The Values of French

The Values of French Language and Literature in the European Middle Ages. ERC Advanced Grant at King's College London

The project team

Simon Gaunt

Simon Gaunt

Simon Gaunt's main research interests are: Old French literature; medieval Occitan literature; textual criticism (editing medieval texts); modern critical theory. He has worked on a wide range of twelfth- and thirteenth-century texts, including troubadour lyric, chansons de geste, verse and prose courtly romance, fabliaux, beast epic, hagiography, the Roman de la Rose and medieval travel literature. He is particularly interested in theoretically oriented approaches to medieval literature and textual criticism. His most recent book is The Song of Roland and other Poems of Charlemagne (with Karen Pratt), published by Oxford World Classics in 2016. Simon is the Principal Investigator of The Values of French and previously was PI on Medieval Francophone Literary Culture outside France, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. In TVOF, he is investigating the relation between the French language and identity in the Middle Ages.


Hannah Morcos

Hannah Morcos completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies in French language and literature at King’s College London. Her research interests centre on medieval French literature and manuscript studies. Hannah’s PhD thesis investigated the compilation and reception of francophone story collections in multi-text codices, and formed part of the cross-European research project The Dynamics of the Medieval Manuscript: Text Collections from a European Perspective, which was funded by HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area). She has also worked as postgraduate intern in the British Library’s Section of Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts. In TVOF, Hannah is working on the digital editions of Paris, BNF f. fr. 20125 and London, BL, Royal 20 D I from their design to their completion.


Maria Teresa Rachetta

Maria Teresa Rachetta obtained her PhD at the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ in 2015. She also studied at the University of Paris 4 ‘Sorbonne’ and at the University of Cambridge and was research fellow at the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Storici in Naples. She specialises in Romance languages and literatures from 1100 to 1400. Her research has focussed particularly on Old French prose historiography and Biblical verse adaptations, as well as on sermons, verse romances, and lyric poetry in French and Occitan. In TVOF, Maria Teresa is working on the rhetorical construction and manuscript dissemination of historical narratives in French between 1150 and 1260, in France and in the Mediterranean area.


Henry Ravenhall

Henry Ravenhall is the project PhD student, supervised by Professor Gaunt and Dr. Ventura. He completed his undergraduate (BA French & History) and masters (MA French Literature and Culture) degrees at King's College London. His PhD thesis will look at how medieval French 'historical' texts, including the Histoire ancienne jusqu’à César, represent the past through reported discourse and voice.


Simone Ventura

Simone Ventura specialises in Romance languages and literatures (esp. Catalan, French, Italian, Occitan) from 1100 to 1500. His work ranges across linguistics, manuscript studies, digital humanities, and the broad field of comparative literary studies, including translation studies. His publications are mainly in three distinct areas: troubadour lyric; vernacular grammaticography and rhetoric; medieval encyclopaedic texts in translation; Boccaccio and translations of Boccaccio’s works. In TVOF Simone Ventura is responsible for the linguistic seam of the project. He is working on the language of the manuscripts we are editing. His attention is particularly focused on the relationship between linguistic constraints (namely syntactic) and textual variation.


Luca Barbieri

Luca Barbieri works on medieval language and literature, with a particular focus on the linguistic fields of French, Occitan and Italian. His publications principally concern lyrical poetry, the classical legacy in romance literature, the Trojan legend and historiographic compilations in prose. Luca Barbieri is an ‘old-fashioned’ romance philologist, with a penchant for new methods and technologies. He works at the Opera del Vocabolario Italiano in Florence and at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. In TVOF, Luca is working on the digital edition of the Trojan section of the Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César in London, BL, Royal 20 D I.

King’s Digital Lab


Paul Caton
Paul Caton took up his first digital humanities post – as Electronic Publications Editor at the Women Writers Project – whilst completing his Ph.D. in English Literature at Brown University. He also worked as a project analyst for Brown's Scholarly Technology Group. After leaving Brown he spent two years as a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow with the TEXTE Project at the National University of Ireland, Galway. In the autumn of 2009 he went to the University of Victoria in British Columbia to take up another postdoctoral position, with the INKE Project. He joined King's Department of Digital Humanities as a Research Associate in 2010 and then with other members of the production team helped form King's Digital Lab in 2015. Paul's research centres on the representation of text by formal models and by markup languages. Related areas that also interest him include ontologies of personal relations and models of transcription. In TVOF his main role has been to advise on text encoding issues, in particular on the encoding for Simone Ventura's linguistic annotation model as well as facilitating the encoding workflow. He also helped implement an early version of the edition website.


Ginestra Ferraro
Ginestra studied Graphic Design at IED Milan. While working as an Art Director for Advertising Companies in Italy, such as TBWA Italia and Factory Group, she developed an interest in web technologies. The transition from traditional to digital design involved learning PHP, HTML and CSS and led Ginestra to become a freelance Creative Designer, mixing her design knowledge with coding. She is now a Web Designer / Front-end Developer with over ten years' experience in the field. Her interests focus mainly on data visualisations, video interaction with HTML5 and responsive web design. Ginestra is also a co-organiser of London Web Standards, a non-profit organisation that provides monthly events for web enthusiasts and the annual conference 'State of the Browser'. In TVOF, Ginestra works on the user interface for the Text Viewer, focusing on how to exploit the full potential of the tool by making it user-friendly and engaging, and by making all the features available without overwhelming users, yet while also respecting UX standards. She explores ways of visualising side-by-side text to highlight patterns when comparing manuscripts and works on the overall look and feel of the site.


Geoffroy Noël
Geoffroy is a programmer analyst who joined King's College London in 2008, after more than nine years working for various technology start-ups in Brussels and London, and has since contributed to and led the analysis and software development of several Digital Humanities projects. Most of these projects were specifically about digital palaeography, codicology, diplomatics and online scholarly editions of medieval manuscripts. He has a degree in Business Computing and an MSc in Intelligent Technologies from Birkbeck, University of London, with a particular focus on machine learning, knowledge representation, computational intelligence and evolutionary algorithms. Geoffroy enjoys building innovative and open source tools that empower academics with new ways to exploit the untapped potential of their digitised research material. Geoffroy is contributing to the analysis and software development of the TVOF website and custom-built digital research tools such as an online Text Viewer, an assistant for the analysis of the text patterns and the visualisation of the alignment among the different editions.

Dictionnaire Étymologique de l’Ancien Français (Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften)


Marcus Husar
Marcus Husar studied computational linguistics and applied computer science at the University of Heidelberg. For the last ten years he has participated in different projects at the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities related to editorial systems as a Java EE developer, and he has worked particularly closely with the team at the Dictionnaire Etymologique de l’Ancien Français. Marcus is the creator of Lemming, our primary tool for the lemmatisation of the Histoire ancienne jusqu’à César. Together with Geoffroy Noël he has provided the technical support and knowledge for integrating lemmatisation into the digital editing process of the Histoire ancienne and ensuring that our data can be directly integrated into the DEAF systems.

Detail Jason and the Argonauts add ms 15268 f105v  2

Miniature of the construction of Rome, from London, British Library, Add. 15268, f. 156r. Reproduced with the permission of the British Library Board.