Scholar wins book contract and Yale post

  • August 24, 2020
Scholar wins book contract and Yale post

My book offers a novel account of the legacy of the Crusades following the evacuation of the last Christian-held strongholds in the Middle East – what came to be known as 'the loss of the Holy Land'.

Marcel Elias

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has won a book contract from a leading academic publisher and has been appointed Assistant Professor at Yale University.

Marcel Elias’s first book, Crusade Literature and the Interrogation of Self: Romance and History, 1291-1453, scheduled to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2021, is described as “a study of the characteristically ambivalent and self-interrogative writings on the Crusades that emerged in England and Europe more generally in response to the failures of the movement”.

“The study is broad-ranging and interdisciplinary in scope and offers a novel account of the legacy of the Crusades following the evacuation of the last Christian-held strongholds in the Middle East – what came to be known as ‘the loss of the Holy Land’,” says Marcel.

He has also recently taken up a tenure-track Assistant Professorship in the Department of English at Yale University. He began his new job in July and will be teaching two courses remotely this autumn: a lecture course on the Multicultural Middle Ages and a seminar on English poetry from Chaucer to Milton.

Born in Toronto, Marcel [2013] grew up in Switzerland, where his family moved for his father’s work in musical instrument making and house renovation. Neither of his parents had been to university, and his BA and MA degrees at the University of Lausanne were only made possible by state subsidies and work alongside his studies – as a construction worker, cashier, salesman, bartender, snowboard instructor and English teacher.

Applying for PhD programmes is something he says he had not considered before being encouraged to do so by one of his professors. He was offered scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge and says the Gates Scholarship not just the generous funding, but the sense of community and internationalism proved a strong incentive to accept a place at Cambridge.

At Yale, Marcel will continue his research in the fields of medieval literature and history. His research and teaching interests include crusade and travel writing, the relations between Europe and the Islamic world, the genres of epic and romance, the history of emotions and translation studies.

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