Olivia Colquitt

Email: Olivia.Colquitt@liverpool.ac.uk


Previous Education

MA Medieval & Renaissance Literary Studies, Durham University, 2016-2017

BA English & French, University of Liverpool, 2012-2016


Thesis Title

Melusine: Magical Matriarchs, Enchanted Environments, and Legendary Lineage



Professor Sarah Peverley

Professor Gillian Rudd

Dr Rebecca Dixon


Research Summary

Olivia’s research focuses upon the socio-cultural significance of the late Middle English translations of the French prose romance Mélusine and its verse counterpart, Le Roman de Parthenay. The plot follows the titular protagonist, Melusine, a snake-tailed fairy, who founds the illustrious House of Lusignan. Her fluency in Middle French enables close textual analysis of the translations, highlighting differences which may be reflective of each unique historical context. Olivia’s analysis is also underpinned by ecocritical approaches to literature, allowing her to examine how cultural manifestations of humankind’s multifaceted relationships with the environment reflect upon medieval conceptualisations of sovereignty and legitimacy. This will moreover shed light upon the role played by foundation myths and monstrous ancestry in the construction of dynastic identity in the medieval imaginary.

Olivia is delighted to have worked as a research assistant for Professor Sarah Peverley, as part of her Leverhulme Research Fellowship on the cultural development of the mermaid across time. This project complemented her studies, at the heart of which is the mythological mermaid-like figure of Melusine.


Research Interests

Medieval romance, the translation and transmission of medieval texts, manuscript culture, gender and sexuality, foundation myths and dynasty, motherhood and matrilineage, otherness, and monstrosity and the supernatural.



Colquitt, Olivia, ‘Melusine (Middle English versions)’, in The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 January 2018 <https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=37165>.

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