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Megan Leitch  BA Hons (Br.Col.), MPhil, PhD (Cambridge)

Dr Megan Leitch


BA Hons (Br.Col.), MPhil, PhD (Cambridge)


School of English, Communication and Philosophy

+44 29208 70406
John Percival Building, Room 2.18, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a Reader at Cardiff University, where I teach and research medieval English literature. I am also co-editor of the journal Arthurian Literature and President of the International Arthurian Society British Branch.

My second monograph, Sleep and its spaces in Middle English literature: Emotions, ethics, dreams (Manchester University Press, 2021; paperback, 2023), explores how the subject of sleep interlaces medical, moral, and imaginative discourses in the Middle Ages. The book’s contributions include analysing how sleep shapes the ethical codes and emotive scripts of Middle English romance, fabliau, drama, and dream visions; establishing sleep’s significance for medieval approaches to mental health; and offering a new understanding of Chaucer’s dream visions by exploring their hitherto-neglected engagements with Aristotelian dream theories and English traditions.

I have also recently co-edited Cultural Translations in Medieval Romance (with Victoria Flood; Boydell & Brewer, January 2022), a collection of essays that has emerged from the 16th Biennial Medieval Insular Romance conference, which I hosted at Cardiff in 2018, and that positions a set of inter-related issues about ‘translation’ (across generic, geographic, and social boundaries as well as linguistic ones) as crucial for our understanding of the evolution of medieval romance from the twelfth to sixteenth centuries.

I am now working on a new monograph, The Medieval Middlebrow: Romance and the Body Politic, 1300-1534, for which I have been awarded a 2023 Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship. This book project explores the democratization of literary culture in later medieval England by both investigating middle-class book ownership and analysing middle-class characters' interventions in romance narratives, and it takes an intersectional approach to the politics of gender, class, race, religion, and dis/ability. I am also editing Volume II (The Middle Ages) of Bloomsbury's six-volume A Cultural History of Sleep and Dreaming (under contract, 2025).

Previous books include:

I have published articles on Arthurian literature, medieval romance, and Chaucer in various edited books and in journals including Arthuriana, Arthurian Literature, The Chaucer Review, Medium Aevum, and Parergon (for full details, see the 'Publications' tab).

My current and recent PhD students have worked on topics including medieval Arthurian literature (including English, French, Welsh, Cornish, and Breton traditions); medieval romance; Chaucer, Gower, and Lydgate; medieval historiography; and medieval queens in early modern drama. I welcome applications from prospective postgraduate students planning research in these areas or in the other areas listed under my research interests. Informal enquiries are always welcome.

I have been a Visiting Fellow at St Catherine's College, University of Oxford, and I am a 2022 Welsh Crucible Future Research Leader and the PI of the HEFCW-funded interdisciplinary project, "The Medieval Future of Sleep: Trialling lessons from the past for enhancing sleep, reducing disease, and improving mental health in post-Covid Wales". I have led the curation of an exhibition on Sleep and Dreams: Literature, Science, and the Supernatural, which is featured in Cardiff University's Special Collections and Archives from March-July 2023. My work on sleep and the medical humanities is also featured in a recent blog post on the public engagement platform, The Polyphony.





  • Leitch, M. G. 2019. Malory in literary context. In: Leitch, M. G. and Rushton, C. J. eds. A New Companion to Malory. Arthurian Studies Cambridge, UK: D. S. Brewer
  • Leitch, M. G. and Rushton, C. J. eds. 2019. A new companion to Malory. Arthurian Studies. Cambridge, UK: D. S. Brewer.
  • Leitch, M. and Bellis, J. 2019. Chivalric literature. In: Companion to Chivalry. Boydell Press










Book sections



Research interests

  • medieval romance; Arthurian literature; Chaucer and Lydgate; dream visions
  • history of the emotions
  • gender studies
  • medical humanities
  • manuscript studies
  • literature and law
  • treason, sleep, and dwarves in Middle English literature
  • Malory's Morte Darthur, the Wars of the Roses, and the fifteenth century in English and Scottish textual culture
  • periodisation and continuities between medieval and early modern English Literature

I am happy to supervise PhD students in any of these areas. Current and recent PhD students I have supervised have focused on Arthurian literature, medieval romance, Ricardian poetry, medieval historiography, and medieval queens in early modern drama (see the supervision tab).

My first monograph, Romancing Treason: The Literature of the Wars of the Roses (Oxford University Press, 2015), analyses texts from a variety of genres, and romance in particular, alongside contemporary social and political discourses, demonstrating that this literary culture is broader and richer than has previously been recognized. While the mid-to-late fifteenth century often goes unaddressed by both medievalists and early modernists, seen as a blip or rupture between the highs of Chaucer (and his  immediate successors) and the developments of Tudor writers, my book examines the central role of treason in Malory'™s Morte Darthur (written in 1469; printed by Caxton in 1485) and in understudied contemporary romances such as the prose Siege of Thebes and Siege of Troy, Melusine, and Caxton's translations. Romancing Treason establishes some characteristics for the space between Lancastrian and Tudor literary culture, articulating the idea of a literature of the Wars of the Roses. Drawing upon theories of political discourse and interpellation, of the power of language to shape social identities, this book explores the ways in which, in this textual culture, treason is both a source of anxieties about community and identity, and a way of responding to those concerns. I argue that this literature offers instruction by both negative and positive reinforcement, with the former -“ the mode of paraenesis or admonition -“ attaining a distinctive primacy. Prose romances play a central role in this ethical discourse, but the concentrated yet contested ways in which treason is discussed in attainders, petitions, political poems, chronicles, and correspondence, as well as in literary texts, point us to a key word and concept of the time.

Reviews of Romancing Treason: The Literature of the Wars of the Roses state that it ‘brilliantly sheds new light by its very insistence on seeing [Malory’s] work in a larger, national context’ (David Lawton, Renaissance Quarterly 71.4, 2018), gives an ‘account of romances [that] outlines a particular historical change with measure and assurance’ (Eliot Kendall, Review of English Studies 66, 2015), and ‘presents a cogent, consistent, and compelling hypothesis, one that is theoretically nuanced and well researched’ (Matthew Giancarlo, Studies in the Age of Chaucer 38, 2016).

My research interests in Arthurian Literature and medieval romance have also led to three co-edited volumes: Romance Rewritten: The Evolution of Middle English Romance, co-edited with Elizabeth Archibald and Corinne Saunders (D. S. Brewer, 2018); A New Companion to Malory, co-edited with Cory James Rushton (D. S. Brewer, 2019); and Cultural Translations in Medieval Romance, co-edited with Victoria Flood (D. S. Brewer, 2022).

My work also focuses on Chaucer and on the medical humanities and history of the emotions. I have published on Chaucer's poetics and tropes of gendered authorial anxiety in The Chaucer Review, and both Chaucer and romance are central to my second monograph. Entitled Sleep and its spaces in Middle English literature: Emotions, ethics, dreams (Manchester University Press, 2021), this study explores the affective, ethical, and epistemic issues raised by sleep from the twelfth century to the early seventeenth, ranging across the genres of romance, fabliau, drama, and dream vision. This first book-length study of sleep's vital implications for how medieval people thought of and fashioned themselves, individually and collectively, elucidates a pre-modern mode of reading and moulding gendered bodily performance that shapes many works of medieval and early modern literature, and the continuities between them. It also questions the distinctions we can (or should) make between literature and medical tracts, conduct books, and sermons - between imagination and practice.

My work on sleep, emotions, and the medical humanities is featured in a recent blog post on the public engagement platform, The Polyphony.


At Cardiff I enjoy teaching a range of undergraduate and MA modules on medieval literature. These include:

  • ˜Transgressive Bodies in Medieval Literature (Year One)
  • ˜Chaucer's Gender Politics: Chivalry, Sex and Subversion in The Canterbury Tales (Year Two)
  • ˜Medieval Romance: Monsters and Magic™ (Year Three)
  • ˜Heroes and Villains from Chaucer to Shakespeare™ (MA)


Career Overview

  • August 2020 - present: Reader in English Literature, Cardiff University
  • August 2016 - July 2020: Senior Lecturer in English Literature, Cardiff University
  • September 2012 - July 2016: Lecturer in English Literature, Cardiff University

Education and Qualifications

  • 2012: PhD, University of Cambridge
  • 2009: MPhil, University of Cambridge
  • 2008: BA (Hons), University of British Columbia

Honours and awards

  • Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship, 2023
  • Welsh Crucible Future Research Leader, 2022
  • Cardiff University Research Leave Fellowship, 2018-19
  • Visiting Research Fellow, St Catherine's College, University of Oxford, 2015

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy
  • New Chaucer Society
  • International Arthurian Society, British Branch
  • Canadian Society of Medievalists

Committees and reviewing

Director, Cardiff Centre for Medieval Studies

Co-editor, Arthurian Literature


I am currently supervising PhD students working on medieval Arthurian literature (including English, French, Welsh, Cornish, and Breton traditions), crusading interests in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century English prose romances, Chaucer, Gower and Lydgate, medieval historiography, and medieval English queens on the early modern stage. I welcome applications from prospective postgraduate students planning research in these areas or in the other areas listed under my research interests. Informal enquiries are always welcome.

Current supervision

Elisabeth Jones

Elisabeth Jones

Widening Participation Officer

Caitlin Coxon

Caitlin Coxon

Research student

Charlotte Pruce

Charlotte Pruce

Research student