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Matthew Aiello


2023 Ph.D. Graduate
Dissertation Advisor(s): Emily Steiner, David L. Eng
"Writing Under Duress: Trauma and Repetition in Early England, 1065-1250 "

Junior Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows

Writing Under Duress: Trauma and Repetition in Early England, 1065-1250 investigates the so-called "lost" period of English literary history: the two-hundred-year aftermath of the Norman Conquest of 1066, when literatures in English were thought to have all but disappeared. Rather than working to combat claims of loss, as others working in this period have done, this dissertation embraces the richness of loss - of sovereign(ty), of land, of life, of language, of desire - for all it can tell us about the textual and historical motivations of the post-Conquest English. Writing Under Duress weaves together codicological and philological methodologies to serve as a foundation for theoretical intervention, and it treats trauma as a dynamic force that can be reconfigured as a tool of historical analysis for premodern texts. By revising theoretical frameworks to account for medieval conceptualizations of suffering (and allowing these forms of suffering to generate their own theories of trauma), this dissertation exposes trauma studies to a new range of subjectivities that helpfully challenge the assumed modern, Western, secular subject at the heart of contemporary theorizations of trauma. 


BA (honors) English, Stanford University: 2015

MSt English (650-1550), University of Oxford: 2016 

Mellon Fellowship Post-Classical Latin, UCLA: 2017

MA English, UPenn: 2019

PhD English, UPenn: 2023

Articles and Book Chapters

Courses Taught

spring 2021

fall 2018