Dr. Hannah Piercy

Early PostDoc

Medieval English Studies

Postal Address
Department of English
Länggassstr. 49
CH – 3000 Bern 9
Consultation Hour
By appointment (please book via email).

Hannah Piercy teaches and researches medieval English literature and culture. She joined the University of Bern in 2021, after studying for her PhD at Durham University. Hannah’s teaching and research focus on questions of genre, gender, sexuality, metaphor, and materiality. Her postdoctoral project examines body parts in Middle English Romance, asking two main questions: what can romance tell us about the affective and symbolic meaning different body parts had for medieval readers, and what can the representation of body parts in romance tell us about the workings of romance as a genre? This project brings together medical humanities research with understandings of literary style in Middle English romance to consider how body parts create and acquire meaning within this literary tradition.

Hannah previously taught for four years in the Department of English Studies at Durham University, where she was a PhD student. Her teaching focused on medieval romance, as well as drama from the medieval period to the Restoration. While teaching at Durham, Hannah became an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Hannah’s PhD explored the motif of unwillingness to love in medieval English romance, uncovering the widespread nature of this motif and the challenges and nuances it can offer to polarised conceptions of consent and coercion. Her PhD incorporated a broad range of works: early Anglo-Norman lais, Chaucerian romances, anonymous Middle English romances like Sir Degrevant and Syr Tryamowre, Arthurian literature, and Caxton’s translations of French romances.

Prior to her PhD, Hannah completed an MA in Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies at Durham University, and a BA in English Literature at the University of Cambridge. During her masters, Hannah studied Old English Language and Literature as well as an interdisciplinary module on early medieval England. She maintains interests in Old English literature, as well as early modern literature and culture.


Research interests

Medieval English literature and culture, especially medieval romance, gender studies (including masculinity), medieval sexualities, embodiment, the history of emotions, medieval readers, textual transmission, the medical humanities, race and the global Middle Ages, material culture, nature and the environment, and medievalism in the modern world.