Department of English

Professor Louise D'Arcens

ENGL-Louise D'Arcens


Professor Louise D'Arcens

Position: Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2013-17)

Contact details

Office: Australian Hearing Hub, Level 2 North
Phone: +61 2 9850 8883


BA, Hons I(USyd 1990); PhD (USyd 1997)


Louise's main current research area is medievalism. Medievalism examines post-medieval receptions and constructions of the Middle Ages, and considers the impact of these constructions on modern cultural, political, and social life. Her current research is on comic representations of the medieval past, trans-historical emotion, and how ideas about the medieval past have figured in modern political cultures. She has also worked extensively on the long afterlife of the Middle Ages in Australian cultural life. Her 1997 PhD thesis examined the concepts of political and literary authority in the writings of medieval women, and she maintains an interest in this area, publishing academic work on the 15thC French writer Christine de Pizan.

She is an Associate Investigator (2012-17) in the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions. For a snapshot of her work with the Centre, see

She has been leader of the Cultural Memories research theme of the ARC Network for Early European Research (2007-09), and co-ordinator of the Network's Australasian Medievalisms research cluster (2006-09).

She is a current member of the Australia and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (ANZAMEMS), and acts as a referee for numerous national and international presses, journals, and research funding bodies.

Selected Grants and Awards:

Louise currently holds an ARC Future Fellowship for the project "Comic Medievalism and the Modern World" (2013-17).

She was also a Chief Investigator on the ARC Discovery Grant for the project "Medievalism in Australian Cultural Memory" (2008-2011), along with first-named CI Professor Stephanie Trigg (University of Melbourne), Associate Professor Andrew Lynch (University of Western Australia), and Professor John Ganim (University of California, Riverside).

In 2009 she was awarded an Australian Academy of Humanities / British Academy Special Joint Project grant, with Dr Chris Jones (St Andrews), for the project "Fossil and Root: A Comparative Study of Anglo-Saxonism in Nineteenth-Century British and Australian Poetry".


Louise has supervised, and continues to supervise, a number of PhD theses in:

  • medievalism
  • Medieval and Early Modern literature
  • Australian literature
  • Women's writing
  • Literary and cinematic representations of the past

Selected Publications

Scholarly books

Laughing at the Middle Ages: Comic Medievalism (Boydell and Brewer, 2014)

Old Songs in the Timeless Land: Medievalism in Nineteenth-Century Australian Literature (Brepols / University of Western Australia Press, 2011)

Edited books

The Cambridge Companion to Medievalism, ed. Louise D'Arcens (Cambridge University Press, 2016)

International Medievalism and Popular Culture, eds. Louise D'Arcens and Andrew Lynch (Cambria, 2014)

The Unsociable Sociability in Women's Lifewriting, eds. Anne Collett and Louise D'Arcens (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)

Maistresse of My Wit: Medieval Women, Modern Authors, eds. Louise D'Arcens and Juanita Ruys (Turnhout: Brepols, 2004)

Edited journal issues

''Emotions, Philosophy, and History in Cinema", Screening the Past, forthcoming July 2016, eds. Louise D'Arcens and Robert Sinnerbrink

'Comic Medievalism' special issue of Postmedieval 5 (2), 2014, ed. Louise D'Arcens

'Literature and Impact', special issue of Australian Literary Studies, (28:3, 2013), eds. Leigh Dale and Louise D'Arcens 'The Medievalism of Nostalgia', special issue of Postmedieval 2 (2), 2011, eds. Helen Dell, Louise D'Arcens and Andrew Lynch

'Medievalism, Colonialism, Nationalism', special issue of Australian Literary Studies 26: 3-4, (2011), eds. Louise D'Arcens, Andrew Lynch, and Stephanie Trigg

'Screening Early Europe', Special Issue of Screening the Past, ed. Louise D'Arcens (26) December 2009)

Scholarly book chapters

2017 forthcoming: 'Crusading and Medievalism', in The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the Crusades, ed. Anthony Bale.

2017 forthcoming: "Laughter, Emotions, and Community", in The Ashgate Research Companion to Medieval and Early Modern Emotions, eds. Susan Broomhall and Andrew Lynch

2016 forthcoming: "The Crimson Thread of Medievalism: Blood, Love, and Shame in Colonial Australia", The History of Heritage: Emotions in Blood, Stone and Land, ed. Alicia Marchant (Routledge), pages t.b.a.

2016: "Introduction: Medievalism: Scope and Complexity", in The Cambridge Companion to Medievalism, ed. Louise D'Arcens (CUP, in-press) pp.1-13.

2016: "Serving Time: The BBC 'Knight's Tale' in the Prison-House of Free Adaptation", in Chaucer on Screen: Absence, Presence, and Adapting the Canterbury Tales, eds. Kathleen Kelly and Tison Pugh (Ohio State University Press), Accepted July 2015, in-press.

2015: "Australian Medievalism: Time and Paradox", in Medieval Afterlives in Popular Culture, ed. Gail Ashton (London: Bloomsbury), pp.177-86.

2015: "Affective Memory across Time: The Emotive City of Christine de Pizan", in Ordering Emotions in Europe, 1100-1800, ed. Susan Broomhall (Brill), pp.85-104.

2014: "Presentism", in Medievalism: Key Critical Terms, eds. Elizabeth Emery and Richard Utz (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer), 181-88.


2014: "Introduction", in International Medievalism in Popular Culture, eds. D'Arcens and Lynch (Cambria), ix-xxx

2014: "Coming Home: International and Domestic Medievalism in the Films of Ridley Scott", in International Medievalism in Popular Culture, eds. D'Arcens and Lynch (Cambria), 39-58

2012: "Dario Fo's Mistero Buffo and the Left-Modernist Reclamation of Medieval Popular Culture", in Gail Ashton and Daniel T. Kline (eds) Medieval Afterlives in Popular Culture (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 57-70.

2010: "Introduction" (with Anne Collett) in Unsociable Sociability in Women's Life Writing, ed. Anne Collett and Louise D'Arcens (Palgrave MacMillan), pp. 1-17

2010 "The Prison of Human Life", in Unsociable Sociability in Women's Life Writing, ed. Anne Collett and Louise D'Arcens (Palgrave MacMillan), pp. 18-36

2009: "Most gentle indeed but most virile: The Pacifist Medievalism of G. A. Wood", in Medievalisms in the Postcolonial World: The Idea of "The Middle Ages" Outside Europe, eds Kathleen Davis and Nadia Altschul. (Johns Hopkins University Press), pp.80-108

2008: "'"Nee en Ytale": Christine de Pizan's Migrancy', in What Nature Does Not Teach: Didactic Literature in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods, ed. Juanita Ruys (Turnhout: Brepols, 2008), pp.81-105

2005: "Petit Estat Vesval: Christine de Pizan's Grieving Body Politic", in Healing the Body Politic: Christine de Pizan's Political Philosophy, eds. Karen Green and Constant Mews (Turnhout: Brepols, 2005), pp.201-26

2005: "'Where No Knight in Armour Has Ever Trod': The Arthurianism of Jessica Anderson's Heroines" in Medievalism and the Gothic in Australian Culture, ed. Stephanie Trigg (Turnhout: Brepols, 2005), pp.61-80

2004: "Introduction", in Maistresse of my Wit: Modern Scholarship, Medieval Women, eds. Louise D'Arcens and Juanita Ruys (Turnhout: Brepols, 2004), pp.1-26

2004: "Her own Maistresse? Christine de Pizan the Professional Amateur", in Maistresse of my Wit: Medieval Women, Modern Scholarship, eds. Louise D'Arcens and Juanita Ruys (Turnhout: Brepols, 2004), pp.119-45

2003: "Antipodean Idylls: An Early Australian Translation of Tennyson's Medievalism", in Postcolonial Moves in Medieval, Early Modern, and Baroque Studies, eds. Patricia Ingham and Michelle R. Warren (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave), pp.237-56.


Refereed Journal Articles

2016: "Art, Heritage Industries, and the Legacy of William Morris in Michel Houellebecq's The Map and the Territory", Studies in Medievalism XXV, 71-88.

2015: "The thunder after the lightning: Language and Pasolini's Medievalist Poetics", postmedieval 6 (2), pp.191-199.

2013: "The Impact of Literature", Co-authored with Leigh Dale. Australian Literary Studies, 28:4, 1-12.


2014: "Medievalist Laughter", postmedieval 5 (2), 116-125

2014: "You had to be there: Anachronism and the Limits of Laughing at the Middle Ages", postmedieval 5 (2), 140-153.

2014: "Living Memory and the Long Dead: The Ethics of Comic Medievalism", Studies in Medievalism XXIII, 11-18.

2013: "Excavating the Borders of Literary Anglo-Saxonism in Nineteenth-Century Britain and Australia", Representations 121, Winter 2013, 85-106. Co-authored with Chris Jones.

2012: "Meta-medievalism and the Future of the Past in the 'Australian Girl' Novel", Australian Literary Studies, 26: 3-4, Oct-Nov 2011, 69-85

2011 "Laughing in the Face of the Past: Satire and Nostalgia in Medieval Heritage Tourism" postmedieval 2 (2), pp. 155-70.

2010: "The Middle Ages in Australia: Colonialism, Nationalism, and the Antiquarian Imagination" in Florilegium: journal of the Canadian Society of Medievalists/Société canadienne des médiévistes, vol 27, 1-26

2010: "From "eccentric affiliation" to "corrective medievalism": Bruce Holsinger's The Premodern Condition", postmedieval 1 (3), 299-308.

2009: Iraq, the Prequel: Historicising Military Occupation and Withdrawal in 300 and Kingdom of Heaven", Screening the Past

2009 ""She ensample was by good techynge": Hermeine Ulrich and Chaucer under Capricorn", in Eminent Chaucerians? Early Women Scholars and the History of Reading Chaucer, special issue of Philologie im Netz, (Beiheft | Supplement 4/2009)

2008: "Deconstruction and the Medieval Indefinite Article: The Undecidable Medievalism of Brian Helgeland's A Knight's Tale, Parergon 25 (2), 80-98

2008: "'The last thing one might expect': The Mediaeval Court at the 1866 Intercolonial Exhibition", The La Trobe Journal (81), 26-39

2008: "The Past is Another Country: Forms of Australian Medievalism", Medievalismo/s. De la disciplina y otros espacios imaginados, special Issue, Revista de poética medieval 21, 319-356

2005: "Inverse Invasions: Medievalism and Colonialism in Rolf Boldrewood's A Sydney-Side Saxon", Parergon 22(2): 159-182.

2000: "From Holy War to Border Skirmish: The Colonial Chivalry of Sydney's First Professors" Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 30(3): 519-45.

2000: "Europe in the Antipodes: Australian Medieval Studies", Medievalism and the Academy II: Cultural Studies. Studies in Medievalism X, ed. David Metzger (Cambridge: D.S, Brewer), pp.13-40.


Medievalism in Australian Cultural Memory website:

Media Articles

"Mad Monks and the Order of the Tin Ear: The Medievalism of Abbott's Australia", Meanjin Quarterly, 74.4, December 2015, pp. 106-13.

"Political satire turns to dark ages to make sense of modern machinations", Sydney Morning Herald, February 1, 2015, pp.16-17,

"'Medieval' Makes a Comeback in Modern Politics: What's Going On?", Clare Monagle and Louise D'Arcens, The Conversation, September 22, 2014

"So Hot Right Now: The Middle Ages in the Climate Change Debate", Louise D'Arcens and Clare Monagle, The Conversation, November 5, 2014