Matilda is a PhD candidate in the Department of History and Civilisation at the European University Institute in Florence, where she is working on a thesis entitled ‘War and writing in the nineteenth century: the journeys of published memoirs by British, French and Spanish Peninsular War veterans, 1800-1914,’ under the supervision of Professor Lucy Riall. The project examines how war was sold to the European public in an age of growing democracy, media, conscription and publishing capacity, focusing on how veterans’ accounts of war experience became an established genre with the power to shape both memory of the past and expectations for future wars. Spanning a century of publications, editing, translation and travel, the thesis asks what picture of the Napoleonic wars was left to the First World War generation, and how strongly the original voices of its soldiers still echoed.
Before starting at the EUI, Matilda completed a BA in History at King’s College, Cambridge, followed by an MA in European History from Leiden University. Her MA thesis, a study of self-representation in Napoleonic memoirs, was awarded the Leiden Institute of History’s Fruijnprijs for the best Master’s dissertation of the year. She speaks French, Spanish and a little Italian, and spends most of her mornings rowing on the Arno.