Research Stream

Jan Shaw

Dr Jan Shaw is an Associate (2016) of the Sydney node of CHE, and a Senior Lecturer of English at The University of Sydney. Her research area is Middle English romance and her research focuses on relational aspects of identity formation with particular attention to gender. She has published on women in the romance of medieval Britain, medievalism in contemporary literature by women, narrative and gender approaches in leadership studies and is co-editor of Storytelling: Critical and Creative Approaches. Her book, Space, Gender, and Memory in Middle English Romance, which will appear in 2016, considers the interweaving of space, time and memory in the scripting of feminine life stories. Her current work explores how the use of gendered identities in fifteenth-century romance opens up conversations about issues of social and political concern.

Her project for CHE is to unpick the meaning of laughter in the fifteenth-century texts the Prose Life of Alexander and the Wars of Alexander. As a physiological reflex, laughter gestures towards a potentially broad range of underlying emotions. This project teases out what kinds of emotions laughter might suggest in these texts, and considers how these emotions and their representation are integral to the development of narratives of identity. Through this lens, the project seeks to inform our understanding of how a fifteenth-century English audience might have understood the operation of laughter not only as a quirk of the narrative moment, but also as a behaviour that potentially marks the limits of self and the possibilities of acceptable difference.

Contact

Jan.shaw@sydney.edu.au

Research

Laughter and the Horizons of Identity in The Prose Life of Alexander and The Wars of Alexander

Relevant Publications

Books

Jan Shaw, Space, Gender and Memory in Middle English Romance: Architectures of Wonder in Melusine. The New Middle Ages Series. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Edited Books

Jan Shaw, L. E. Semler and Philippa Kelly (eds), Story Streams: Critical and Creative Approaches to Storytelling. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Book Chapters

Jan Shaw, ‘New Worlds in Lanval and Sir Launfal’. In Worldmaking: Literature, Language, Culture, edited by Tom Clark, Emily Finlay and Philippa Kelly, pp. 15‒29. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2017.

Jan Shaw, The Tale of Melusine in A. S. Byatt’s Possession: Retelling Medieval Stories.. In Possession’ in Story Streams: Critical and Creative Approaches to Storytelling, edited byA. S. Byatt, pp. 222-37. The Tale of Melusine in A. S. Byatt’s Possession: Retelling Medieval Stories. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Jan Shaw, ‘Story streams: Stories and their tellers’. In Story Streams: Critical and Creative Approaches to Storytelling. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Jan Shaw, ‘Feminism and the Fantasy Tradition: The Mists of Avalon’. In A Companion to Arthurian Literature,edited by Helen Fulton. Chichester, UK: Blackwell, 2009.

Journal Articles

Jan Shaw, ‘Troublesome Teleri: Contemporary feminist Utopianism in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Lady of Avalon’. Sydney Studies in English 35 (2009): 73-95.

Jan Shaw,
‘Courtly love and the Tale of Florie in the Middle English Melusine’. Leeds Studies in English, New Series XXXV (2004): 101-120.

Selected Presentations

Jan Shaw, Keynote Presentation: ‘Laughter and the Slippage of Identity in Medieval Romance’, 23rd Australasian Humour Studies Network Conference ‘Humour: Here and There; Then and Now’, Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Victoria, 1‒3 February 2017. Invited.

Jan Shaw, Conference Panel Paper: ‘Emotion, Memory and Reconfiguring the Past: Guy of Lusignan in Cilician Armenia and in the Romance of Melusine’, Society for the Medieval Mediterranean Conference ‘Communities, Imaginations and Emotions in the Medieval Mediterranean’, Ghent University, Belgium, 10‒12 July 2017.

Jan Shaw, Conference Panel Paper: ‘Love, Gender and Leadership in King Ponthus and the Faire Sidone’, ‘Powerful Emotions/Emotions and Power 400‒1850’ conference, University of York, 28‒29 July 2017.