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Lydia Zeldenrust joined the department in 2016 as an Associate Lecturer in Medieval Literature, shortly after completing her PhD at Queen Mary, University of London. She holds a BA from the University of Groningen and a Research MA from Utrecht University. For her doctoral project on the various Western European translations of the late medieval romance of Mélusine she received a Queen Mary Principal’s Studentship and was awarded grants from two Dutch scholarship programmes for talented young researchers, the VSB Fonds and the Cultuurfondsbeurs.
Lydia has previously held a lecturing post in the Netherlands and she has also taught for the English department at Queen Mary. Her recent publications are on topics as varied as women who transform into dragons, the connections between early printing in England and on the continent, medieval translators’ differing approaches to the art of intervernacular translation, and the many cross-cultural connections among the images of early Mélusine editions.
Lydia is a specialist in late medieval literature whose research often extends into the early modern period. Her research typically takes a comparative, transcultural approach and crosses various disciplinary boundaries. Her research interests range from comparative literature, European literatures, and translations to textual materiality and early book production, romances and Arthurian literature, medievalisms, and literary depictions of animals, monsters, and the supernatural.
Lydia is currently working on a book based on her PhD research, which examines the many translations of the romance of Mélusine, written or printed between circa 1400-1600. The study looks at how this exciting story – about a woman cursed to become a half-serpent once a week – gradually transformed from a local legend to a multilingual, pan-European tradition, with versions in Middle French, Middle High German, medieval Castilian, Middle Dutch, and Middle English. The book addresses timely questions on how to study medieval literature from a European perspective, whilst also engaging with recent theoretical work on monstrosity and hybridity, late medieval and early modern translation practices, the role of translations as cultural agents, and the transformative potential of the material text.
Her research continues to combine an interest in philology and translation with a curiosity for tracing how stories and texts spread across borders, a love for anything strange or not-quite-human, and a fascination for the interplay between written and visual narratives and between manuscripts and early printed sources. Lydia is also interested in depictions of the medieval world in modern and contemporary media, and she was recently involved in a project examining what happens when the art and literature of the Middle Ages are brought into contact with the modern comic book world.
‘The Fragments of a Middle English Melusyne Edition: Some Further Clues’, Journal of the Early Book Society 20 (2017), pp. 251-64.
‘Serpent or Half-Serpent? Bernhard Richel’s Melusine and the Making of a Western European Icon’, Neophilologus 100:1 (Jan. 2016), pp. 19-41.
‘Over de mooie Melosina: Castiliaanse vertalingen van een beroemde Franse legende’, Filter. Tijdschrift over Vertalen 21:3 (Oct. 2014), pp. 71-78. [‘On the Beautiful Melosina: Castilian Translations of a Famous French Legend’]
‘Wanneer een ridder een drakenvrouw ontmoet. Middeleeuwse ideeën over mens, dier en het hybride monster’, Madoc, Tijdschrift over de Middeleeuwen 26.3 (Oct. 2012), pp. 170-78. [‘When a Knight Meets a Dragon Maiden. Medieval Ideas on Man, Animal, and the Hybrid Monster’]
‘The Lady with the Serpent’s Tail: Hybridity and the Dutch Meluzine’, in Melusine’s Footprint: Tracing the Legacy of a Medieval Myth, eds. Misty Urban, Deva Kemmis, and Melissa Ridley Elmes (Leiden: Brill, 2017)
include various book reviews, as well as several blogposts on topics ranging from medieval science-fiction to the link between early graphic novels and medieval woodcuts, and on the origins of the Starbucks logo.