MA, DPhil (Oxon)
Craig Taylor is a Reader in Medieval History, and a Fellow of the Société de l'Histoire de France and the Royal Historical Society. He was Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies from 2010-11 and from 2014-17.
Craig is an intellectual and cultural historian who studies the politics and aristocracies of fourteenth and fifteenth-century France and England. He has published books and articles on the Hundred Years War, chivalry, Joan of Arc, the Salic Law, propaganda, biography and the history of emotions (for full details, see his Academia.edu page).
His research examines a broad range of medieval writers and their texts, from didactic manuals and intellectual treatises to chronicles and biographies, seeking to contextualize them both historically and within their manuscript history, and thereby develop a sophisticated understanding of the influence of 'historical' and 'literary' texts upon political agents (and vice versa). Craig has also been engaging with comparative historical perspectives on martial culture, together with useful insights offered by anthropologists, sociologists, economists and psychologists on themes like honour, trust, reciprocity, masculinity and emotion.
Craig recently published Chivalry, Honour and Knighthood in Late Medieval France (Cambridge University Press, 2013). This examined French debates on the martial ideals of chivalry and knighthood during the period of the Hundred Years War (1337–1453). Faced by stunning military disasters and the collapse of public order, writers and intellectuals carefully scrutinized the martial qualities expected of knights and soldiers. They questioned when knights and men-at-arms could legitimately resort to violence, the true nature of courage, the importance of mercy, and the role of books and scholarly learning in the very practical world of military men.
Craig has just written Honour, Fame and Glory. Defending the Reputation of Jean II Le Meingre, Marshal of France, c.1366-1421 (to be published by York Medieval Press, 2019). This is a study of one of the leading French military commanders of the late middle ages, recounting the story of his remarkable life and career in service to the French crown, on crusade, and as governor of Genoa, while also exploring the complex ways in which this controversial figure presented himself to contemporaries through his patronage of art and literature, and in particularly an unusual chivalric biography that was written during his lifetime. Craig has also published the first English translation of that text: The Chivalric Biography of Boucicaut, Jean II Le Meingre (Boydell & Brewer, 2016), with Professor Jane Taylor of the University of Durham (no relation!).
Craig is currently writing a new book on chivalric culture in France during the reign of King Charles VI (1380-1422), that will provide a comprehensive study of the martial and courtly dimensions of aristocratic society during this period of rapid change. He is also finishing a second translation with Jane Taylor - Jean de Bueil’s Le Jouvencel, the most original and important military memoir of the middle ages. His longer term projects include a study of the cultural implications of the English conquest of Normandy under King Henry V, a re-evaluation of the evidence provided by the Nullification Trial of Joan of Arc in 1455-6, and a study of different kinds of inquiries and public trials staged by the French crown between 1450 and 1470.
Since 2012, Craig has been a co-investigator (20%) on the major AHRC-funded project on England’s Immigrants, 1330-1550 led by Professor Mark Ormrod, which has created a fully-searchable database containing over 64,000 names of people known to have migrated to England during this period, as well as related teaching materials on the history of medieval migration for Key Stages 2-5.
Craig is one of the founders of the annual Late Medieval France and Burgundy symposium series, and in the last five years, has been an invited speaker at the universities of Bergen, Chester, Chicago, Dartmouth, Durham, Exeter, Georgetown, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Vermont, York, York St John, Western Australia. He has also been a keynote or funded speaker at a number of recent international conferences, including
- Fear and Loathing in the Earthly City – Emotions of Negativity in the Medieval and Early Modern Period c. 1100-1700 (University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark, 1-2 November 2018)
- Medieval Life Writing: Principles and Practice (Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature, Oxford University, 29 June 2018).
- Texas Medieval Association Annual Conference (Baylor University, USA, 29-30 September 2017)
- At the Margins of the Court (International Courtly Literature Society, St Andrews, 10-11 April 2017)
- Reconsidering the Boundaries of Late-Medieval Political Literature: France, Burgundy, England, and Scotland (University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark, 18-19 March 2017)
- Transcultural Critical Editing: Vernacular Poetry in the Burgundian Netherlands, 1450-1530 (Queen Mary University of London, 24 June 2016)
- Prosecuting War in the Long Fourteenth Century (Dartmouth College, USA, 30 October-1 November 2015)
- In Form of War: Emotions and Warfare in Writing, 1300-1820 (University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia, 27-28 June 2014)
- Representing War and Violence in the Pre-Modern World (University of Cambridge, 23-24 September 2013)
- Le livre des fais d'armes et de chevalerie de Christine de Pizan (Université de Paris III, 21 March 2013)
- The Vernacular in Medieval Historical Writing (Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bergen, 16-17 November 2012)
- The Writing and Representation of War (Nyborg Slot, Denmark, 7-9 September 2012)
- Mediaeval Warfare: Laws and Limits (University of St. Andrews, 2 June 2012)
- Romance in Medieval Britain (Oxford University, 24-26 March 2012)
- Au-delà des miroirs: la littérature politique dans la France de Charles VI et Charles VII (Université Paul Verlaine - Metz, 15-16 September 2011)
- The Representation of Warfare in the Middle Ages (Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bergen, 7-8 September 2011)
- Structure, Change and Discourse in Pre-Industrial Europe: Towards a Cross-Disciplinary Study of Social Inequalities (Universities of Antwerp and Ghent, 8-9 April 2011)
Craig's recent and current PhD students are:
- Carolyn Donohue, Public Display and the Construction of Monarchy in Yorkist England, 1460-1485(PhD in History, completed 2013). Carolyn is now a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of York St. John.
- Catherine Nall, The Production and Reception of Military Texts in the Aftermath of the Hundred Years War (PhD in Medieval Studies, completed 2005), co-supervised by Professor Felicity Riddy, Department of English. Catherine is now a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at Royal Holloway, University of London.
- Chris Linsley, Nation, England and the French in Thomas Walsingham’s Chronica Maiora 1376-1420 (PhD in History, completed 2016).
- Deborah Thorpe, Writing and Reading in the Circle of Sir John Fastolf (PhD in Medieval Studies, completed in 2012), co-supervised with Professor Linne Mooney, Department of English. Deborah is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders, University of York, funded by the Wellcome Trust
- Emily Hutchison, Pour le bien du roy et de son royaume: Burgundian Propaganda Under John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, 1405-1419(PhD in Medieval Studies, completed 2006), co-supervised by Professor Peter Ainsworth of the Department of French, University of Sheffield. Emily is now a professor at Mount Royal University in Canada.
- Erika Graham-Goering, Negotiating Princely Power in Late Medieval France: Jeanne de Penthièvre, Duchess of Brittany (c.1325–1384) (PhD in History, completed 2016). Erika is now a postdoctoral research fellow on the ERC-funded project 'STATE – Lordship and the Rise of the State in Western Europe, 1300-1600' at the University of Ghent.
- Justin Sturgeon, Text & Image in René d’Anjou's Livre des tournois, c. 1460: Constructing Authority and Identity in Fifteenth-Century Court Culture(PhD in Medieval Studies, completed 2015), co-supervised with Dr Jeanne Nuechterlein, Department of the History of Art. Justin is now an assistant professor in the Department of Art at the University of West Florida.
- Kristin Bourassa, Counselling Charles VI of France: Christine de Pizan, Honorat Bovet, Philippe de Mézières, and Pierre Salmon(PhD in History, completed 2014). Kristin is now a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Medieval Literature at the University of Southern Denmark.
- Luke Giraudet, Between Civil War and England’s Empire in France: The Written Self, Identities and Community in Paris Seen Through the Bourgeois’ Journal, 1405-1449(started 2016). Funded by a Wolfson Scholarship.
- Rachael Whitbread, Tournaments, Jousts and Duels: Formal Combat in England and France, c.1380-1440 (PhD in History, completed 2014)
In addition, Craig has supervised a large number of MA dissertations, including recent examples such as:
- Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers and Lord Scales (d.1483)
- Attainder and Treason in the Reign of Richard III
- Charles de Blois (d.1364): A life and afterlife
- Chivalry, Government and Warfare in Yorkist England
- Chivalry in Thomas Gray's Scalachronica
- Christine de Pizan's Response to Civil War in Early Fifteenth-Century France (1405-1413)
- Constance de Rabastens and the Livre de Révélations
- Dubbing to Knighthood in Three Chivalric Works, c.1200 – c.1350
- English Diplomacy and the Anglo-French Peace Negotiations During the Reign of Henry VI
- Honour and Violence in Fourteenth-Century England
- Le debat des heraulx d’armes de France et d’Angleterre
- Memorialising the Battle of Towton (1460)
- Mercy in the Lancastrian Discourse of the Wars of the Roses
- Popular Politics and the Earl of Warwick, 1450-1471
- Prophecy in the chronicle of Adam Usk
- Self-Censorship and Allusion in Thomas Walsingham’s Lancastrian Chronicles
- Shame and Reputation in Christine de Pizan’s Livre des trois vertus and the Geoffroi de La Tour Landry
- The Beauchamp Pageant, John Blacman’s Henry VI and the Reburial of Richard, Duke of York
- Violence and warfare in Froissart’s Chronicles: 1386-1391