Department of Greek & Latin


Early Modern Latin Poetry 2020

I am a 2nd year BSc Experimental Linguistics student and, within the Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme, I completed a 6-week research internship on "Macaronic Poetry in Early Modern England”.

Originally, Latin was not in my plans, but a bit of serendipity steered my choice. As I was reading through my research options, I stumbled upon a project on “Previously unstudied Latin Poetry in Early Modern England” which caught my attention. Under the supervision of Dr. Victoria Moul, this project studies Latin’s role in Early Modern England’s bilingual culture and attempts to restore an appreciation of the Latin dimension in Early Modern poetry.

Macaronic Latin is a hybrid language that subjects vernacular vocabulary to Latin syntax and morphology. Being quite interested in bilingualism and in the dynamics behind language-mixing, the topic fascinated me straight away. On a lighter note, I also found it very cool because I often jokingly speak an English-Italian hybrid (which I call “Anglo-Veneto”) that works just like Macaronic Latin and achieves the same comical effects.

Not being a Classics student, I was worried that my Latin or palaeography skills would not be up to the task, but my supervisor really helped me out with the bits I struggled with. Thanks to my experience in the Greek and Latin department, I now understand much better how many of the skills involved in research, such as information sourcing and essay writing, cut across different subjects and thus encourage all 1st years students applying to the Laidlaw scheme to look beyond their subject (and perhaps away from their comfort zone) before choosing their project.

Giulia Li Calzi

This internship was sponsored by the Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme