Research Stream

Tania M. Colwell

Tania M. Colwell is an Associate Investigator (2014)  in the CHE’s Meanings program. A historian of late medieval France and England, she specialises in manuscript, book, and reception studies approaches to socio-cultural and political questions concerning gender, patronage, the monstrous, and emotions. Tania was awarded her PhD at the Australian National University (ANU) in 2009, where she is currently a Visitor in the School of History. Since graduating, she has been an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of Bristol, has taught as a sessional lecturer in medieval history at ANU, and has published essays in interdisciplinary journals and edited collections while working on a monograph manuscript. She has been the recipient of internationally competitive funding, including the British Academy’s Neil Ker Memorial Award (2012/13) and a Bursary from the Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature based at Oxford University (2013); Tania was also recently awarded a Humanities Travelling Fellowship from the Australian Academy of the Humanities (2014) to extend research on the ‘Beyond Wonder’ project which she commenced as an AI for the CHE in 2014.

Tania’s work for the CHE explores changing linguistic and iconographic representations of emotions of encounter in the surviving manuscript and early print corpus of Jean le Long’s Fleurs des histoires de l’Orient, a collection of early ethnographic texts which collectively offered late medieval audiences a near encyclopaedic introduction to the then known world beyond the Mediterranean. Concerned to highlight the range of emotions ‘Beyond Wonder’ that characterise these ethnographic materials and to decipher their meanings and functions within the collection, her research aims to trace how emotions of encounter both shaped Europeans’ views of themselves and influenced their understandings of non-European others.

Tania’s work exploring emotions of encounter in Fleurs des histoires de l’Orient emerges from her doctoral research on the French Mélusine romances, one surviving copy of which was compiled with the Fleurs anthology in the early 1400s. This fascinating manuscript raises many questions about the relationship between wonder, fantasy, and crusade in the later medieval period, a topic on which a future article will be based. Tania is also currently writing a monograph on the manuscript transmission, reception, and audiences of the French Mélusine romances from c. 1380 to c. 1530.

Contact Profile 


Beyond Wonder: Emotions of Encounter in Jean le Long’s Fleurs des histoires de l’Orient


Bailey, M. L., T. M. Colwell and J. Hotchin. Women and Work in Premodern Europe: Experiences, Relationships and Cultural Representation, c.1100–1800. London: Routledge, 2018.

Bailey, M. L., T. M. Colwell and J. Hotchin. ‘Approaching Women and Work in Premodern Europe’. In Women and Work in Premodern Europe: Experiences, Relationships and Cultural Representation, c.1100–1800, edited by M. L. Bailey, T. M. Colwell and J. Hotchin, pp. 1–29. London and New York: Routledge, 2018.

Colwell, T. M. ‘Melusines Past, Present, and Future: An Afterword’.  In Melusine's Footprint: Tracing the Legacy of a Medieval Myth, edited by Misty Urban, Deva F. Kemmis and Melissa Ridley Elmes, pp. 388403. Leiden: Brill, 2017.

Colwell, T. M. ‘Emotives and Emotional Regimes’. In Early Modern Emotions: An Introduction, edited by S. Broomhall, pp. 7‒10. London and New York: Routledge, 2017.

Tania M. Colwell, ‘The Middle English Melusine: Evidence for an Early Edition of the Prose Romance in the Bodleian Library’, Journal of the Early Book Society for the Study of Manuscripts and Printing History, vol. 17 (2014), pp. 254–82

Tania M. Colwell, ‘Fragments of the Roman de Mélusine in the Upton House Bearsted Collection’, The Library: Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, 7th ser., 13.3 (2012), pp. 279–315

Tania M. Colwell, ‘Gesture, Emotion, and Humanity: Depictions of Mélusine in the Upton House Bearsted Fragments’, in The Inner Life of Women in Medieval Romance Literature: Grief, Guilt, and Hypocrisy, ed. by Jeff Rider and Jamie Friedman, New Middle Ages (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 101–27

Tania M. Colwell, ‘Patronage of the Poetic Mélusine Romance: Guillaume l’Archevêque’s Confrontation with Dynastic Crisis’, Journal of Medieval History, 37 (2011), 215–29

Tania M. Colwell, ’Mélusine: Ideal Mother or Inimitable Monster?’, in Love, Marriage, and Family Ties in the Later Middle Ages, ed. by Isabel Davis, Miriam Muller, and Sarah Rees–Jones, International Medieval Research, 11 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2003), pp. 181–203

Tania M. Colwell, ‘Robin Hood: The Archetypal Outlaw Hero’ in Outlawed! Rebels, Revolutionaries and Bushrangers Catalogue (Canberra: National Museum of Australia, 2003), pp. 24–29

Tania M. Colwell, ‘Medieval Masculinities: Transgressions and Transformations’, in Our Medieval Heritage: Essays in Honour of John Tillotson for his 60th birthday, ed. by Linda Rasmussen, Valerie Spear, and Dianne Tillotson (Cardiff: Merton Priory Press, 2002), pp. 137–56

Tania M. Colwell, ‘Why Richard III?’, The Ricardian, 12.151 (2000), 161–78

Image: Detail from Les Très Heures de Jean de Berry, mars. Chantilly, Musée Condé, MS 65, fol. 3v, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons