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Philip Bennett


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Personal profile


Philip Bennett graduated from the University of Exeter in 1969, and was then a tutor in French there from 1970-1971. He joined the French Department of the University of Edinburgh in 1972 as a lecturer, and has followed it through many changes since then. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer (1991) and to Reader (1997).

He is currently an Honorary Professorial Fellow for French within the Division of European Languages and Cultures. He has held visiting posts at the College of William and Mary in Virgina (1983-1984), Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada (1991) and the École Nationale des Chartes, Paris (2008). He is a past President of the Société Internationale Rencesvals pour l’étude de l’épopée romane, and is also a member of the International Arthurian Society and the International Courtly Literature Society.

Research Interests

  • French and European medieval literature and culture
  • The poetics and ideologies of medieval writing (epic, romance, lyric, chronicle)
  • Textual and linguistic studies

Philip Bennett’s research is particularly focused on the Old French epic, particularly the Guillaume Cycle. He also has a strong interest in romance, particularly the Tristan legend and in thirteenth-century non-Arthurian romance, in late medieval lyrico-narrative texts and in vernacular historiography. The intertextual relationships between these various genres in their different periods is also a central issue of his work, with special reference to the creation of heroic character, the boundaries of fiction and truth or reality, the role of mythology, legend and folklore in creating the ideologies and literary universes of the works concerned. His interest in the texts is based especially on questions of poetic and narrative structures and rhetoric (anchored always in the text as language), with textual analysis and edition and manuscript studies as essential disciplines providing a necessary foundation for any theoretical investigations.


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