IES Appoints Senior Lecturer in Medieval Manuscripts and Announces Transfer of €1.8m ERC Consolidator Grant

Thursday 26 September 2019

Dr Laura Cleaver joins the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London with ERC Consolidator Grant of €1.8 million to research medieval manuscripts in the twentieth century

The Institute of English Studies (IES) is delighted to welcome Dr Laura Cleaver as Senior Lecturer in Medieval Manuscripts from 1 October 2019. Dr Cleaver brings to the Institute the ERC Consolidator grant, CULTIVATE: Cultural Values and the International Trade in Medieval European Manuscripts, c. 1900-1945.  She will begin recruiting the project team of four Postdoctoral Fellows and two PhD studentships immediately.

The project examines the trade in medieval manuscripts c. 1900-1945, focusing on England, France, Germany and America. It assesses the impact of a small group of very wealthy collectors on the development of library collections and scholarship, which in turn have shaped our understanding of the past and cultural heritage. The research explores the networks of dealers and scholars that facilitated the trade in manuscripts. Through an analysis of published and unpublished accounts of manuscripts, and price data, the project aims to reconstruct the values projected onto medieval books. In addition, the research addresses the impact of social, economic and political shifts in the period, including two world wars, on the trade in manuscripts and attitudes to these books as objects of national significance. 

Professor Clare Lees, Director of the Institute of English Studies, says ‘CULTIVATE is an outstanding research project that complements the Institute's research expertise in the history of collecting, the book trade, the 20th century, medieval manuscripts and the digital humanities.  We are thrilled to have Dr Cleaver join us, and we look forward to working with her.’

Dr Cleaver was Ussher Lecturer in Medieval Art at Trinity College Dublin, 2010-19. Her previous research has explored education as a subject in medieval art, and the illumination of books about history in the lands controlled by the kings of England c. 1066-1272.

Professor Rick Rylance, Dean and Chief Executive of the School of Advanced Study, says ‘This is a fabulous opportunity with an exceptionally strong and interesting project. It embraces many of the qualities in which SAS takes particular pride: it is international in range, outlook and expertise; and it deals with major issues of cultural transmission and understanding and the materiality of cultural objects. I’m delighted the IES will provide its base and excited by the prospect of its reach across so many of SAS’s institutes and interests. Dr Cleaver is an outstanding scholar and I look forward to welcoming her into our academic community.’

A .pdf version of this announcement is available here.