Harry Carter

Harry Carter

Ph.D. Student in Comparative Literature, admitted Autumn 2021
2021: M.Phil. with distinction, English Studies (Medieval), St Hilda's College, Oxford
2019: B.A. First Class & Passmore Edwards Prize, Classics and English, Corpus Christi College, Oxford

Hello! I am Harry. I am in the second year of my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature here at Stanford. My most pronounced interest is in songs and lyrics, particularly premodern ones, and thinking about them comparatively as a means of bringing them to life and appreciating them better. My M.Phil. thesis reads medieval European fin’amor song-lyrics 'by analogy' with Song-dynasty Chinese ci (詞) song-lyrics, to investigate the centrality of ideas of ineffability to the way lyrics from both traditions work. In July 2022 I gave a paper on this topic at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds.
More broadly, I like to use comparison as a way of thinking productively and innovatively about premodern literature. One attempt at this is an article of mine, forthcoming in Manuscript and Text Cultures, titled '‘Ther is na more to seye’: brevity formulae, public reading and the poetics of futility in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde'. In it, I use the toolbox of scholarship on orality in Homer to rethink the way the Middle English poet Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400) artfully combines features that scholars tend to think of as 'oral' and 'literate'.
Last year I was Vice Chair of the Early Text Cultures research collective, which organises hybrid seminars, conferences and workshops to enable interdisciplinary dialogue among scholars of premodern literature. Though this year I have decided to step back from the board—to focus on teaching responsibilities!—I am still very much a cheerleader for ETC, so please do get in touch if you would like to learn more.



Research Interests

  • Comparative Studies


  • Medieval Languages, Literatures, and Cultures


  • Poetry and Poetics