School of English

Nicola Royan

Professor in Older Scots, Faculty of Arts

Contact

Biography

MA in Humanity and Scottish Literature, University of Glasgow (1992).

DPhil in English, University of Oxford (1996). I held a Snell Exhibition at Balliol College.

PGCHE, University of Glasgow (2001).

Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy (2014)

Leverhulme Trust Mid-Career Fellow September 2013 to August 2015

British Academy/ Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow 2020

After short-term contracts at the Universities of St Andrews and Glasgow, I was first appointed at University of Nottingham in 2001. I was appointed professor of Older Scots Literature in 2019. From January 2021, I will be Director of Midlands4Cities.

I am president of the Scottish Text Society, and oversee the production of scholarly editions of Older Scots texts.

Expertise Summary

My research specialisms are Older Scots literature and late medieval and early modern Scottish Latin literature, and my publications have all been in that area, although they have addressed texts written in the fourteenth century as well as texts written in the seventeenth. I also maintain an interest in more recent Scottish literature, through the eighteenth to the twenty-first century. Like nearly all specialists in Scottish literature, I am also expert in English literature, especially that of the late fourteenth to the early seventeenth centuries.

My particular areas of interest include the representations of kingship, government and national identity; the use of Arthurian narrative; and, especially at the moment, humanism, classical reception and translation and the impact of print. I am also interested in theories and practices of editing, and the most effective methods of enabling access to difficult textual material.

Outreach and public engagement

Since my appointment at Nottingham, I have organised a number of public events relating to medieval studies generally (including Robin Hood and the value of medieval studies), and connected directly to my research area (a weekend event tied into the National Theatre of Scotland's tour of the James Plays (2016)). I have appeared on television and radio, to talk about the Douglases and Robert Burns, and I have completed a commission by Historic Environment Scotland to contextualise a 13th C poem describing a siege of Caerlaverock Castle.

As Scottish Text Society president, I have also been involved in a number of public events, only in Scotland rather than in Nottingham. These have included book launches at Darnaway Castle in Moray, and providing scholarly advice for a children's book derived from an Older Scots poem, 'The Buke of the Howlat' and organising the Angus MacIntosh Lectures in Edinburgh, public lectures on aspects of Scottish literature and language.

Teaching Summary

My teaching expertise lies in literature written between about 1350 and 1625, approximately Chaucer to Spenser. However, I quite often teach outwith my area, into the twentieth century: in 2017/18, I… read more

Research Summary

I am currently working on a project funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship, considering the reception and transmission of humanism across three generations of writers… read more

Recent Publications

  • 2018. International Companion to Scottish Literature, 1400-1650 Association of Scottish Literary Studies.
  • NICOLA ROYAN, 2017. Medieval Scottish Poetry. In: Oxford Bibliographies: British and Irish Literature Oxford University Press USA. (In Press.)
  • NICOLA ROYAN, 2017. The Noble Identity of Gavin Douglas. In: JOANNA MARTIN, ed., Premodern Scotland: Literature and Governance 1420-1587 Oxford University Press. 127-43
  • NICOLA ROYAN, 2016. Gavin Douglas's Eneados. In: RITA COPELAND, ed., Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature: volume 1: 800-1558 1. Oxford University Press. 561-82

Older Scots and Scottish Latin literature, but also Scottish literature right up to the present day; late medieval and early modern English literature (from about 1375 to 1625). I have interests in the M4C strands of translation, and conflict and societal change, and in textual criticism and editing, medieval and early modern literature, and book history. My research interests fall under the Centre for Regional Literatures and Cultures.

Current and recent doctoral students are working on:

- the representation of Scottish and Irish identities in 17th Century Scotland and Ireland

- post war translations of the Aeneid

- court poetry around the Union of the Crowns

My teaching expertise lies in literature written between about 1350 and 1625, approximately Chaucer to Spenser. However, I quite often teach outwith my area, into the twentieth century: in 2017/18, I am co-teaching with Dr Ni Fhlathuin on a new Level 3 course, Islands and Empires, which considers the colonial and post-colonial views of the countries within the Great Britain and Ireland, as well as India.

Undergraduate Teaching

I teach on Level 1 Beginnings of English, Middle English material from Sir Orfeo to Morte Darthur, and give occasional lectures on other modules.

At Level 2, I convene and teach Shakespeare and Co on the Page, a module concerned with the writing of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, that's mediated as text, so poetry and prose rather than drama.

At Level 3 this year, I will be co-teaching Islands and Empires.

Post-graduate Teaching

In previous years, I've contributed to various late medieval and early modern modules. In 2017-18, however, I will be convening and co-teaching Textualities, which introduces the theory and practice of editing, and enables students to reflect on editorial practice and influence in their own areas of interest.

Other information

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and I act as a chairperson for the Nottingham Recognition Scheme panels.

Current Research

I am currently working on a project funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship, considering the reception and transmission of humanism across three generations of writers in both Scots and Latin, c. 1480-c. 1550. It begins with men active during the reign of James III (1480-88), Archibald Whitelaw, William Elphinstone, John Ireland and Robert Henryson, looking at both their surviving work and the material evidence of their reading. The middle section is concerned with writers active in the reign of James IV (1488-1513) and in his son's (James V) minority, (1513-1528). These include Gavin Douglas, a focus of my previous research, and Hector Boece and John Mair. Boece and Mair were educated together in Paris; Douglas and Mair knew each other well, both through their common locality in east Lothian and most probably through coincident time spent in Paris. Their engagements with humanist practices are different, in language choice, in generic patterns and in scholarly positions. Nevertheless, their work and their reputations demonstrate deep commitment to current scholarship and a determination to use it to the benefit of their home country. The final section deals with writers of the reign of James V (1528-1542) and his daughter's Mary's minority (1542-1562). These include John Bellenden and William Stewart, both translators of Boece's Scotorum Historia, and, in Bellenden's case, Livy. Like Robert Henryson in the first section, Sir David Lyndsay's writings do not position themselves overtly as humanist texts, but both Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis and A Dialog between Experience and a Courtier demonstrate knowledge of some humanist concerns. These texts therefore serve as an indication of the depth of humanist reception in Scotland by the mid-sixteenth century.

At its broadest, my research always questions common British models of periodisation, specifically the divide between medieval and early modern (largely derived from English political history), and asks whether they represent the changes in intellectual culture; it also questions consistently narratives of literary culture originating in south-east England, around the capital and the older universities. It seeks to demonstrate the porous nature of Scottish culture, its openness to mainland Europe as well as to its southerly neighbour, and to consider the ways in which narratives of national identity are bound up with literary and cultural self-representation.

Past Research

My previous research has been diverse in its range and focus: I have written on Barbour's Bruce and Hary's Wallace, Scottish historiography from Walter Bower to John Bellenden, and the poetry of the court of James VI. My most signiicant recent publications in recent years have been the Oxford Bibliography entry on Medieval Scots Poetry and editing the International Companion on Scottish Literature, 1400-1650.

Future Research

My primary interests will probably always lie around the turn of the sixteenth century. However, I have recently been asked to participate in the AHRC-funded project, The Collected Works of Allan Ramsay , specifically to collaborate with Professor Murray Pittock in editing Ramsay's collection The Ever-Green. Work on this will start in 2022.

  • 2018. International Companion to Scottish Literature, 1400-1650 Association of Scottish Literary Studies.
  • NICOLA ROYAN, 2017. Medieval Scottish Poetry. In: Oxford Bibliographies: British and Irish Literature Oxford University Press USA. (In Press.)
  • NICOLA ROYAN, 2017. The Noble Identity of Gavin Douglas. In: JOANNA MARTIN, ed., Premodern Scotland: Literature and Governance 1420-1587 Oxford University Press. 127-43
  • NICOLA ROYAN, 2016. Gavin Douglas's Eneados. In: RITA COPELAND, ed., Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature: volume 1: 800-1558 1. Oxford University Press. 561-82
  • NICOLA ROYAN, 2016. Gavin Douglas's Humanist Identity. In: EVA VON CONTZEN and LUUK HOUWEN, eds., Writing identity in Medieval and Early Modern Scotland Rowman and Littlefield. 119-36
  • NICOLA ROYAN, 2016. St Andrews and Aberdeen. In: DAVID WALLACE, ed., Europe: A Literary history 1348-1418 1.3. Oxford University Press. 363-76
  • ROYAN, N., 2012. The Scottish identity of Gavin Douglas. In: BRUCE, M.P. and TERRELL, K.H., eds., The Anglo-Scottish border and the shaping of identity, 1300-1600 Palgrave Macmillan. 195-209
  • NICOLA ROYAN, 2011. Everyday Life in the Histories of Scotland from Walter Bower to George Buchanan. In: COWAN, EDWARD J and HENDERSON LIZANNE, eds., A History of Everyday Life in Medieval Scotland, 1000-1600 Edinburgh University Press. 185-95
  • ROYAN, N and MCKINLEY, K, eds., 2010. The Apparelling of Truth: Literature and Literary Culture in the Reign of James VI, a Festschrift for Roderick J. Lyall Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • ROYAN, N., 2010. The alliterative Awntyrs stanza in older scots verse. In: BURROW, J.A. and DUGGAN. H.N., eds., Medieval alliterative poetry: essays in honour of Thorlac Turville-Petre Four Courts Press. 185-194
  • ROYAN, NICOLA, 2010. Rebellion Under God: Judith in the Court of James VI. In: KEVIN J. MCGINLEY and N.ROYAN, eds., The Apparelling of Truth: Literature and Literary Culture in the Reign of James VI: A Festschrift for Roderick J. Lyall Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 94-104
  • ROYAN, N., 2009. A question of truth: Barbour's Bruce, Hary's Wallace and Richard Coer de Lion International Review of Scottish Studies. 34, 75-105
  • ROYAN, N, ed., 2007. Langage Cleir Illumynate: Scottish Poetry from Barbour to Drummond, 1375-1630 Rodopi.
  • ROYAN, N.R. and BROUN, D.E., 2006. Versions of Scottish Nationhood from c. 850-1707. In: CLANCY, T., PITTOCK, M., BROWN, I. and MANNING, S., eds., The Edinburgh history of Scottish literature 1: From Columba to the Union (until 1707). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 168-183
  • ROYAN, N.R., 2006. 'Mark your Meroure be Me': Richard Holland's Buke of the Howlat. In: BAWCUTT, P and WILLIAMS, J.H., eds., A Companion to medieval Scottish poetry Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer. 49-62
  • ROYAN, N.R., 2006. Medieval Literature. In: HARRIS, B and MACDONALD, A.R., eds., The Scottish Nation: Origins to c. 1500 1. Dundee: Dundee University Press. 201-17
  • ROYAN, N.R., 2005. The fine art of faint praise in older Scots historiography. In: PURDIE, R. and ROYAN, N., eds., The Scots and medieval Arthurian legend Cambridge: D.S. Brewer. 43-54
  • ROYAN, N.R. and PURDIE, R., eds., 2005. The Scots and the Medieval Arthurian Legend Cambridge: D.S. Brewer.
  • ROYAN, N.R., 2005. Scottish literature. In: JOHNSON, D. AND TREHARNE, E., ed., Readings in medieval texts: interpreting Old and Middle English literature Oxford: Oxford University Press. 354-69
  • ROYAN, N.R., 2002. National Martyrdom in Northern Humanist Historiography Forum for Modern Language Studies. VOL 38(PART 4), 462-475
  • ROYAN, N.R. AND JOHNSON, I., ed., 2002. Scottish Texts, European Contexts: special issue of Forum for Modern Language Studies, 34(4) Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • ROYAN, N.R., 2002. "Na les vailyeant than ony uthir princis of Britane": representations of Arthur in Scotland 1480-1540 Scottish Studies Review. 3(1), 9-20
  • ROYAN, N.R. and VAN HEIJNSBERGEN, T., eds., 2002. Literature, Letters and the Canonical: Studies in the Writings of Early Modern Scotland East Linton: Tuckwell Press.
  • ROYAN, N.R., 2001. Hector Boece and the question of Veremund Innes Review. 52(1), 42-62
  • ROYAN, N.R., 2000. The Uses of Speech in Hector Boece's Scotorum Historia. In: HOUWEN, L.A.J.R and MACDONALD, A.A. AND MAPSTONE, S.L., eds., A Palace in the Wild: Essays on Vernacular Culture and Humanism in Late-Medieval and Renaissance Scotland Leuven: Peeters. 75-93
  • ROYAN, N.R., 2000. Writing the Nation. In: HATTAWAY, M., ed., A Companion to English Renaissance Literature and Culture Oxford: Blackwell. 699-708

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