Fourth-year English doctoral student Caitlin Branum Thrash was the recipient of the Marco Institute’s 2019 Van Hook Memorial Travel Fellowship. Caitlin used the fellowship to conduct research in the UK for her dissertation, “Books of Feminine Devotion: Female Continental Mystics, Lives of Christ, Gender, and Readers in Late Medieval England.” In this dissertation, Caitlin traces the transmission of continental female texts into England, determines their influence on the life of Christ genre, and explores how female readers in late Medieval England perceived the genre and the authors who composed in it, particularly in relation to questions of gender.
During the summer of 2019, Caitlin visited six archives in Ireland and England, including the Bodleian Library in Oxford, the Lambeth Palace Library, and the British Library, where she consulted 19 different manuscripts. She also attended and presented a paper at the Early Book Society conference in Dublin. On her days off, she toured several important medieval religious sites in Ireland and England.