Dr Laura Ashe

Laura Ashe is a University Lecturer in English and Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford. She works on English medieval literature, history and culture, writing new ways of understanding the whole period from the Anglo-Saxon world to Chaucer. She has published on chivalry and kingship, on the invention and rise of fiction in the twelfth century, on medieval ideologies of the hero, the lover, and the saint, and on the re-creation of English national identity after the Norman Conquest. Her first book FICTION AND HISTORY IN ENGLAND, 1066-1200 (Cambridge University Press, 2007) has been followed by numerous articles and edited collections; she is now writing the new OXFORD ENGLISH LITERARY HISTORY VOL. 1: 1000-1350 (Oxford University Press). She is keen to open up this period to a wider audience: it was the twelfth century which reinvented fiction, the romance, and the psychologized individual, and thus (she insists) made possible the rest of literary history.

EARLY FICTION IN ENGLAND: FROM GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH TO CHAUCER is a new anthology that shows how fiction was reinvented in the twelfth century after an absence of hundreds of years. It was published in September 2015 by Penguin Classics.

Laura read English at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, and spent a year at Harvard on a Kennedy Scholarship, before returning to Cambridge for the Ph.D. She was a Research Fellow of Caius, and then lectured at Queen Mary, University of London, before taking up her present post. She recently presented A Cultural History of the Plague for BBC Radio 3 and her short biography of Richard II for Penguin’s Monarchs series was published earlier this year.