Ramani Chandramohan

How was religious conversion depicted and understood in the Old French literary landscape? How did manuscript compilers connect spiritual transformations in individual texts to wider knowledge exchanges across miscellanies? How did interfaith interactions in medieval works map onto multilingual exchanges between northern French dialects, between Latin and the vernacular, and between Europe, the Middle East and Asia? How can contemporary audiences make sense of these multifaceted representations of sacred movement? My project will address these questions to nuance our conceptions of religious change in Old French literature and bring together modern and medieval conversations about conversion.

My DPhil analyses the four mixed-text manuscripts of Herbert’s Roman de Dolopathos, an early thirteenth-century verse romance. Herbert’s version of Les Sept Sages de Rome, a popular transnational narrative cycle, stands as one of the few in which the figure of the pagan prince converts to Christianity. I explore how the Dolopathos is implicated in religious, linguistic and epistemological change through its juxtaposition of Classical learning and divine truth; its status as a translation of Johannes de Alta Silva’s Latin work De rege et septem sapientibus (c.1190-1220) and its role, within the organisation of its miscellanies, in reflecting the shift from Graeco-Roman paganism to medieval Christendom through the historiographical concept of ‘translatio studii et imperii’.  

My project is funded by the Cyril Vysove Scholarship in association with the Queen’s College and the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages. Prior to starting my DPhil, I taught English language and literature at the Université de Lorraine and SciencesPo Nancy in France. I completed a MSt in Modern Languages and a BA in Classics and French at St Anne’s College, Oxford, as well as an Erasmus exchange at Sorbonne Université in Paris.


Book review: ‘Alain Corbellari, Oton de Grandson’, Zeitshrift für Romanische Philologie (forthcoming) 

‘Meanings of conversion: a comparative study of Robert d’Orbigny’s “Conte de Floire et Blanchefleur” and Gautier de Coincy’s “Comment Theophilus vint a penitance” in MS BnF fr. 375’, Viator (forthcoming) 

Le Roman de Dolopathos’, The Literary Encyclopedia, first published 27th September 2023 (https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=41172)

Conference papers and seminar presentations

‘Form, genre and theme: making sense of Herbert’s Roman de Dolopathos in its manuscript context’, 31st International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 2024

‘Mute males, silent females: the othering of gendered and disabled voices in Herbert’s Roman de Dolopathos’ and ‘(Un)founding and (re)founding the father in the Old French Dolopathos’, MLA Convention, Philadelphia, January 2024 

‘Repenser le Roman de Dolopathos d’Herbert’ (poster presentation), Stage d’initiation au manuscrit médiéval, Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes, Paris, October 2023

‘An absent prince: conversion, confusion and courtliness in Herbert’s Roman de Dolopathos’, 17th Triennial Congress of the International Courtly Literature Society, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, July 2023

‘Between admiration and contempt: Virgil’s entanglements in the Old French Roman de Dolopathos’, 30th International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 2023 

‘Within and beyond: scribal, textual, and narrative voices in medieval French epic and romance’, Oxford Medieval French Research Seminar, Maison Française d’Oxford, May 2023

‘“A droit chemin?”: Itinerancies and errancies in the conversion narratives of Robert d’Orbigny and Gautier de Coincy’, Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA) 119th Annual Conference, University of California, Los Angeles, November 2022

Outreach and access

Graduate Ambassador for the MML Faculty (2023-) 

Outreach researcher for the Oxplore TCAT Programme (Michaelmas 2022)

Other roles

Publicity and social media officer for the British Branch of the International Courtly Literature Society (2023-) 

Organising committee member for the Oxford Medieval Graduate Conference 2023 

Co-interviewer for undergraduate French admissions at University College, Oxford (December 2022)

French sub-faculty graduate representative (2022-2023) 

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