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Celtic & Scottish Studies Blog

Celtic & Scottish Studies Blog

Traditional arts, languages and culture in Scotland

Dr Kate Mathis

Lecturer in Celtic and 2011 PhD alumnus, Dr Kate Mathis is a scholar of Celtic & Gaelic. Kate explores medieval literatures of Ireland, Wales, and Gaelic Scotland, mainly women’s poetry, elegy, and medieval characters that are reimagined during the twentieth century Celtic Revival.

I write about sad women who lived a long time ago, and tell other people what they wrote about!

What’s your favourite album just now?

It changes all the time, but I’m a Glasgow girl who’s stuck in the 80s so this week I’d say The Blue Nile’s ‘Hats’; it conjures up rainy winter evenings arriving home into Central Station.

What classes/activities might students meet you in?

Two courses on medieval Welsh – Medieval Welsh Texts 2, Medieval Welsh literature – and two courses on Celtic literature and culture –  Celtic Literature 2A and Celtic Civilisation 1A  – do come along!

Which section of the library would we find you in and why/what would you be doing?

At the moment, I’m working on the draft of a book about an originally medieval character, Deirdre, who became extremely popular during the Celtic Revival; the current chapter’s about the version of her life created in the 1890s by William Sharp, who published a series of cloying novels under a female pseudonym (‘Fiona Macleod’), so I’d be in the Victorian Literature section with a hypothetical red pen, longing to cross out all the adjectives!

Is there anything unusual about you that we should know?!

As a student, I worked as a ‘Living history’ character at various local landmarks, so I’ve played Mary Queen of Scots in Edinburgh Castle and a Victorian murder victim in the Cowgate vaults!

Kate Mathis stands in Muness Castle, Unst, Shetland.

Kate Mathis stands in Muness Castle, Unst, Shetland.


Kate’s staff page:



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