Professor Louise D’Arcens

Louise D'ArcensOffice: 19:1092
Phone: +61 2 4221 3689

Louise is a Professor in the English Literatures Program, and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2013-17). She received a BA (Hons) specializing in medieval literature from the University of Sydney in 1990. Her 1997 PhD thesis, also completed at the University of Sydney, examined the concepts of political and literary authority in the writings of medieval women. Her two main current research areas are medievalism and medieval women’s writing. 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. Louise’s work on Australian medievalism examines the cultural and ideological role played by medievalism in colonial and former-colonial societies. Her work on Christine de Pizan focuses on Christine’s political writings, examining how Christine deploys notions of gender and ethnicity to formulate models of political action and to authorize her own intervention into the late medieval political sphere.

She is a member of the Institute for Social Transformation Research (ISTR)

She is also an Associate Investigator (2012-16) 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), has been a member of the Advisory Committee of the Sydney Centre for Medieval Studies, 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 successfully supervised, and continues to supervise, a number of PhD theses in the areas of 

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

Selected Publications 

Searchable RIS publications


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

The Cambridge Companion to Medievalism, ed. (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2015)

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

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

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

Maistresse of My Wit: Medieval Women, Modern Scholars, eds. Louise D’Arcens and Juanita Ruys, Making the Middle Ages Series Vol VII (Turnhout: Brepols, 2004).

Journal Special Issues:

Editor of ‘Comic Medievalism’ special issue of Postmedieval 5 (2) (2014)

Editor, with Leigh Dale, of ‘Literature and Impact’, special issue of Australian Literary Studies (forthcoming 2014)

Editor, with Stephanie Trigg and Andrew Lynch, of ‘Medievalism, Colonialism, Nationalism’, special issue of Australian Literary Studies (2011) 

Editor, with Helen Dell and Andrew Lynch, of ‘The Medievalism of Nostalgia’, special issue of Postmedieval (2011) 

Editor of ‘Screening Early Europe’, Special Issue of Screening the Past (December 2009)

Refereed chapters and articles:

2015 forthcoming: “Introduction”, The Cambridge Companion to Medievalism, ed. Louise D’Arcens (CUP) 

2015 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 (Palgrave Macmillan), pages t.b.a 

2015 forthcoming Serving Time: “The BBC ‘Knight’s Tale’ in the Prison-House of Free Adaptation” in Cinema Chauceriana, eds. Kathleen Kelly and Tison Pugh (Oxford University Press), pages t.b.a. 

2015: “Australian Medievalism: Time and Paradox”, in Medieval Afterlives in Contemporary Culture, ed. Gail Ashton (Bloombsbury), pages t.b.a 

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. 

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

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: "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. 

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.

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

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, ed. César Domínguez. Special Issue, Revista de poética medieval 21, 319-356

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

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.

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.Biographical Essay:

Biographical essay

2006: “Andrew McGahan”, in The Encyclopedia of Literary Biography: Australian Literature Vol IV, ed. Selina Samuels (USA: Bruccoli Clark Layman/Thomson/Gale), pp. 226-230


Louise has delivered numerous plenary addresses as well as conference papers at many local, national, and international conferences.

Undergraduate Teaching:

Louise’s contribution to the teaching in the English Literatures Program is as follows:

  • convenor, ENGL230 “Page to Stage: Modes of Performance”
  • convenor, ENGL268, “Dreams and Visions in Literature and Film”
  • convenor, ENGL337 “Sex, Power, and Chivalry”
  • convenor, ENGL400/913 “Literature, Memory, and Forgetting” 

A number of these subjects are taught to South Coast and Southern Highlands campuses as well as to the Wollongong campus, and make use of electronic and other flexible delivery methods.

Last reviewed: 8 January, 2015