Harriet Cook (King's College London)
Fellow in Research Area 3: "Future Perfect"
July 2020 – December 2020
The Poetic Legacies of the Cantigas de Amor
Harriet Cook's project at EXC 2020 examines the poetic legacies of the cantigas de amor, a corpus of incredibly rich male-voiced love poems composed in Galician-Portuguese in the medieval period. At the core of her project is the question of what it means to use conventions creatively. Harriet's responses to this question draw on sociological readings of homosocial desire, psychoanalytic approaches to courtly love, studies on lyric time, the socio-political use of these poems in twentieth-century debates around Galician identity and their recent poetic re-inventions. Underpinning her project is an interest in how the medieval and the modern can speak to each other in ways that enable us to understand the timeless and global significance of this mode of medieval love lyric. The poets Harriet Cook works with range from thirteenth-century troubadours Johan Airas de Santiago and Rui Queimado to twentieth-century Galician poets Álvaro Cunqueiro and Xosé María Álvarez Blázquez, the Canadian poet and translator Erín Moure and the Galician YouTuber Aquel-e whose 'Cantiga 2.0' re-framed the medieval Galician-Portuguese experience of love in terms of Instagram and Snapchat filters. During her fellowship at EXC 2020, Harriet will be working on enriching the transtemporal and transcultural focus of her work, and on developing the theoretical frameworks she uses to examine the temporal places occupied by these poets. She will also be focusing on positioning her work in the emerging field of contemporary medieval studies.
Harriet Cook is revising her PhD in the Department for Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at King's College London. Her dissertation uses modern poetry, sociological frameworks and psychoanalytic theory to examine the creative uses of conventions in medieval Galician-Portuguese male-voiced love poems. During her fellowship at EXC 2020, Harriet will continue to develop her project with a view to opening up new lines of inquiry and publishing a monograph in the near future. Recently, she has also been working as research and project assistant for the poet and voice artist Caroline Bergvall, as a committee member with the Galician Film Forum and as a freelance literary translator, working from Galician and Catalan into English. Prior to joining King's College, Harriet Cook completed an MA in Medieval Studies at the University of Santiago de Compostela.