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Julie Van Pelt

“The Premetaphrastic ‘Life and Martyrdom of Eugenia’: A Translation and Short Commentary of an Unstudied Text”

Julie Van Pelt

Universiteit Gent, Byzantine Studies Summer Fellow

In her research, Van Pelt explores late antique Byzantine hagiography from a literary point of view. She is preparing an English translation and commentary of the premetaphrastic Life and Martyrdom of Eugenia, a text that has hitherto been ignored in scholarship, but which deserves our attention for several reasons. While it may enhance our understanding of the literary portrayal of gender roles in different periods of the Byzantine era, it is an important source in particular for the relation between the figure of the female apostle Thekla and the Byzantine tradition of transvestite saints. In addition, it is an early piece of evidence in Byzantine literary history of the figure of the magician, which has never received attention from the point of view of narrative construction and for the role in the literary representation of religious models.

Julie Van Pelt holds a BA in classics and an MA in comparative modern literary studies from Universiteit Gent, where she is now a doctoral candidate in literary studies. She held a research position from 2014 to 2016 within the ERC-funded research project Novel Saints, directed by Koen De Temmerman, where she studied the continuation of ancient fictional narrative traditions into late antique hagiography in Greek. Since 2016, she has been a fellow of the FWO Flanders. Her PhD research focuses on the representation of disguise and performance in late antique lives of cross-dressing saints, holy fools, and other saints in disguise (4th–10th century).