The day after her finals ended, Kim Lifton ’20 did what any college student would want to do and boarded a plane to Europe. She visited places like London, England, and Angers, France, observing the remnants of medieval Western history. Unlike the typical college student, however, Lifton spent the majority of her time examining medieval manuscripts in renowned archives and traversing the region in search of depictions of Edward the Black Prince.
Which makes sense, given that Lifton is dedicating her summer to studying the reputation of prince and military leader Edward of Woodstock, better known as Edward the Black Prince. In her research, she is attempting to determine how English kings, the French, and Edward himself developed the notion of Edward the Black Prince. Lifton hopes that Edward, as a prominent figure of the Hundred Years’ War, will serve as an example of both how reputation affected upper-class men in the Middle Ages and how scholars have approached the history of the Hundred Years’ War.
Majors: History and Literature
Hometown: Wilmington, Mass.
High School: Wilmington High School
To do this, Lifton visited sites such as Lambeth Palace, Canterbury Cathedral, and the Apocalypse Tapestry in Angers Castle. After exploring the art, architecture, and documents related to Edward the Black Prince, she returned to the States to work more on her secondary research. Right now, she is sorting through literature on Edward the Black Prince, histories of reputation, and medieval depictions of Edward. She plans on returning to England at the end of the summer to gather more information.
Lifton believes that her research project has given her the skills she needs for future graduate work. She said, “I’m looking at doing medieval studies for graduate school, potentially medieval literature, and it definitely gave me the experience I need for that.” Moreover, her research has not only allowed her to sample the kind of work she will be doing in the future, but has also poised her for applying to graduate programs. “My application will most likely stand out a bit more because most undergraduates don’t get to handle manuscripts and don’t do it on their own.”
In addition to helping her gain graduate-level experience, Lifton’s research has helped her explore potential thesis topics for the upcoming year. Though she noted that she keeps finding topics that excite her, so narrowing down her ideas might prove difficult.
Altogether, Lifton’s research project has been a work of scholarly adventure and essential experience that she will continue to use in her academic career.
Lifton is one of 200 Hamilton students conducting research or completing an internship supported by the College this summer.