Dr Kate Louise Mathis (MA (Hons), MSc)

Lecturer in Celtic

  • Ceiltis & Eòlas na h-Alba | Celtic & Scottish Studies

Contact details



Ceiltis & Eòlas na h-Alba | Celtic & Scottish Studies
Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann | University of Edinburgh
50 Ceàrnag Sheòrais | 50 George Square

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Kate Louise Mathis received her doctorate from the University of Edinburgh in 2011, and taught for a decade in Celtic & Gaelic at the University of Glasgow. Her research interests include Gaelic women’s poetry, the so-called 'Celtic' Revival (and its intersection with the parallel cultural revival movement in the Scottish Gàidhealtachd), and the reception of medieval Irish Ulster Cycle characters in Scotland. She was previously Scottish Gaelic research assistant for ‘Women’s Poetry in Ireland, Scotland, & Wales, 1400-1800’ (funded by the Leverhulme Trust), and is preparing two monographs: an assessment of the development of Deirdre from the early medieval period to the Celtic Revival, and a critical anthology of Deirdre's depiction by women writers from c. 1880-c.1930.


MA (Hons), MSc (Dist.), PhD in Celtic Studies (Edin)

Responsibilities & affiliations

Deputy Director of Research (CSS/LLC)

Undergraduate teaching

Honours: Medieval Welsh Texts; Medieval Welsh literature; Early Irish Texts; Early Irish Literature

Pre-honours: 'Heroes, Wonders, Saints, and Sagas' (Celtic Literature 2A); Celtic Civilisation 1A

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

Proposals especially welcomed on the following topics:

  • The Celtic Revival in Scotland
  • Scottish Gaelic women’s poetry (ca. AD 1200-1800), e.g. its oral, written, and printed dissemination, and its visibility and reception by anglophone women writers;
  • The legacy and reception of James MacPherson’s ‘Ossian’ in the eighteenth/nineteenth-century Scottish Gàidhealtachd

Multiple aspects of early medieval Welsh literature.

Past PhD students supervised

2020-21: Claire Lober (MSc Medieval Literatures and Cultures), ‘Awen foretells: Imagining Britain through political prophecy’.

2019-20: Anna Leslie (MRes), 'Holy men and warlords: Cultural identity and pseudo-history in early medieval Britain’.

2017-18: Sonia García de Alba Lobeira (MSc Medieval Literatures and Cultures), ‘Myrddin, Merlinus, and Merlín: Translation, adaptation and politicised prophecy in the medieval vernacular literatures of Wales and Spain'.

Research summary

  • The texts and characters of the Ulster Cycle in their earliest context and later reception (translation to English, politicized reshaping during the Celtic Revival, exchange of component tales between Ireland and Scotland);
  • Lament poetry, and cultural representations of grief, mourning, and violent emotion in Gaelic and Welsh literature (ca. AD 700-1500);
  • Women’s poetry in the Scottish Gàidhealtachd (ca. AD 1200-1800). 

Current research interests

Eva Gore-Booth (1870-1926); 'Michael Field', pseudonym of Katherine Harris Bradley (1846-1914) and her niece Edith Cooper (1862-1913); Alice (1854-1938) and Josephine (1852-1915) Macdonell; William Sharp ('Fiona Macleod') and Elizabeth Amelia Sharp; the poetry of Sileas na Ceapaich (fl. 1710s).

Knowledge exchange

  • (16 June 2021) Public lecture: ‘“Will no one tell me what she sings?” Observing Gaelic women poets in the Scottish Gàidhealtachd’; ‘Old Ways, New Roads: The Gaelic Sessions’, The Hunterian, Glasgow;
  • (18 April 2019) Public lecture: ‘Sìleas na Ceapaich and female-authored Scottish Jacobite verse’; Comann Gàidhlig Ghlaschu;
  • (11 June 2018) Public lecture: ‘Gaelic Women’s Poetry in medieval Scotland’; Exploring Gaelic Lecture Series, St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh (with Alasdair C. Whyte);
  • (21 June 2017) An evening of dramatized readings (contributing speaker to public event), ‘Raise Their Voices: Women’s words from the Great War’, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh;
  • (28 July 2015) Public lecture, ‘Bàrdachd Boireannach ann an Alba/Women’s Poetry in Scotland’; Glasgow Women’s Library (with Sarah Dunnigan & Alasdair C. Whyte).

Invited speaker

  • (November 5 2023) 'Ionmhain tir an tír-úd thoir (“A dear land is that land in the east”): The Children of Uisneach in Scotland', Irish Texts Society 23rd annual seminar, University College Cork;
  • (August 27 2022) ‘Gaelic women’s protest poetry from “The Whining Age” to 1715’, Networking Jacobites: 1688 to the present, Centre for Scottish Studies, University of Guelph, Canada;
  • (3 May 2021) ‘Translating laments & scenes of mourning in the Middle Gaelic Thebaid’, Classical Influences in Irish Culture network, Århus University, Denmark;
  • (7 March 2020) Plenary address: ‘“Shrink not appalled from my great sorrow”: Mourning the maic Uislenn in the Celtic Revival’, 42nd UC Celtic Studies Conference, University of California, Los Angeles;
  • (10 June 2017) ‘Gaelic print culture and Gaelic women's poetry in the eighteenth century’, ‘Scotland 1715-1780: Literature, Culture, Art, and Music’ (Association of Scottish Literary Studies annual meeting);
  • (9 September 2016) ‘“Tha mo chridh’ air a mhùchadh”: Elegy and lament by female poets in the McLagan collection’; ‘An t-Urr. Seumas MacLathagain (1728-1805) agus a làmh-sgrìobhainnean / The Rev. James McLagan (1728-1805) and his manuscripts’, University of Glasgow;
  • (27 November 2015) Round-table discussion (contributing speaker), ‘Violence in medieval Irish literature’; Celtic & Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh (with Abigail Burnyeat, Geraldine Parsons, & Michael Clarke);
  • (23 June 2011) ‘An Ideal Wife? Carmichael’s Deirdire and Revivalist ideals of beauty, dignity and death’; ‘Alexander Carmichael: Collecting, Controversy, and Contexts’, University of Edinburgh.


  • (1-3 May 2014) Co-convener, ‘The Celtic Revival in Scotland, 1880-1930’ (with Abigail Burnyeat).


  • (29 June 2021) ‘The Bardess of Clan Donald: Anglo-Highland women’s writing in the Celtic Revival’, Unforgettable, Unforgotten? Continuing the recovery of Scottish women writers, c. 1880–1940, University of Edinburgh;
  • (14 April 2021) ‘The Islands of Fiona Macleod’, 5th International St Magnus Conference, Institute for Northern Studies UHI;
  • (5 May 2016) Round-table discussion (co-convener & contributor): ‘Women’s Words. Gender, Speech, & Verbal Action in Early Irish Literature’, CSANA 2016, St. Francis Xavier University (in collaboration with Joanne Findon [Trent University], & Dorothy Bray [McGill]);
  • (31 August-1 September 2015) Co-convener, Edinburgh meeting of CLARSACH (Celtic Languages Annual Research Symposium & Collaboration Hub) / AHRC Centre for Doctoral training in Celtic Languages – workshop focusing on key disciplinary training skills for doctoral students in Celtic Studies;
  • (13 July 2015) Round-table discussion (co-convener & contributor): ‘The Celtic Revival’, 15th International Congress of Celtic Studies, University of Glasgow (in collaboration with speakers from the Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies [Aberystwyth], University of Aberdeen, & Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI);
  • (26 April 2014) Contributing speaker, ‘Women’s Voices in medieval Scotland’, at ‘Mapping the Nation: Representations of Scotland 1200-2000, a conference for teachers’, National Museum of Scotland (with Sarah Dunnigan).

Papers delivered

  • (30 June 2017) ‘Or nad-fil lem féin find-fhocla’ (‘Since I myself have not wise words’): Violent deeds and damning speech in Longes mac n-Uislenn’; 31st Irish Conference of Medievalists, NUI Maynooth;
  • (22 June 2016) ‘Women’s poetry in the Gàidhealtachd from “the Whining Age” to 1715’; Rannsachadh na Gàidhlig 9, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI;
  • (19 March 2016) ‘Rewriting the “Compassionate House-wife”: Two radical lives and two plays about Deirdre’; 5th International Conference on the Ulster Cycle of tales, NUI Maynooth;
  • (14 July 2015) ‘Further reconsideration of Longes mac n-Uislenn’; 15th International Congress of Celtic Studies, University of Glasgow;
  • (5 July 2013) Round-table discussion (contributing speaker), ‘Women’s poetry in Ireland, Scotland, & Wales 1400-1800’; ‘Pride & Prejudices: Women’s writing in the eighteenth century’, Chawton House Library (with Sarah Prescott, Cathryn Charnell-White, Marie-Louise Coolahan, & Sarah Dunnigan).

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

  • ‘“Tha Mulad Air M’ Inntinn” and early modern Gaelic dialogue poetry’, Aiste 5 (2019), 90–150;
  • ‘Mourning the Maic Uislenn: Blood, death, & grief in Longes mac n-Uislenn & Oidheadh Chloinne hUisneach’, Scottish Gaelic Studies 29 (2013), 1–21.

Book Chapters

  • ‘Gaelic women’s poetry’, The International Companion to Scottish Literature of the Long Eighteenth Century, eds. Leith Davis & Janet Sorensen (Glasgow, 2021), 199‒219;
  • [with Sìm Innes] ‘Gaelic tradition and the Celtic Revival in children’s literature in Scottish Gaelic & English’, in The Land of Story Books. Scottish Children’s Literature in the Nineteenth Century, eds. Dunnigan, Sarah, & Shu-Fang Lai (Glasgow, 2019), 107‒57;
  • [with Joanna Martin] ‘Elegy and commemorative writing’, in The International Companion to Scottish literature, 1400‒1650, ed. Nicola Royan (Glasgow, 2018), 173‒99;
  • ‘Presence, absence, and audience: The elegies of Sìleas na Ceapaich “At Home” and “Abroad”’, in Gender and mobility in Scotland and Abroad, eds. Sierra Dye, Elizabeth Ewan, & Alice Glaze (Guelph, 2018), 183‒200;

Digital and other outputs

  • ‘ROSS, Elizabeth Jane, 1789‒1875’, and ‘CAMPBELL, Marioun (Mòr nighean Dhonnchaidh), fl. 1560s’, The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women (2nd edition), eds. Elizabeth Ewan et al. (Edinburgh, 2018), 77‒78, 371;
  • ‘Medieval Gaelic literature in the Scottish Celtic Revival: The case of Deirdre in the work of Alice C. Macdonell’, Women’s History Scotland bursary award (2018).

Editor (Scottish Gaelic): This Year’s Work in Modern Language Studies (2018 – present, with Emma Dymock)