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She has been a fellow of the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, Harvard University, and taught for many years at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, before moving to Cambridge. With considerable experience of archival research in France, she is president of the International Medieval Society, Paris.

Dr Franklin-Brown welcomes inquiries from potential MPhil and PhD students with research interests relevant to her interests.