CORDIS - EU research results

Post-National Reconceptions of European Literary History: A Mixed-Method Approach to a Late Medieval Text Tradition

Project description

A closer reading of pan-European medieval literature

A rich and diverse literary tradition emerged in Europe during the Middle Ages. Written in various European languages between the 5th and 15th centuries, the works reflect the cultural, social and political changes of the time. Funded by the European Research Council, the Post-REALM project will develop a new mixed-method approach to study pan-European medieval literature. Specifically, it will focus on 26 versions of the ‘Floire and Blancheflor’ narrative from late medieval Europe. Using digital analysis alongside close reading and material context, an interdisciplinary team will create a new understanding of how this narrative was written, adapted and disseminated across Western Europe. The project’s overall aim is to inspire a broader understanding of the patterns of creation, dissemination and reception.


The study of pan-European medieval literature faces two significant problems. The first is so obvious that it is rarely given much thought: only a fraction of the texts created in this period have survived. The second problem is similarly easy to overlook when working on any one text, which is that the content and reception history of those texts that do survive are usually studied separately within the ‘national’ philologies, whose linguistic and cultural borders make it difficult to gain insights into the broader patterns of creation, dissemination, and reception arising out of these fragments of cross-regional text traditions. At the same time, the linguistic and temporal limitations of analogue study make it all but impossible to gain a comprehensive overview of text traditions spanning different languages and large numbers of text versions.

The interdisciplinary Post-REALM project will combine digital analysis with close reading and study of material context in order to focus on 26 versions of the late medieval pan-European 'Floire and Blancheflor' narrative. Drawing on a broad range of analogue and digital forms of analysis, we will develop and refine a new mixed-method template for how to approach widespread cross-lingual text traditions from the past. The aim of the project is not simply to create an entirely new understanding of how this popular late medieval narrative was written, adapted, and disseminated across different regions of Western Europe, but to inspire a step change in how the study of medieval literature is approached. Doing so will provide new conceptual frameworks and resource formats within which to relate the different surviving versions of historical text traditions to each other and new ways of understanding and visualising their contents, material context and paths of dissemination.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 873 963,00
40225 Dusseldorf

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Nordrhein-Westfalen Düsseldorf Düsseldorf, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 873 963,00

Beneficiaries (1)