UCL English


Dr Francesca Brooks

Email: f.brooks@ucl.ac.uk 
External phone: 020 7679 7322

Internal phone: 37322 
Office: Foster Court 213

Francesca Brooks photograph

Education and Experience 

Francesca Brooks received her B.A. (2011) in English Literature from Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, and completed her MA (2014) in Medieval Literature and PhD (2018) at King’s College London.

Her doctoral thesis on the influence of early medieval culture and history on the late modernist poet and artist David Jones was funded by the AHRC through the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP).

Research Interests

Francesca’s research sits at the intersection of early medieval and modernist literary culture, exploring the ways in which the early medieval past and its cultural productions have been reimagined and recreated in post-medieval poetry. She is currently working on her first monograph based on her doctoral research: a study of the Anglo-Welsh poet and artist David Jones’s 1952 poem The Anathemata, which draws on original archival research from libraries across the UK and North America. Developing a new methodology for reading with David Jones, Poet of the Medieval Modern: Reading the Anglo-Saxon Library with David Jones seeks to trouble the distinction we make between poetry and scholarship and argues that Jones creates a revisionary encounter with the medieval that decentres the Anglo-centrism of British culture. Poet of the Medieval Modern will be published with Oxford University Press's Textual Perspectives Series in 2021.

Her next research project will explore the continued imaginative and political power of early Insular culture for twentieth-century networks of poets and artists, offering a medievalist cultural history of modern poetic innovation with word and image. Francesca has also published on sensory perceptions of the early medieval liturgy in England, the influence of liturgical innovation on vernacular Passion poetry (both medieval and modernist), and the crafting of sound in the riddles of the Old English Exeter Book. In 2019-20 she will be Academic Lead for the UCL Creative Fellowship Programme, 'New Old English: Performance, Poetry, Practice', which will see Rowan Evans and Maisie Newman (known collectively as Fen) develop their performance based on the Old English poem Wulf and Eadwacer in dialogue with staff and students at the university. More information can be found here. She is also one of the 2020 University of Glasgow Library Visiting Research Fellows: the fellowship will enable her to begin some new research, bringing Edwin Morgan’s poetic manuscripts together with his scrapbooks to explore the spaces between and across Morgan’s visual and verbal imagination as he sought to revivify aspects of early medieval culture.


Articles and Chapters in Books

Brooks, Francesca, ‘The Crafting of Sound in the Riddles of the Exeter Book’, in How Riddles Work in the Early Medieval Tradition, eds., Megan Cavell and Jennifer Neville (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020)

Brooks, Francesca, ‘Liturgy, Performance, and Poetry of the Passion: David Jones and The Dream of the Rood’, ‘David Jones Special Issue’, Religion & Literature, 49 (2018), 83-92

Brooks, Francesca, ‘Sight, Sound and the Perception of the Anglo-Saxon Liturgy in Exeter Book Riddles 48 and 59’, in Sensory Perception in the Medieval West, eds., Michael Bintley and Simon Thomson (Utrecht: Brepols, 2016), pp. 141-58

Allfrey, Fran, Francesca Brooks, Joshua Davies, Rebecca Hardie, Carl Kears, Clare Lees, Kathryn Maude, James Paz, Hana Videen and Victoria Walker, ‘New Ways to Know the Medieval: Creativity, Pedagogy & Public Engagement’, Old English Newsletter, 46 (2016)

Allfrey, Fran, and Francesca Brooks, ‘A Gift for the Illuminated Sphere’, Textual Practice, 30 (2016), 15-17



Brooks, Francesca, ‘Poetry and the Listening Ear: Review of Hearing Thingsby Angela Leighton’, Cambridge Quarterly, 48 (2019), 397-402

Brooks, Francesca, Thomas Berenato, Anne Price-Owen and Kathleen Henderson Staudt, eds., David Jones on Religion, Politics, and Culture: Unpublished Prose’Review of English Studies, 70 (2019), 791-3

‘Poetry’s Imagined Community: Review of The Plural of Us by Bonnie Costello', Cambridge Quarterly, 47 (2018), 279-285

Brooks, Francesca, '“A Deeply Textured Trove of Learning and Reference": The Gift of David Jones (review of Vision and Memory: The Art of David Jones, Ariane Bankes and Paul Hills)', Marginalia at the LA Review of Books (2016)