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Table of contents :
Textual Identities in Early Medieval England
Contents
Illustrations
Contributors
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction
Part One: Affect and Embodied Cognition in Medieval Didactic Texts
Prudentius’s Apotheosis and Hamartigenia in Early Medieval England
Wonders Never Cease in the Old English Boethius
The Desiring Mind: Embodying Affect in the Old English Pastoral Care
Adam and Eve’s Hands and Eyes: Covering the Face in the Junius Manuscript
Hawk Taming and Humanity in The Fortunes of Men
Part Two: Sovereignty, Power, and English Textual Identities
A Taste for the Law: The Preface to Alfred’s Law Code and Hannah Arendt’s Reading of Kant
The Bodies Politic: Conflict, Consent, and English Identity During Godwin’s Exile
Abraham Wheelock, Agent of Anglicanism, and the Deployment of Old English Texts
Part Three: Acts of Public Record in Making and Sustaining Communities
Writings Among the Ruins: The Peterborough Chronicle and the House Archive
St Rumwold and the Social Network of Belief
Holy Women on Display in Ælfric’s Lives of Saints
Visible Mód: The Scholarship of Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe
The Writings of Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe
Bibliography
Index of Manuscripts
General Index
Tabula Gratulatoria
Recommend Papers

Textual Identities in Early Medieval England: Essays in Honour of Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe
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Essays in Honour of Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe

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ology Textual Identities and otidian in Early Medieval England prac dane details of everyday life, ro Jacqueline Fay | Rebecca Stephenson | Renée R. Trilling (Eds.)

Anglo-Saxon Studies 42

TEXTUAL IDENTITIES IN EARLY MEDIEVAL ENGLAND o

Textual Identities in Early Medieval England o Essays in Honour of Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe

Edited by Jacqueline Fay, Rebecca Stephenson and Renée R. Trilling

D. S. BREWER

© Contributors 2022 All Rights Reserved. Except as permitted under current legislation no part of this work may be photocopied, stored in a retrieval system, published, performed in public, adapted, broadcast, transmitted, recorded or reproduced in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the copyright owner First published 2022 D. S. Brewer, Cambridge ISBN 978-1-84384-624-6 (hardback) ISBN 978-1-80010-482-2 (ePDF) D. S. Brewer is an imprint of Boydell & Brewer Ltd PO Box 9, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 3DF, UK and of Boydell & Brewer Inc. 668 Mt Hope Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620–2731, USA website: www.boydellandbrewer.com A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library The publisher has no responsibility for the continued existence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this book, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate Cover image: The Encomiast presenting his work to Emma. Encomium Emmae reginae, Add. MS 33241 f. 1v © The British Library Board

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Contents

List of Illustrations vii List of Contributors ix Acknowledgments xi List of Abbreviations xiii Introduction Jacqueline Fay, Rebecca Stephenson, and Renée R. Trilling

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Part One: Affect and Embodied Cognition in Medieval Didactic Texts 1 Prudentius’s Apotheosis and Hamartigenia in Early Medieval England 13 Leslie Lockett 2 Wonders Never Cease in the Old English Boethius 34 Nicole Guenther Discenza 3 The Desiring Mind: Embodying Affect in the Old English Pastoral Care 54 Jennifer A. Lorden 4 Adam and Eve’s Hands and Eyes: Covering the Face in the Junius Manuscript 70 Benjamin A. Saltzman 5 Hawk Taming and Humanity in The Fortunes of Men 107 Stacy S. Klein

Part Two: Sovereignty, Power, and English Textual Identities 6 A Taste for the Law: The Preface to Alfred’s Law Code and Hannah Arendt’s Reading of Kant 135 Emily V. Thornbury

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1 Contents

7 The Bodies Politic: Conflict, Consent, and English Identity During Godwin’s Exile 150 Jacob Hobson 8 Abraham Wheelock, Agent of Anglicanism, and the Deployment of Old English Texts in the 1643 Edition of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People 170 Timothy Graham

Part Three: Acts of Public Record in Making and Sustaining Communities 9 Writings Among the Ruins: The Peterborough Chronicle and the House Archive 207 Scott T. Smith 10 St Rumwold and the Social Network of Belief 225 Miranda Wilcox 11 Holy Women on Display in Ælfric’s Lives of Saints 244 Jonathan Davis-Secord

Overview of Career Visible Mód: The Scholarship of Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe Maura Nolan The Writings of Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe Bibliography Index of Manuscripts General Index Tabula Gratulatoria

261 281 287 315 317 327

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Illustrations

Plates Adam and Eve’s Hands and Eyes: Covering the Face in the Junius Manuscript, Benjamin A. Saltzman Figure 4.1: Fall of Adam and Eve, MS Junius 11, p. 34 Figure 4.2: Fall of Adam and Eve, MS Junius 11, p. 36 Figure 4.3: Fall of Adam and Eve, MS Junius 11, p. 39 Figure 4.4: Adam and Eve hiding from God; the Expulsion; Adam and Eve laboring – Old English Illustrated Hexateuch Figure 4.5: Marginal nude figures – The Bayeux Tapestry, Scene 13 Figure 4.6: Fall of Adam and Eve – Bible of Robert De Bello Figure 4.7: Temptation and Fall of Adam and Eve, MS Junius 11 Figure 4.8: The five senses – The Fuller Brooch Figure 4.9: Noah and his sons, MS Junius 11 Figure 4.10: The widow of Enos mourning his death in Gen. 5:11 – Old English Illustrated Hexateuch Figure 4.11: Israelites mourning the death of Moses in Deut. 34:8 – Old English Illustrated Hexateuch Figure 4.12: Mourning Abel, MS Junius 11 Figure 4.13: Crucifixion – Ramsey Psalter Figure 4.14: Crucifixion – Gospel book of Judith of Flanders Figure 4.15: Crucifixion – Winchcombe Psalter Figure 4.16: Darkness upon the face of the abyss, MS Junius 11 Figure 4.17: Enoch’s Ascension, MS Junius 11 Figure 4.18: Christ’s Ascension

81 82 83 84 85 85 86 87 88 89 89 90 91 91 92 93 94 95

Abraham Wheelock, Agent of Anglicanism, and the Deployment of Old English Texts in the 1643 Edition of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Timothy Graham Figure 8.1: Wheelock’s edition of Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica (1643), p. 225 Figure 8.2: Wheelock’s edition of Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica (1643), p. 220

171 185

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1 Illustrations

Full credit details are provided in the captions to the images in the text. The editor, contributors and publisher are grateful to all the institutions and persons for permission to reproduce the materials in which they hold copyright. Every effort has been made to trace the copyright holders; apologies are offered for any omission, and the publisher will be pleased to add any necessary acknowledgement in subsequent editions.

Graphs Wonders Never Cease in the Old English Boethius, Nicole Guenther Discenza Graph 2.1: Occurrences of Latin and Old English based on Latin book number in Boethius 50

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Contributors

Jonathan Davis-Secord, University of New Mexico Jacqueline Fay, University of Texas at Arlington Timothy Graham, University of New Mexico Nicole Guenther Discenza, University of South Florida Jacob Hobson, Berkeley, CA Stacy S. Klein, Rutgers University Leslie Lockett, The Ohio State University Jennifer A. Lorden, William & Mary Maura Nolan, University of California Berkeley Benjamin A. Saltzman, University of Chicago Scott T. Smith, Pennsylvania State University Rebecca Stephenson, University College Dublin Emily V. Thornbury, Yale University Renée R. Trilling, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Miranda Wilcox, Brigham Young University

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T

Acknowledgments

he editors would like to acknowledge the efforts of the many people whose labor enabled the production of this volume. First and foremost are the contributors, whose dedication to the excellent original work contained in these pages stands as a testament to their respect and affection for Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe. We could not be more proud of this reflection of her legacy. We have had the great good fortune to work with Editorial Director Caroline Palmer at Boydell and Brewer, who guided the volume toward clear themes and a strong focus. Thanks are due as well to series editors Professor Catherine Cubitt and Professor John Hines. We are grateful to Ashley Johnson and Meg Morrow for their work in preparing the final manuscript. Their work was supported by generous funding from the University of Texas at Arlington Department of English, the University College Dublin Output-Based Research Support Scheme, and the Program in Medieval Studies at the University of Illinois. Our deepest thanks go, of course, to Katherine herself, whose mentorship built the intellectual community that continues to sustain all three of us decades after graduate school.

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ANQ BHL CCSL CSEL EETS EETS EETS EHR JEGP JMH MGH PL

Abbreviations

American Notes & Queries Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina Corpus christianorum, series latina Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum latinorum ES Early English Text Society Extra Series OS Early English Text Society Original Series SS Early English Text Society Supplementary Series English Historical Review Journal of English and Germanic Philology Journal of Medieval History Monumenta Germaniae Historica Patrologia Latina

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Introduction

Jacqueline Fay, Rebecca Stephenson, and Renée R. Trilling

While the linguistic exercises of the Colloquy show it to be an elementary text for language acquisition, I argue that it had other work to do. ‘Esto quod es’ [Be what you are] is the phrase that shows that work to us; it speaks to the need for forming identity while claiming that identity is always already formed; it shows us the nexus between language learning and naturalization into monastic life; most remarkably, it speaks to anxieties over the will of oblates, whose religious commitments were made by others.1

I

n writing of Ælfric’s Colloquy, Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe begins by analyzing the oft-quoted and apparently straightforward injunction, ‘esto quod es’ [be what you are]. In Katherine’s reading, ‘Be what you are’ becomes not just an easy-to-translate phrase for Latin learners, but a command to embrace their new identity through the many different practices that turn oblates into monks. Her focus on a single innocuous phrase becomes a fulcrum that opens up her inquiry to larger questions of epistemology and identity formation, rooted in the quotidian practices of the monastic schoolroom. The mundane details of everyday life, routinely overlooked when we ask big questions, become the foundation for understanding an entire worldview: to use Katherine’s phrase, they have other work to do. What ‘esto quod es’ means was never in dispute, but Katherine made us rethink how it means, unpacking one of the simplest phrases in Anglo-Latin literature to reveal a complex site that constitutes monastic identity. This keen ability to deduce large structures – like identity, agency, subjectivity – from the easily overlooked details of the everyday characterizes all of Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe’s work. Seemingly unremarkable facets of early English culture, from punctuation to formulaic language, become the foundation for a complete reorientation of the material that introduces a mode of investigation that was not previously possible. In other words, Katherine pioneered a methodology that used some of the medievalist’s strongest tools, philology and textual criticism, to reconstruct entire edi1

Stealing Obedience: Narratives of Identity and Agency in Later Anglo-Saxon England (Toronto, 2012), p. 95.

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fices of medieval thought. By focusing on minute pedestrian details of composition, for example, we can uncover the assumptions that went (quite literally) without saying for medieval scribes, but are opaque to modern scholars. Katherine’s work thus addresses the twin central problems of historical scholarship: first, how to account for the recognition that scholarship is conditioned by the scholar’s own framework of observation; and second, how to articulate the epistemological frameworks that seemed natural, and therefore required no explanation, to a different era. As medievalists, how can we recreate medieval structures of meaning in order to recognize how they operate within the cultural products we study? When by definition we write from our own modern vantage point, how can we approximate the vantage point of an early medieval writer or reader closely enough to discern the taken-for-granted structures that underpin their worldview? Bridging the gap between modern and medieval points of view is not merely an academic question, but one that impinges on the viability of the field. Nicholas Howe warned that Old English studies risked becoming obsolete when he wrote, ‘[i]f we fail to make Pre-Conquest England a subject of interest, even in a quietly modest way, we risk trivializing ourselves as antiquarians who collect lore about the past as magpies collect bright, shiny objects.’2 Rather than simply storing up medieval curiosities and treasures to delight and amaze, Katherine’s work transforms them into something that is greater than the sum of its parts and capable of supporting vigorous dialogue with other disciplines in the humanities. Motivating all her work is the question of how to read, and even whether we can read, like an early medieval reader. What would it take to build back the landscape of contextual clues that signal to a reader what is distinctive from what is mundane, what is worthy of notice and what is not, what imprints on us without our notice, what we choose and what we leave behind? Beginning in 1990 with Visible Song: Transitional Literacy in Old English Verse, Katherine brings what no one else had noticed about early medieval textual culture into sight in such a way that it would never go unnoticed again. Working with punctuation and word division – those small but numerous details that are sometimes dismissed as insignificant, capricious, and of no wider cultural significance – Visible Song painstakingly reconstructed a transitional moment in the history of literacy through the repeated acts of scribal intervention that pass almost without notice for modern readers. Later, in her 2009 monograph Stealing Obedience: Narratives of Agency and Identity in Later Anglo-Saxon England, she interrogates whether a distinction can be made between iterative acts that reinforce pre-existing cultural paths and agential acts that forge new ones. This volume set the standard for considerations of subjectivity and agency in early medieval England, outlining how medieval notions of 2

Nicholas Howe, ‘Historicist Approaches’, in Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe (ed.), Reading Old English Texts (Cambridge, 1997), p. 82.



Introduction 1

3

free will and obedience differ from modern ones, particularly in monastic discourses. Maura Nolan writes compellingly about the impact of Katherine’s oeuvre in her introductory bibliographic essay. She characterizes the extraordinary breadth and reach of Katherine’s work in terms of William James’s definition of genius as ‘the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way’.3 Such unhabitual perceiving, as we have noted, enabled Katherine to generate scholarly models that transformed the study of Old English and Anglo-Latin literature. But this signature ability to reframe methodological questions through the observation of minute detail has made her work equally valuable to scholars far outside the usual purview of medieval studies. Katherine plumbed the possibilities of computer-aided scholarship long before the advent of digital humanities. Her work in Visible Song is regularly cited by linguists, historians of the book, and theorists of reading and cognition. To all this she adds ground-breaking editorial work on the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and paradigm-shifting explorations of the body and law. Few scholars of literature, and even fewer of medieval literature, find such broad appreciation for their work, and here, as elsewhere, Katherine sets an enviable standard. Within her more immediate field, Katherine’s work has inspired others to question received wisdom and rewrite dominant narratives using the traditional tools of medieval studies: philology, paleography, and close reading. Her oeuvre demonstrates the kind of disciplinary transformation that can take place through the consideration of very small details, sometimes as small as a single word or even a single punctum. The essays collected here function as both a tribute to Katherine’s legacy and a series of efforts to reframe, rethink, and restructure long-standing consensus views about everything from schoolroom translations and criminal codes to charters, chronicles, and hagiography. The volume is divided into three major sections, each covering an issue of central interest to the humanities that has recurred in Katherine’s work – affect and embodied cognition, sovereignty and power, and community formation. But as a whole, the volume is unified by the methodological consistency of its contributions, all of which proceed from the recognition that the answers to large questions are often hidden in the details.

Part One: Affect and Embodied Cognition in Medieval Didactic Texts The opening section of the volume takes up the question initially posed by Katherine in her work on Ælfric’s Colloquy: how do the texts common to the early medieval classroom engender specific modes of subject formation alongside a knowledge of Latin and scripture? Through their struc3

William James, The Principles of Psychology, vol. II (New York, 1890), p. 110.

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tural, aesthetic, and linguistic details, these texts shape the habits of mind that will interpolate their users into the English Christian community. Leslie Lockett, for example, reconsiders a common curriculum author, Prudentius. Using hitherto neglected manuscript evidence, Lockett finds that two Latin poems composed by Prudentius in the fifth century CE – Apotheosis (The Divinity of Christ) and Hamartigenia (The Origin of Sin) – found an active readership in England between the early tenth century and the Conquest. Based on the glossing of surviving English manuscripts, Lockett finds that these poems preserve some modes of thinking not evident elsewhere in the classical model. These distinctive elements include the idea that the brain has a role in the activities of the mind; that the soul has agency in the decision-making processes of the body; and that the soul has some degree of materiality, among other points. Lockett also notes that these poems were likely used as models for early medieval students of Latin versification, a fact that has not previously been explored, and that the views they uphold about the relationship of soul and body would therefore have been more readily absorbed by the English scholarly community. The details of translation and word choice have a clear impact on the thought patterns they produce, but they can also impact a reader’s emotions, albeit in more subtle ways, and many Old English versions of schoolroom texts deploy emotion to powerful effect. Nicole Guenther Discenza considers the role of the word ‘wundrian’ (to wonder) in medieval education, specifically in the Old English Boethius. Discenza notes that the Old English translation uses words based on the stem wundr- much more frequently than its Latin source does. Not only that, but those wundor-words are distributed very differently in the English text, not merely as calques on Latin words that translate as ‘wonder’. While the Latin Boethius moves from wonder to contemplation to a sense of cognitive closure, its Old English counterpart culminates in wonder, using it to inspire passion for learning and to open the mind to adapt and accept new models of information. Working from a single word, Discenza argues that the Old English translator reframes wonder as an aesthetic device to engage emotion and cognition simultaneously. In Jennifer Lorden’s essay, embodied cognition forms the centerpiece of a theory of affect that illuminates the shift from interior thought to external action in the Old English translation of Gregory’s Pastoral Care. The translation, she finds, consistently rewrites condemnations of emotion to create space for affective engagement with moral states, eschewing the binary thinking of Latin original in favor of a middle ground that admonishes excess. Where the Latin advocates moderation of feeling as a means of controlling desire, the Old English simply warns against an excess of joy or sorrow, casting certain degrees of feeling as not merely permitted, but actually fundamental to proper religious devotion. Feeling thus becomes an act of devotion, and desire – even for power and authority – is licit for those who are worthy to lead and to encourage devotion in



Introduction 1

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others. The Old English, then, reveals that early medieval writers thought deeply about the role of emotion in religious contemplation long before the traditional rise of affective piety. Negative affect can be equally powerful, if not more so, as Benjamin Saltzman demonstrates in his consideration of how shame situates the reader in the manuscript of Genesis B. Saltzman examines several illustrations in the Junius Manuscript that show Adam and Eve covering their faces with their hands, and he develops a nuanced reading of this gesture, supported by visual analogues, that accounts for its changing significance – from shame, to sorrow emerging from shame, to sorrow at the anticipation of future suffering and death – as it develops through different panels of the story. Ultimately, he argues, the Junius illustrator uses this gesture in an attempt to indicate Adam and Eve’s refusal to see God, and to critique their paradoxical acquisition of a newly darkened mode of sight out of their capacity to see more widely. The gesture ultimately implicates the reader as well, and Saltzman shows how the Junius illustrator draws the viewer of the manuscript performatively into an experience of their own shame and sorrow as a fallen human, looking at the naked bodies on the page and only realizing too late that they should have covered their own eyes. In the final essay of this first section, Stacy Klein brings the insights of posthumanist theory to bear on Old English wisdom poetry, particularly The Fortunes of Men. Klein traces the way that birds function in the poem as a way of exploring the difference between humanity and divinity, a difference upon which the subjection of humankind to God is based. Although most scholars of wisdom literature have concentrated on its role in socialization, Klein is among the first to explore the role of animals in fulfilling that didactic purpose. As she notes, birds occupy a space above that of the human, soaring in a flight that puts them close to the divine, and are thus particularly well-suited to explore the limitations and characteristics of humanity. By closely examining the vignettes that involve birds, and that culminate in a description of a young man who falls to his death from a tree while trying to fly, Klein argues that the poem uses the technique of analogy as part of its sensitive and meaningful project of encyclopedic ordering. The essays in Part One build upon and extend Katherine’s scholarly models in several ways. Each demonstrates a careful and detailed attention to the reading practices of medieval audiences, building an interpretive framework from the minute features of glossing, word choice, and visual detail. They highlight the central role of education, both in the schoolroom and through instruction in the faith, to the formation of English-speaking Christian subjects. And they emphasize the extent to which didactic texts draw on elements beyond the lexical to simultaneously convey their meaning and transform their readers.

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1 Jacqueline Fay, Rebecca Stephenson, and Renée R. Trilling Part Two: Sovereignty, Power, and English Textual Identities

Just as Katherine detailed how the monastic reader of Ælfric’s Colloquy finds a measure of agency while retaining monastic obedience, Part Two considers how law codes, histories, and even critical editions constitute and establish subjectivity and its relationship to sovereignty, crafting a space for individual agency within a carefully constructed form of obedience. In the first of these essays, Emily Thornbury considers the power of the king in encoding laws, focusing on the idea that the authority of law was conferred by the community, in the person of the ruler, by the statement that the law was pleasing to them, a theory of law adumbrated across a wide range of late antique and early medieval law codes. Tracing the use of Old English lician and its predecessor, Latin placere, across the legal corpus, she argues for the quality of pleasingness as something inherent in the law itself; the legal language of lician or placere implicitly ratifies the existence of that quality in the eyes of the community. Alfred’s preface makes this theory explicit; having selected critically from among the laws of his predecessors, he states clearly that the pleasingness of the chosen legislation functions as its justification, and that it pleased both him and his counselors to accept it. Thornbury finds a parallel for this theory in the moral philosophy of Hannah Arendt, who states that the same mechanism, the sensus communis, enables both moral and aesthetic judgment. The ability to form shared judgments among disparate individuals is thus the basis for communal society. The sensus communis informs both Arendt’s notion of a society of free individuals and Alfred’s belief that a ruler can align his judgment with his subjects’ and therefore serve as a fit vehicle for communal judgments of both taste and mores. This wording thus creates an allegedly free English subject at the same time that it codifies and affirms the king’s power. In Jacob Hobson’s essay, the focus turns from theoretical considerations of legal codes to a case study of how these ideas function in the disputes and reconciliations of Edward the Confessor and his most powerful nobleman and father-in-law, Earl Godwin. The complicated relationship between king and nobleman is exacerbated by what counted as Englishness at the time. The king was raised in France and, after claiming his crown in England, was still supported by French-speaking Norman noblemen at odds with Earl Godwin, whose identity and connections were more clearly English than the king’s. In particular, Hobson examines the events of the year 1051 when Godwin returned from exile. Although he came back without the blessing of the king, an act that expressed his personal agency and power, he performed submission to the king and thus publicly affirmed his obedience. At the same time the English earl evicted some ethnically Norman power-brokers who previously supported and were supported by the king, such as Robert of Jumièges, the archbishop of Canterbury. The story of Godwin’s exile and return



Introduction 1

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brings into stark relief many questions of Englishness at play in the years just before the Norman Conquest. As Hobson explains, ‘[u]ltimately, this political crisis was resolved not by any individual’s stake in Englishness, but rather by identifying an underlying Englishness that united them all.’ Equally, Godwin’s actions show the limits of royal power during this period, particularly when faced with a well-connected earl who was able to enact his own desires while maintaining a public posture of submission to the crown. The final essay in this section moves to the rediscovery of early English manuscripts during the Early Modern period, and examines not the power of the crown, but that of the Anglican church. In this essay, Timothy Graham examines the work of Abraham Wheelock, who was the first to compile a bilingual edition of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, a monumental work that set the shape of all scholarship to follow. Wheelock’s views of what was central to early English society were grounded in his own obedience to the Anglican church, in which he was an ordained priest. In early medieval English literature, he sought the foundations for the Anglican church, which he insinuated was a native English phenomenon of long standing. The footnotes to this volume are particularly telling, since they quote a wide range of Old English sources that highlight issues dealt with in the Thirty-Nine Articles, including original sin, the relationship between faith and works, and the singular position of biblical scriptures. At the same time, Wheelock employed quotations to reject certain ideas found in Bede, like purgatory and the emphasis on saints and relics. In order to dispute what were in his view erroneous beliefs, Wheelock marshalled quotations from Ælfric to show that Bede’s was not the only point of view in the early medieval church but that other authors wrote about penance without conceptualizing purgatory and placed Christ as the singular intercessor rather than the saints. He also used Ælfric’s homilies to affirm that Peter has no superior role among the apostles and thus the pope has no authority over the English monarch, who is Supreme Governor over the Church of England. The way in which Wheelock edited Bede, then, was profoundly impacted by his own devotion to the Anglican church and his desire to find its origins or reflection in this early medieval material. In turn, Wheelock’s concerns continued a trajectory for the study of Old English language and literature that sometimes leaves its trace in scholarship today. By studying and acknowledging Wheelock’s obedience to the Church of England and how that might affect his own scholarly interests, modern scholars can begin to establish a new narrative about the early stages of the study of Old English literature and the history of publishing Bede, in particular. Following Katherine’s lead in asking new questions of old texts and thereby bringing Old English texts into conversations that are relevant to broader current discussions in the humanities, the essays of Part Two interrogate different relationships between subject and sovereign, whether royal or ecclesiastical. While each essay has a particular focus (Alfred’s

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laws, Godwin’s exile, and Wheelock’s edition of Bede), the authors use these different lenses toward the same purpose of locating the place where an individual subject finds their own agency, often coded as subservience, in relation to the sovereignty of the king and church. Notions of agency and obedience are in all three cases underlined by an evolving sense of Englishness: King Alfred adapted existing legal language to create an English sensus communis; King Edward created an expansive idea of Englishness capacious enough to include his Norman kin; and Wheelock interpreted the works of early medieval authors to develop a rationale for church authority in the Anglican church. In drawing such keen insights, these essays continue Katherine’s legacy of not settling for easy answers and seeing the complexity within apparently simple items.

Part Three: Acts of Public Record in Making and Sustaining Communities The final section of the volume concentrates on the way that, in three different contexts, communities are upheld by a form of public performance, whether that be oral or written in nature. The first of these essays, by Scott Thompson Smith, focuses on the interpolations made in around twenty annals of the Peterborough Chronicle when it was first compiled in 1121. Working from a version of the Northern Recension, the first scribe of the Peterborough Chronicle also included portions of Latin charters in translation, some of which were twelfth-century forgeries, which had been collected into an archive supporting Peterborough’s ancient status and established privileges. Smith focuses on the lengthy annal entries for 656 and 963, demonstrating how the translator changed the structure and diction of the Latin sources while not attempting to conceal that they were being used as sources. ‘[T]he work of interpolation is not seamless but rather strategically obtrusive’, Smith argues, where ‘new content memorializes key historical documents and events from the past through the process of narrativization.’ He concludes that, rather than viewing the Peterborough Chronicle predominantly in the context of and in relation to other Chronicle manuscripts, as is usually the case in scholarship, it is more fittingly read as part of an orchestrated textual performance that upholds a community’s history and rights through the deliberative creation and referencing of a local archive. The second essay in this section considers the role of public speech acts within the baptismal ritual in early medieval England. Miranda Wilcox argues that the eleventh-century Vita S. Rumwoldi foregrounds the question of agency in conversion and the function of speech and ritual within this process. The infant saint Rumwold, able to speak and profess his faith immediately after his birth, nevertheless must go through the ritual of baptism in order to become a Christian. Unlike most Christian babies,



Introduction 1

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however, Rumwold is able to request the rite and utter his own vows, which prompts Wilcox to a consideration of the nature of the agency exercised by other infants baptized shortly after birth at this time. Wilcox examines the theological and legal structure of the proxy system by which an adult in fact voiced the commitment of a baby to the Christian faith. Such distributed action within the context of an established ritual, Wilcox argues, represents a good example of agent action, while Rumwold’s preaching and exhortations of his family to profess their faith in innovative combinations of prayers and statements provides an example of agency. She concludes that the Vita S. Rumwoldi is typical of many medieval texts in not presenting religious faith as a private act of commitment to well-established cognitive principles but instead treating it as a network involving individual and collective demonstrations of faith. The final essay in this section, by Jonathan Davis-Secord, focuses on the display of female virgin bodies in the lives of Agatha, Agnes, Lucy, Eugenia, and Æthelthryth. Davis-Secord shows how the observation of bodies – the mutilation of criminals, or the behavior of monks, or the violation of virgin martyrs – upholds relations of power in both civic and religious organizations in early medieval England. In other words, to observe a body was to exert power over it. Looking at women, however, can also be deeply sinful, especially since early medieval theories of sight posited material rays that were emitted by the viewer and physically impressed with the shape of that being looked at. In each of his versions of these saints’ lives, Davis-Secord argues, Ælfric heightens the display of the bodies of female saints while eliminating the most overtly sexual content of the original texts in order to use these bodies as public spectacles upholding the formation of male-dominated Christian communities, in a way analogous to relics. Even within narratives that celebrate women’s forceful agency in defense of their commitment to God, then, the visual spectacle of the female body undercuts those claims to agency. The essays of Part Three continue Katherine’s sustained interest in parsing the iterative acts that serve to build and maintain communities, whether those communities be individual monastic houses, monastic identity in general, or the entire community of English believers. These essays also foreground the porous and productive overlap between writing and speech during this period. Written texts, such as those in the Peterborough archive, function to perform the historical and legal identity of that house by citing each other, thus strengthening the ethos of the overall claim to antiquity and legitimacy. Baptismal vows, on the other hand, must be voiced, although their standard form is recorded in texts and their theological import, in the particular case of infant baptism, is explored in a hagiographical context where the genre norms allow for bending of what would be the usual situation. And bodies, in this case of female saints, are mute spectacles that uphold relations of power and a sense of community within those looking. The essays in this section respond to a wide range of Katherine’s scholarship, including

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her sustained attention to literacy, the body, law, and agency, along with her editorial work on the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. o If the work collected here is any indication (and we believe it is), Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe’s influence on the profession has extended far beyond any of the specific texts that she herself has studied. Her work ushered in new ways of thinking about early medieval England and its cultural productions, and the methodologies she has pioneered and the mentorship she has offered ultimately transformed generations of scholarship. As her former students, we can speak first-hand about her rigorous and innovative instruction and her principled, dedicated, and – above all – kind mentoring, which has shaped our lives and careers in more ways than we can list. When we face challenges, personal or professional, we ask each other for advice in a very specific framing: what do you think Katherine would suggest in this situation? We try to determine what seems most authentic to the principles she exemplifies and by which she guided us, and then we go with that. Katherine is the scholar, the teacher, the administrator, the person we strive to emulate. In her research, her teaching, and her collegiality, Katherine sets the highest possible standard, modeling an ethical and rigorous sense of responsibility (tempered with a good dose of humor) and, quite simply, embodying the best that humanities scholarship has to offer. This collection is an attempt to honor that legacy.

PART ONE AFFECT AND EMBODIED COGNITION IN MEDIEVAL DIDACTIC TEXTS

1 Prudentius’s Apotheosis and Hamartigenia in Early Medieval England Leslie Lockett

I

n the century before the Norman Conquest, English monks imbibed the core virtues of the Benedictine identity – obedience, silence, and humility – not solely from Benedict’s Rule. As Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe deftly shows, literary works used for instruction in Latin grammar, style, and prosody also invited students to contemplate their identity as Benedictine monks, to learn about the psychology of obedience, and to understand how the individual’s free will might rightly be deployed within a community that exalted the practice of obedience. O’Brien O’Keeffe devotes special attention to three works that students encountered at an elementary phase of their education: Ælfric’s Colloquy, the Disticha Catonis, and Prosper’s Epigrammata.1 Prosper, in particular, treats the causes and psychological mechanisms behind human desires, both upright and perverse; for a monastic readership, his commentary on human desires and free will in general contextualized and corroborated what Benedict’s Rule taught about desire and free will within the constraints of the cenobitic life. O’Brien O’Keeffe’s chapter on the moral dimension of the Latin curriculum suggests a direction for further study of what the other texts of the Latin curriculum taught early medieval students about the nature of the soul and the psychological mechanisms underlying obedience, self-control, concupiscence, and sin. For instance, where the Consiliarius of Ælfric’s Colloquy admonishes young pupils, ‘Be what you are, because it is a wrong and a shame for a man to want not to be what he is’,2 this is but a foretaste of what Boethius’s De consolatione philosophiae would impart to pupils at a more advanced level of the literary curriculum: the root of every misery and misdirected appetite is the human soul’s forgetfulness of its own nature and of the divine reason that governs the cosmos.3

1

2 3

Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, Stealing Obedience: Narratives of Agency and Identity in Later Anglo-Saxon England (Toronto, 2012), pp. 94–150. O’Brien O’Keeffe, Stealing Obedience, p. 94. Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae 1p6, 1m7, 3m11 and 3p12, ed. Claudio Moreschini, De consolatione philosophiae, Opuscula theologica, 2nd edn (Munich, 2005), pp. 23–26 and 91–96.

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In this essay, I extend this method of inquiry to two long Latin poems that have been largely neglected by intellectual histories of tenth- and eleventh-century England, namely Apotheosis (The Divinity of Christ) and Hamartigenia (The Origin of Sin), composed by Prudentius early in the fifth century CE.4 These poems take a stance on questions that Old English and Anglo-Latin authors revisited frequently, such as the nature of the soul and the condition of the individual at the Last Judgment; they also impart ideas pertinent to monastic discourses on free will, as Prudentius dwells on the involvement of body, soul, and demonic influences in the psychological mechanisms of free choice and sin. Scholars have not yet recognized that Apotheosis and Hamartigenia found an avid and engaged readership in England from the early tenth century through the Conquest, but such engagement is attested by surviving manuscript evidence that is comparable to that of the Disticha Catonis and Prosper’s Epigrammata.5 In the pages that follow, I set out this manuscript evidence and briefly discuss two directions for further studies integrating the reception of Prudentius’s doctrinal poems into the intellectual and literary history of pre-Conquest England.

Prudentius’s doctrinal poems Aurelius Prudentius Clemens, a Latin poet working in Spain at the turn of the fifth century, was best known to medieval readers for his Psychomachia, which narrates a series of bloody hand-to-hand battles between the Virtues and the Vices, personified as female warriors. The Psychomachia was one of the most popular literary works available in England prior to the Norman Conquest, as shown by the eleven surviving copies that were written or owned in England between c.900 and c.1050, and by the numerous Old English and Anglo-Latin works that borrow its distinctive diction and images.6 All nine of Prudentius’s works often traveled 4

5

6

The standard critical edition of the works of Prudentius is Maurice P. Cunningham (ed.), Aurelii Prudentii Clementis carmina, CCSL 126 (Turnhout, 1966). In this paper, quotations of Apotheosis and Hamartigenia follow Cunningham’s edition, and translations of these poems are my own. For complete English translations, see H. J. Thomson (ed. and trans.), Prudentius (2 vols, Cambridge, MA, 1949–1953); and Martha A. Malamud (trans. and comm.), The Origin of Sin: An English Translation of the Hamartigenia (Ithaca, NY, 2012). O’Brien O’Keeffe, Stealing Obedience, p. 125, lists five surviving manuscripts of the Disticha Catonis produced or used in early medieval England (though two of these are post-Conquest copies) and four of Prosper’s Epigrammata (one of which is fragmentary); for complete data, see Helmut Gneuss and Michael Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A Bibliographical Handlist of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England Up to 1100 (Toronto, 2015). Gernot R. Wieland, ‘The Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts of Prudentius’s Psychomachia’, Anglo-Saxon England, 16 (1987), 213–231, describes ten of these



Prudentius’s Apotheosis and Hamartigenia 1

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together in early medieval manuscripts, prefaced by a brief biography of the author, excerpted from Gennadius of Marseilles’s continuation of Jerome’s De uiris illustribus.7 Many readers of Psychomachia thus had ready access to his lesser-known doctrinal poems, Apotheosis and Hamartigenia, in the very same codices. Scholars have paid little attention to the pre-Conquest reception of these doctrinal poems, perhaps because both poems foreground Prudentius’s polemicizing against heresies that had ceased to threaten the Western church long before England was Christianized. Nonetheless, both poems offered medieval readers far more than obsolete refutations of ancient heresies. Apotheosis begins with two prefatory poems: twelve hexameters on the nature of the relationship among the persons of the Trinity, followed by fifty-six lines of alternating iambic trimeters and dimeters, in which Prudentius complains about the destructive potential of heretical sects in general terms. In most manuscripts, the main body of the poem, in 1084 hexameters, is subdivided by section headings8 that emphasize Prudentius’s battles against Sabellians and other Monarchianists, Jews and the Judaizing Ebionites, and Docetists.9 Two sections of the poem, rather than refuting named heretics, treat subjects that roused keen interest among early medieval English poets and homilists. In lines 782–951, subtitled ‘De natura animae’ (On the nature of the soul), Prudentius rejects claims that the soul participates in the Creator’s divinity, and in the course of this argument, he sets out numerous opinions about the nature of the soul and its relationship to the body. And in lines 1062–1084, ‘De resurrectione carnis humanae’ (On the resurrection of human flesh), he anticipates the restoration of the body’s wholeness at the Last Judgment. Hamartigenia likewise presents itself chiefly as a polemic against the dualism of Marcion (and, by implication, of the Manichees), but incorpo-

7 8

9

codices; he omits Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 8085, in which the work of English scribes has only recently been recognized (see below). Among the many studies of the literary influence of Psychomachia in early medieval England, see John P. Hermann, Allegories of War: Language and Violence in Old English Poetry (Ann Arbor, MI, 1989); and Andy Orchard, ‘Conspicuous Heroism: Abraham, Prudentius, and the Old English Verse Genesis’, in Leo Carruthers (ed.), Heroes and Heroines in Medieval English Literature (Woodbridge, 1994), pp. 45–58. The Gennadius excerpt is printed by Cunningham, CCSL 126, p. xv. The first six section headings go back to the oldest surviving manuscript of Prudentius’s works, the sixth-century Puteanus codex (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 8084); see Cunningham, CCSL 126, p. xxiv. See further Claudia Fabian, Dogma und Dichtung: Untersuchungen zu Prudentius’ Apotheosis (Frankfurt am Main, 1988); and Mònica Miró Vinaixa, ‘Paganos y herejes en la obra de Aurelio Prudencio. Estado de la cuestión’, in Ramón Teja and Cesáreo Pérez González (eds), Congreso Internacional: La Hispania de Teodosio (2 vols, Salamanca, 1997), vol. 1, pp. 179–192; and on the heresies themselves, F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone (eds), The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 3rd rev. edn (Oxford, 2005; published online 2009), s.v. ‘Monarchianism’, ‘Ebionites’, and ‘Docetism’.

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rates doctrines on the nature and behavior of soul and body into its arguments.10 Its preface in sixty-three iambic trimeters catalectic retells Cain’s slaying of Abel and makes Cain a prefiguration of the heretic Marcion, who taught that the legalistic God of the Hebrew Bible and the loving Christ of the New Testament were two different deities. The main body of Hamartigenia consists of 962 hexameters, and in the first five hundred lines, Prudentius refutes dualist heresies by clarifying the relationship between Father and Son, recounting the fall of the angels, and explaining that although the fall of humankind resulted in the corruption of the natural world, the entire creation of the one God remains essentially good. In the second half of Hamartigenia, Prudentius explores the respective roles of soul, body, and demonic influence in occasions of sin; the strength of human free will, and God’s permission that creatures with free will commit evil deeds; God’s preparation of a place of punishment for sinful souls, contrasted with the ability of souls to rise naturally up to heaven if they are not mired in earthly desires; and the soul’s capacity, during earthly life, to see with a vision that far exceeds that of the bodily eyes, and during the afterlife, to see across the abyss dividing heaven from hell. Although Apotheosis and Hamartigenia did not circulate as widely as the Psychomachia, manuscript evidence suggests a fairly robust English readership for these doctrinal poems in the tenth and early eleventh centuries. Both poems appear in full in four manuscripts that were produced or used in England during this period. In three of these codices, multiple layers of paratextual additions, including both glosses and musical notation, attest to the study of these two poems over the span of multiple decades. Additionally, one glossary emanating from eleventh-century Canterbury preserves a batch of glosses based on Apotheosis and Hamartigenia, and two English manuscripts transmit an excerpt from the conclusion of the Hamartigenia (lines 931–966), which circulated as a stand-alone prayer. A thorough description of these manuscript materials will provide a foundation upon which we can build an understanding of why and how readers studied these poems in pre-Conquest England.

Pre-Conquest manuscripts of Apotheosis and Hamartigenia Four surviving manuscripts of Apotheosis and Hamartigenia were created or used in England between the early tenth and mid-eleventh centuries. Manuscript annotations that I mention briefly here will be discussed more fully below. 10

See further Malamud, The Origin of Sin, pp. 76–79; Catherine Conybeare, ‘Sanctum, lector, percense volumen: Snakes, Readers, and the Whole Text in Prudentius’s Hamartigenia’, in William E. Klingshirn and Linda Safran (eds), The Early Christian Book (Washington, DC, 2012), pp. 225–240; and Miró Vinaixa, ‘Paganos y herejes’.



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Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, 223 originated at the abbey of Saint-Vaast in Arras in the third quarter of the ninth century; later additions imply that it resided at Saint-Bertin in the late ninth century and arrived in England in the first half of the tenth century.11 The main contents of the manuscript are the complete works of Prudentius, preceded by Gennadius’s short biography of the author.12 Apotheosis and Hamartigenia appear in a single-column format on pp. 56–90 and 90–120, respectively. Glosses are sparsely distributed throughout much of the manuscript but are applied more densely to two passages in Apotheosis: the second prefatory poem and the second half of ‘De natura animae’ (872–951). Musical notation is applied to Apotheosis 782–842, which also falls within the ‘De natura animae’ section. Durham, Cathedral Library, B.IV.9 was copied in England in the second or third quarter of the tenth century, and its Durham provenance is attested from the early twelfth century.13 The manuscript transmits Gennadius’s biography of Prudentius and the complete series of Prudentius’s poems, most of which are supplemented by moderate to heavy glossing. The final leaf of the manuscript contains an excerpt from the series of poems by the fourth-century panegyricist Optatianus Porphyrius.14 Apotheosis and Hamartigenia were copied in a single column, the former on 27v–44v and the latter on 44v–59v. Less than half of Apotheosis is densely annotated (lines 1–434 and 1062–1084), while Hamartigenia is glossed heavily throughout. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. F.3.6, produced in England in the early eleventh century, transmits the biographical excerpt by Gennadius and all of Prudentius’s poems except Peristephanon 1–9 and 11–14.15 Latin glosses appear throughout the codex, and among the fifty-one Old English glosses, also written in the early eleventh century, three pertain

11

12

13

14

15

Gneuss and Lapidge, Handlist, no. 70; Bernhard Bischoff, Katalog der festländischen Handschriften des neunten Jahrhunderts. Teil I: Aachen-Lambach (Wiesbaden, 1998), no. 816; see also N. R. Ker, Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing AngloSaxon (Oxford, 1957; reprinted with supplement, 1990), no. 52. For further details, see Gernot Wieland, ‘The Prudentius Manuscript CCCC 223’, Manuscripta, 38 (1997), 211–227. Digital images of the entire codex can be consulted online at https://parker.stanford.edu/parker/catalog/th953kw1763. Richard Gameson, The Medieval Manuscripts of Durham Cathedral: A Descriptive Catalogue (in progress), dates the manuscript to the third quarter of the tenth century. I am grateful to Professor Gameson for allowing me to consult his description of B.IV.9 in advance of the publication of his catalogue. Gneuss and Lapidge (Handlist, no. 246) and Ker (Catalogue, no. 108) date the manuscript to ‘s. x med’. Digital images of the entire codex can be consulted online at https:// www.durhampriory.ac.uk/list-of-digitised-durham-priory-library-books/. David R. Carlson, ‘Un autre témoin anglo-saxon de P. Optatianus Porphyrius’, Scriptorium, 71 (2017), 115–120. Gneuss and Lapidge, Handlist, no. 537; Ker, Catalogue, no. 296. As of this writing, digital images are not yet available for the full codex, but selections may be viewed at https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/ objects/9c3a92b5-4a6d-4784-b44d-8490d0c733d6/.

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to Hamartigenia.16 Apotheosis is copied on 20r–43v, and Hamartigenia on 43v–65r, both densely annotated. Musical notation has been added in the margin adjacent to Apotheosis 807–809 (part of ‘De natura animae’). Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 8085, fols 2–82 originated in France, perhaps at Reims or in the Loire region, in the mid-ninth century;17 it contains the biographical extract from Gennadius and a truncated copy of the full series of Prudentius’s poems, supplemented by lavish multi-colored ink illustrations of the Psychomachia.18 Only recently has a possible English provenance been proposed for this book: Richard Gameson observes that some of the tituli within the Psychomachia are, on paleographical grounds, attributable to an English scribe, though he acknowledges that it is unknown whether the book came to the scribe, or the scribe to the book.19 Apotheosis appears on 40ra–48ra, and Hamartigenia at 48ra–55rb. Aside from one metrical note, neither contains glosses or other signs of sustained engagement by later readers, so for our purposes, this codex attests only to the potential availability of another copy of the poems to English readers.

Manuscripts of the ‘Oratio Prudentii’ (Hamartigenia 931–966) In three of the ninth-century Prudentius manuscripts collated by Johan Bergman, as well as the aforementioned CCCC 223 and Durham B.IV.9, the section title ‘Oratio’ or ‘Oratio poetae’ appears in the margin next to Hamartigenia 931, declaring that the final thirty-six lines of the poem were understood as a concluding prayer in Prudentius’s voice.20 This section of Hamartigenia also circulated separately from the works of Prudentius, as a free-standing hymn or poem. My search for witnesses of the ‘Oratio’ in isolation from the rest of the Hamartigenia, though not exhaustive, has turned up five manuscripts, two of which are attributable to early or mid-eleventh-century England.21 16

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Herbert Dean Meritt, Old English Glosses: A Collection (New York, 1945), pp. 211–212. The glosses on 51r, 60v, and 64r belong to Hamartigenia. Gneuss and Lapidge, Handlist, no. 889.5; on the affiliation of this codex with the school of Reims, see Helen Woodruff, ‘The Illustrated Manuscripts of Prudentius’, Art Studies: Medieval, Renaissance and Modern, 7 (1929), 33–79, esp. 59–61. Portions of Peristephanon and the end of Contra Symmachum book 2, Dittochaeon, and Epilogus are absent. Digitized images of the complete codex are available at https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b6000032n.r=8085?rk=21459;2. Richard Gameson, ‘The Circulation of Books between England and the Continent, c. 871-c. 1100’, in Richard Gameson (ed.), The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, Volume I: c. 400-1100 (Cambridge, 2012), pp. 344–372, at p. 345. Johan Bergman (ed.), Aurelii Prudentii Clementis carmina, CSEL 61 (Vienna and Leipzig, 1926), p. 162. The continental copies of the ‘Oratio Prudentii’ are Paris, Bibliothèque



Prudentius’s Apotheosis and Hamartigenia 1

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Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, 144/194 transmits portions of the Remigian commentaries on Caelius Sedulius’s Carmen paschale and on the Disticha Catonis (fols 1–78), copied in the first half of the tenth century, possibly but not certainly in England, and by the mid-eleventh century it had arrived in England.22 Eleventh-century additions on fols 79–86 consist of a series of excerpts from diverse poems, among which lines 931–966 of Hamartigenia appear on 79v under the title ‘Oratio Prudentii’.23 Cambridge, University Library, Gg.5.35, a codex of inestimable value for our understanding of how pre-Conquest English scholars learned Latin poetry, was produced in the mid-eleventh century at St Augustine’s, Canterbury.24 ‘Oratio Prudentii’ appears on 365v–366r without a title; it is demarcated from adjacent poems only by litterae notabiliores. Where most witnesses read cunctiparens in line 1, this manuscript reads cunctipotens.25 Michael Lapidge observes that the glosses on Sedulius’s Carmen paschale in Gg.5.35 may have been copied directly from the Remigian commentary in Gonville and Caius College 144/194, ‘a manuscript which was

22

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Mazarine 512 (805), fol. 42v, a ninth-century anthology of prayers produced at Noyon (see Carl P. E. Springer, The Manuscripts of Sedulius: A Provisional Handlist [Philadelphia, 1995], p. 168); Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 4841, a tenth-century miscellany which positions the ‘Oratio Prudentii’ among texts for instruction in Latin language and poetry (see Ernst Dümmler, ‘Die handschriftliche Ueberlieferung der lateinischen Dichtungen aus der Zeit der Karolinger’, Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft für ältere deutsche Geschichtskunde, 4 [1879], 87–160, at 149–151); and Augsburg, Universitätsbibliothek, Cod. II.1. 2° 38, a monastic miscellany copied in Donauwörth in 1474–1476 (see Günter Hägele, Lateinische mittelalterliche Handschriften in Folio der Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg. Die Signaturengruppe Cod. I.2. 2° und Cod. II.1. 2° 1-90 [Wiesbaden, 1996], pp. 189–203). Gneuss and Lapidge, Handlist, no. 120e; Michael Lapidge, ‘The Study of Latin Texts in Late Anglo-Saxon England’, in idem, Anglo-Latin Literature 600-899 (London, 1996), pp. 455–498 and 516, at pp. 464–465 and 481–482; and cf. Helen McKee, ‘The Circulation of Books between England and the Celtic Realms’, in R. Gameson (ed.), The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, pp. 338–343, at p. 340, on the possibility of this book’s Celtic origin. See Gneuss and Lapidge, Handlist, no. 120e, for the other excerpted contents in this section. Hearty thanks are due to Dr Colleen Curran, who generously shared with me her photographs of the eleventh-century additions. Gneuss and Lapidge, Handlist, no. 12; Ker, Catalogue, no. 16. Digitised images of the entire manuscript may be consulted at https://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/view/ MS-GG-00005-00035/1. The contents of Gg.5.35 and the stages of its production by multiple scribes are painstakingly described by A. G. Rigg and G[ernot] R. Wieland, ‘A Canterbury Classbook of the Mid-Eleventh Century (the “Cambridge Songs” Manuscript)’, Anglo-Saxon England, 4 (1975), 113–130. Rigg and Wieland wrongly identify this poem as a previously unpublished hymn and not as an excerpt from Hamartigenia (‘Canterbury Classbook’, p. 124). Entries for ‘O Dee cunctipotens’ in two major repertories of Latin verse likewise fail to recognize Prudentius’s authorship: Dieter Schaller and Ewald Könsgen, Initia carminum latinorum saeculo undecimo antiquiorum (Göttingen, 1977), no. 10856; and Ulysse Chevalier, Repertorium hymnologicum (6 vols, Louvain, 1897), vol. 2, no. 12883.

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at St Augustine’s by the time CUL Gg.5.35 was written there (c. 1050).’26 However, we can rule out any possibility that Gonville and Caius College 144/194 also served as the exemplar for the ‘Oratio Prudentii’ in Gg.5.35, because the Gonville and Caius text of the poem transmits erroneous readings – most of them unique among early medieval copies – at a surprisingly high rate, and very few of these are shared with Gg.5.35.

Annotations to Apotheosis and Hamartigenia The glosses and other paratexts that medieval scribes applied to literary and theological works provide some of the clearest indices of what medieval reading communities strove to learn from those works. This holds true even when a batch of glosses has been copied verbatim and in full along with the main text, because the material resources and labor required to reproduce those glosses were not negligible and were not expended without intentionality. But I would argue that glosses serve as even more potent indices of reader engagement when they were copied not as part of a package with the main text, but rather applied in layers by multiple users who inherited the book over the decades and were prompted by various motives to add new paratexts. All three of the copies of Apotheosis and Hamartigenia that received glosses in tenth- and eleventh-century England were augmented in this manner, with multiple scribes supplying paratexts at different stages, drawn from multiple sources, and serving multiple purposes. In CCCC 223, Apotheosis is unevenly glossed: the poem occupies pp. 56–90, but glosses are concentrated on two sections. Multiple hands, some postdating the book’s arrival in England, added glosses to pp. 56–59, which contains the twelve-line ‘Hymnus de Trinitate’, the 56-line prefatory poem, and the first thirty-three lines concerning the Monarchianist heresy. A tenth-century Caroline hand, also postdating the book’s arrival in England, glossed lines 872–951 on pp. 84–86; these lines constitute the conclusion of the section subtitled ‘De natura animae’.27 Signs of reader engagement with the poem are sparse throughout the rest of Apotheosis and all of Hamartigenia, but it is nonetheless possible to discern that they were contributed by several different hands.28

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Lapidge, ‘The Study of Latin Texts’, p. 482. Wieland, ‘The Prudentius Manuscript CCCC 223’, p. 215, does not attribute the glosses on pp. 84–86 to any one of the several glossing hands that he identifies, but it appears to me that this section was glossed by Wieland’s ‘Hand d’. See, for example, p. 94, where one hand has applied a note in the left margin, and a separate hand has added a gloss in the right margin as well as construal marks on lines 70–71 of the poem; neither of these is identical to the main hand, and neither is identical to the hand that applied notes about the meter of Hamartigenia’s prefatory section on p. 90.



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In Durham B.IV.9, Apotheosis 1–434 is subject to multiple layers of annotation: some additions in Square and Caroline scripts are roughly contemporary with the scribe who copied the main text in the second or third quarter of the tenth century, but other additions belong to the twelfth century. A long section of Apotheosis (435–1061) was largely neglected by glossators, and the closing section (1062–1084) received glosses only in a twelfth-century hand.29 Hamartigenia, in contrast, is heavily glossed throughout: a few annotations were applied in the twelfth century, but most belong to a group of at least three tenth-century practitioners, one of whom may have been the main scribe.30 Both Apotheosis and Hamartigenia have been thoroughly annotated in Oxford Auct. F.3.6. Many of the interlinear glosses are executed in a Caroline minuscule very similar to that of the main scribe, who worked in the early eleventh century, but this hand appears in stints alternating with another Caroline hand that appears more old-fashioned, due to its negligible upper chamber on a and its more angular aspect typical of Square minuscule. Some marginal annotations appear to represent a later layer of work in a Caroline minuscule of the mid-eleventh century.31 The point of rehearsing these details is to underscore that in each of these three codices, glosses and annotations were applied not merely for the sake of preserving the entire package of material found in the exemplar, but rather they were applied thoughtfully, as needed to address the interests of multiple users over the span of decades. This impression is reinforced by comparing the content of the glosses. Across the three manuscripts, glossators chose to engage with different passages of Apotheosis and Hamartigenia, and to treat different lemmata within those passages. Moreover, some batches of glosses in these manuscripts are affiliated with the strands of Prudentius commentary that had circulated on the continent 29

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On the diversity of glossing hands, see R. Gameson, The Medieval Manuscripts of Durham Cathedral. For example, on 44v, the hand that added ‘Metrum iambicum trimetrum catalectum’ in the left margin appears to be that of the main scribe; the hand that added ‘Metrum iambicum senarium’ and the longer note beginning ‘Queri potest quare respexit’, both in the left margin, practiced a script that is largely a Square minuscule but with Caroline forms of f and s. Interlinear glosses as well as the long notes in the right and lower margins are all in Caroline minuscule but may belong to more than one hand. At least one of the Caroline hands worked before or alongside the mixed Square and Caroline hand, as attested by the lengthy note in the right margin of 45r: a Caroline hand leaves off in the middle of a line, and the mixed Square and Caroline hand completes some two dozen further lines. The Digital Bodleian website (see n. 15 above) currently offers only a few images of Auct. F.3.6. For illustrations of the glossing hands, see fol. 23v, which bears the work of the glossator whose hand is most like that of the main scribe, and 37v, where the majority of glosses were applied by the more old-fashioned hand. The annotation beginning ‘Quando dixit fociamus’ in the middle of the left margin of 37v appears to have been added some decades after the work of the other two glossators.

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for some decades already, while others appear to have been more recently formulated, possibly by English scribes catering to English readers. Scholars have identified two distinct strands of early medieval commentary and glosses that were applied to the full oeuvre of Prudentius: the Weitz glosses, associated with German-speaking regions, and the Valenciennes glosses (called the ‘B’ family of glosses in earlier scholarship), which developed in northern France.32 Among the three English glossed manuscripts considered here, only Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. F.3.6 is included in Sinéad O’Sullivan’s list of Valenciennes manuscripts, yet she agrees with Silvestre’s earlier assertion that the Valenciennes glosses ‘originate in Northern France, whence they generate a whole tradition of commentary in Anglo-Saxon England in the tenth and eleventh centuries’.33 The multi-layered, ad-hoc nature of the English annotations to Prudentius’s doctrinal poems is corroborated by the absence of clear patterns of affiliation among the glosses found in six passages that I have selected from across the two poems in the CCCC, Durham, and Oxford manuscripts. (1) The twelve-line ‘Hymnus de Trinitate’ that opens Apotheosis is glossed amply in all three manuscripts, overlapping occasionally with the Valenciennes (B I and B II) or Weitz glosses. There is no pattern of affiliation: some glosses are shared among all three manuscripts; some are shared between CCCC and Durham, some between Durham and Oxford, and some between CCCC and Oxford; and each manuscript preserves glosses not shared with the other two. (2) The 56-line ‘Praefatio’ of Apotheosis is glossed amply in all three manuscripts, overlapping infrequently with the Valenciennes glosses until line 41, at which point there is a flurry of glosses shared with B I and Weitz. There is no pattern of affiliation: many glosses are shared among all three manuscripts; frequently CCCC matches Durham alone or Oxford alone, but Durham and Oxford agree against CCCC only rarely. CCCC and Oxford each contain numerous glosses unmatched by the other manuscripts. (3) The second half of ‘De natura animae’ (Apotheosis 872–951) is abundantly glossed in the CCCC and Oxford codices. Matches with B I and B II are more frequent in Oxford than in CCCC; matches with the Weitz

32

33

Hubert Silvestre, ‘Aperçu sur les Commentaires carolingiens de Prudence’, Sacris erudiri, 9 (1957), 50–74, esp. 52–59; Sinéad O’Sullivan, Early Medieval Glosses on Prudentius’ Psychomachia: the Weitz Tradition (Leiden, 2004), pp. xv–xvii and 22–32. The Weitz glosses are printed in Iohannes Weitz (ed.), Aurelii Prudentii Clementis V. C. opera (Hanoviæ, 1613), pp. 771–905; two groups of Valenciennes glosses are edited by John M. Burnam: the B I glosses in his Glossemata de Prudentio Edited from the Paris and Vatican Manuscripts, University Studies 2nd series, vol. 1 (Cincinnati, 1905); and the B II glosses in his Commentaire anonyme sur Prudence d’après le manuscrit 413 de Valenciennes (Paris, 1910). O’Sullivan, Early Medieval Glosses on Prudentius’ Psychomachia, p. 24.



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tradition are sparse. About half of the glosses in this section are common to CCCC and Oxford, and the other half are unique. (4) The closing section of Apotheosis (1062–1084) is glossed in the Durham and Oxford manuscripts, though the Durham glosses were added by a twelfth-century hand. Most of the B II commentary on this section is reproduced in both Durham and Oxford; there is little overlap with B I or Weitz. Nearly all of the glosses are shared between these two manuscripts; very few are unique. (5) The opening thirty-three lines of Hamartigenia are glossed heavily in Durham and moderately in Oxford. Nearly all of the B II content pertaining to these lines is replicated in Durham, but very little of it is present in Oxford, and neither manuscript contains much material related to B I or Weitz. Durham contains many glosses not shared with Oxford, but nearly all the Oxford glosses are present in Durham. (6) The ‘Oratio Prudentii’ (Hamartigenia 931–966) is glossed heavily in the Durham manuscript (in a twelfth-century hand) and moderately in Oxford. All of the B II content pertaining to these lines is replicated in Durham; there is very little overlap with B I or Weitz. Durham contains many unique glosses not present in Oxford, but nearly all the Oxford material is present in Durham. In sum, each codex bears the traces of a succession of scholarly users, who annotated the doctrinal poems over the span of decades as suited their individual pedagogical or scholarly objectives, sometimes drawing on repositories of existing glosses and sometimes generating new annotations.

Glosses on Apotheosis and Hamartigenia in Harley 3826 An indirect witness to the study of Apotheosis and Hamartigenia survives in the form of a glossary in London, British Library, Harley 3826, produced in southern England in the late tenth or early eleventh century. The contents of this codex include treatises on spelling by Bede and Alcuin; the third book of Bella Parisiacae urbis by Abbo of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which was studied for the sake of its unusual vocabulary; the fourth book of Martianus Capella’s De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii, concerning the discipline of dialectic; and several glossaries.34 Patrizia Lendinara has documented that the glossaries on fols 154r–156v transmit lemmata drawn from Prudentius’s Apotheosis and Hamartigenia, mixed with lemmata from other works. She further suggests that the Prudentius glosses depend directly on a stand-alone commentary of the B II variety, like that which survives in Valenciennes, Bibliothèque municipale 413, and which is attributed to Remigius of Auxerre.35 34 35

Gneuss and Lapidge, Handlist, no. 438; Ker, Catalogue, no. 241. Patrizia Lendinara, ‘Glossarial Activity in the Anglo-Saxon Period (with an

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I have identified twenty-three glosses on these folios that pertain to Apotheosis and Hamartigenia; they are not concentrated on particular sections but treat lemmata scattered throughout the poems. Among these twenty-three glosses, twenty do resemble items in the Valenciennes commentary, and three do not. These three appear to represent a separate strand of English commentary on Apotheosis and Hamartigenia, as they are all related to, but not copied from, glosses in Durham B.IV.9: 1. Harley 3826, fol. 155r: ‘Testudo · animal est ad cuius similitudinem cithara formatur unde per ipsa cithara ponitur.’ Cf. Durham B.IV.9, fol. 34r (Apoth. 388): ‘testudo] .i. cithara.’ 2. Harley 3826, fol. 155v: ‘Remugit ·resonat.’ Cf. Durham B.IV.9, fol. 34r (Apoth. 386): ‘remugit] .i. sonat.’ 3. Harley 3826, fols 155v–156r: ‘Labeo . glutto uel gulosus.’ Cf. Durham B.IV.9, fol. 50r (Ham. 322): ‘ganeonis] Ganeones sunt caupones tabernarii labeones .i. glutones uel gulosi.’

Note that the Harley glossary’s lemma labeo never appears in the poems of Prudentius; this lemma in the Harley glossary was instead built upon a gloss on ganeonis, for which labeo is a synonym. The Harley glossary thus implies a more complicated transmission of glosses than Lendinara recognizes. Neither the stand-alone Valenciennes commentary nor any one of the copies of Apotheosis and Hamartigenia that survive from pre-Conquest England can have supplied all the lemmata that are treated in Harley 3826, implying that additional annotated copies of Apotheosis and Hamartigenia, now lost, were in circulation in England around the year 1000.36

Musical notation of ‘De natura animae’ Musical notation has been applied directly to the ‘De natura animae’ section of Apotheosis in CCCC 223. On p. 81, the first three verses of ‘De natura animae’ (Apotheosis 782–784) are marked with interlinear neumes, to which Susan Rankin ascribes a probable English origin between the late tenth and mid-eleventh century, most likely the first quarter of the elev-

36

Edition of the Glossary to Juvenal, Satires IV-VIII in London, British Library, Harley 3826)’, in idem, Anglo-Saxon Glosses and Glossaries (Aldershot, 1999), XIII.289–328, at pp. 308–309. Colette Jeudy confirms that the Valenciennes 413 commentary is most likely the work of Remigius: ‘L’œuvre de Remi d’Auxerre’, in Dominique Iogna-Prat, Colette Jeudy, and Guy Lobrichon (eds), L’école carolingienne de Murethach à Remi, 830-938, with a preface by Georges Duby (Paris, 1991), pp. 373–397, at p. 392. Valenciennes 413 (= B II) preserves no gloss on ganeonis, and the B I gloss on ganeo is significantly different from those in Harley 3826 and Durham B.IV.9: ‘Ganeo, gluto: proprie tamen caupo qui et nebulo et labeo a labando in periurio’ (Burnam, Glossemata de Prudentio, p. 50).



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enth century.37 On the next page, beginning with the fourth verse from the top (Apotheosis 794), a series of X’s appear in the left margin, adjacent to every third verse (except at lines 812–815, where the X’s demarcate a group of four verses). These marks continue through Apotheosis 840 on p. 83. They signify that singers of this text should repeat the same melody given on p. 81, applying it to each strophe of three lines, as far as Apotheosis 842.38 The lines marked out for singing set forth a series of ontological distinctions between the begotten Son of God and the created soul (782–826); next, the body is characterized as the friend and host of the soul, although contact with the body stains the soul with sins (814–819, 827–834). The passage concludes with an analogy: as the mortal body of Christ teaches us about God the Father, so may our own mortal bodies teach us about the soul (834–842). Why are these lines of Apotheosis marked out for singing? Based on their content, they are unfit for liturgical performance and irrelevant to the various semi-ritualized moments of the monastic routine at which hymns might have been sung, such as waking, eating, fasting, and lighting the lamps (as suggested by the hymns of Prudentius’s Cathemerinon). Jan Ziolkowski has proposed that where medieval readers neumed the hymns of Cathemerinon, this was not meant to support performance within the monastic routine, but rather, ‘the neumation of the Cathemerinon would appear to be related to the lyric meters Prudentius employed, which are identified in glosses on the individual hymns.’39 That is to say, students of Latin versification could better internalize the unfamiliar lyric meters of Cathemerinon by singing them to a melody. However, this explanation would not extend to ‘De natura animae’, because all of the neumed lines are dactylic hexameters, which medieval students knew better than any other quantitative meter. The likeliest explanation, therefore, is that ‘De natura animae’ contained doctrinal content that scholars considered important enough to commit to memory, and singing the text facilitated memorization.40 37

38

39

40

This assessment of the date and origin of the neumes was very kindly provided by Professor Rankin in response to my query. Cf. K. D. Hartzell, Catalogue of Manuscripts Written or Owned in England up to 1200 Containing Music (Woodbridge, 2006), no. 31, where the neumes are dated ‘s. xi’ and characterized as ‘Mixed neumes with French and Lotharingian traits’ (p. 47). Hartzell does not mention the ‘X’ annotations, nor have I found any mention of them in other publications. I am very grateful to Dr Sam Barrett for corresponding with me about CCCC 223; he confirms my interpretation of the marginal X’s, and he observes that the four-verse strophe at 812–815 likely accommodates syntactic breaks, which elsewhere correspond sufficiently with three-line strophes. Jan M. Ziolkowski, Nota Bene: Reading Classics and Writing Melodies in the Early Middle Ages (Turnhout, 2007), p. 263. Ziolkowski has made this claim specifically for the neumes attached to Apotheosis in CCCC 223: see Nota Bene, p. 263. Both Ziolkowski and Sam Barrett have discussed the mnemonic value of singing unfamiliar texts, although this

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Neumes also appear next to three verses of ‘De natura animae’ in Oxford Auct. F.3.6, in the left margin of fol. 37v. It is likely, though not yet certain, that these neumes were intended to support performance. They are placed outside the marginal glosses and even outside the pricking, rather than in an interlinear position which would leave no doubt about their relationship to the adjacent Latin verses. On the other hand, the neumes are written in three clusters, vertically stacked so that they align roughly with Apotheosis 807–809, and Barrett tentatively proposes that they represent a version of the same melody that is written out more fully in CCCC 223, jotted here in more abbreviated form to help singers work through a locus where the melody is not easily adapted to the text.41

Why study Apotheosis and Hamartigenia in pre-Conquest England? Based on the surviving manuscript evidence and the reader-added paratexts discussed above, I infer that English readers from the early tenth to the mid-eleventh century engaged with Prudentius’s doctrinal poems on three distinct levels: (1) as a repository of abstruse vocabulary, (2) as an authority on the nature of the soul and the soul-body relationship, and (3) as a model for poetic composition. Little more can be said about English readers’ engagement with Prudentius’s abstruse vocabulary until the glosses of CCCC 223, Durham B.IV.9, and Oxford Auct. F.3.6 have been thoroughly studied. I can only reiterate that the annotators of those manuscripts either copied or generated anew many glosses not found in the Valenciennes and Weitz traditions, and such glosses represent a serious commitment of intellectual labor by English scholars to the study of Prudentius’s language. A decade ago, I published a long study of the concepts of mind and soul that competed for dominance at different educational strata in early medieval England.42 I elaborated on the distinction that Malcolm Godden had previously established between the ‘vernacular’ psychology of Germanic folk belief, which is prominent in (though not limited to) Old English poetry, and the ‘classical’ psychology that English authors inherited from Latin authorities, exemplified by Alcuin’s De ratione animae and several

41 42

is more widely observed in the practice of notating liturgical texts meant to be sung only once a year or only in a restricted geographical range: see Ziolkowski, Nota Bene, pp. 40–41; and Barrett, ‘The Sponsorship of Early Medieval Latin Song: The Musical Evidence of Two Carolingian Poetic Collections’, in Paul Binski and Elizabeth A. New (eds), Patrons and Professionals in the Middle Ages (Donington, 2012), pp. 122–140, at pp. 126–128. Sam Barrett, personal communication, 24 March 2020. Leslie Lockett, Anglo-Saxon Psychologies in the Vernacular and Latin Traditions (Toronto, 2011).



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homilies by Ælfric.43 As I argued, the category of ‘classical psychology’ demanded further nuance. Inheritors of Augustine and Boethius, though we consider both broadly Neoplatonist, disagreed about doctrines such as the soul’s pre-existence, anamnesis, and the world-soul. Inheritors of Stoicizing Christian thought disagreed with Neoplatonists about whether God and the soul are equally incorporeal. Readers of what I called ‘eclectic’ psychologies might absorb a loosely Neoplatonist understanding of the soul that yet fell short of being ontologically rigorous enough to seriously challenge folk beliefs about the corporeal mind-in-the-heart and the anthropomorphic soul.44 But my study omitted Prudentius’s doctrinal poems. This constitutes a major oversight, because his opinions don’t align neatly with any of the strands of classical psychological discourse I identified, and thus they offered pre-Conquest readers a significantly different perspective on mind, soul, and body than they were likely to encounter elsewhere. As a prolegomenon to further study, and to begin rectifying this oversight, I briefly consider six questions that remained unresolved in early medieval discourses on mind, soul, and body, all of which Prudentius treats in his doctrinal poems. Does the brain play a role in the activities of the mind? Very few Latin Fathers implicate the brain in any kind of thought; the sources most readily available in pre-Conquest England emphasize the incorporeality of the mind, or perpetuate a heart-centered idiom in narratives of psychological experience (thus harmonizing with vernacular psychology).45 Hamartigenia, however, repeatedly ascribes to the brain a role in sensory processing and in disordered thought.46 Does the will belong to the soul or to the body? While Old English homilies and poems tend to portray the soul silently standing by while the body makes decisions,47 Prudentius refutes the idea that the soul is helpless in the clutches of the body: Apotheosis ascribes mental faculties and sufficient

43

44 45

46

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Malcolm Godden, ‘Anglo-Saxons on the Mind’, in Michael Lapidge and Helmut Gneuss (eds), Learning and Literature in Anglo-Saxon England (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 271–298. Lockett, Anglo-Saxon Psychologies, esp. pp. 179–280. Leslie Lockett, ‘The Limited Role of the Brain in Mental and Emotional Experience According to Anglo-Saxon Medical Learning’, in Alice Jorgensen, Frances McCormack, and Jonathan Wilcox (eds), Anglo-Saxon Emotions: Reading the Heart in Old English Literature, Language, and Culture (Aldershot, 2015), pp. 35–51. Ham. praef. 56–59; Ham. 124–125, 312–315, and 650–655. To be clear: Prudentius does not localize mind or soul in the organ of the brain, and he often employs cardiocentric idioms when narrating the behaviors of the soul and the mind; e.g., Apoth. 827–829, Ham. 195–196, Ham. 531–542. Lockett, Anglo-Saxon Psychologies, pp. 28–33; cf. Allen J. Frantzen, ‘The Body in Soul and Body I’, The Chaucer Review, 17 (1982), 76–88.

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agency to the soul, while Hamartigenia forcefully argues that the soul is entirely capable of dominating the body.48 Is the soul completely immaterial, or is it composed of a very subtle material? To uphold the ontological distinction between the begotten Son of God and the created soul, Prudentius contrasts the ‘breathable thing’ (res flabilis) that is the soul with the ‘incorporeal breath’ (flatu incorporeo) of God, and he underscores that the soul, unlike God, is spatially localized and bounded.49 He characterizes the soul as a subtle (tenuem, subtile) and fiery (ignitum) material,50 visible to other souls in the afterlife, and colored according to its merits.51 Prudentius’s moderately materialist psychology harmonizes with many early medieval portrayals of the afterworld and the Last Judgment, but it conflicts with Alcuin and Ælfric, who maintain that souls are incorporeal in the strictest philosophical sense, and thus have no weight, no color, and no appearance of any kind.52 How and when do human souls originate? Among early Christian responses to this question,53 two are most prominent in the Old English corpus: (1) that God endows each developing human fetus with a newly created soul, and (2) that all human souls were created at once, necessitating a period of pre-existence before the soul’s descent into the body.54 Apotheosis clearly favors the former position.55 Prudentius thus presents a sharp contrast to what students learned from Boethius’s De consolatione philosophiae, a staple of the Latin curriculum in England from about the year 900 onward, since Boethius’s theory of anamnesis requires that the soul absorb immutable truths during a period of pre-existence outside the body.56 What can the soul perceive and know after death? As Malcolm Godden shows, patristic treatises that were circulating in early medieval England transmitted conflicting opinions on the epistemological changes experienced by the soul after leaving the body, and these Latin authorities left 48 49 50 51 52 53

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Apoth. 803–806; Ham. 512–530. Apoth. 866–869 and 808–811. Ham. 532, 544–545, 834–838. Ham. 887–890. Lockett, Anglo-Saxon Psychologies, pp. 287–288, 383–395, and 411–413. See Roland J. Teske, ‘Soul’, in Allan D. Fitzgerald et al. (eds), Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MI, 1999), pp. 807–812, at pp. 809–810. For an example of the former, see Soul and Body I, lines 27–29; for the latter, Old English Soliloquies book 2, ch. 18–20, according to the chapter numbers introduced by Leslie Lockett (ed. and trans.), Augustine’s Soliloquies in Old English and in Latin, Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library (Cambridge, MA, 2022). Apoth. 827–829, 921–923. Prudentius’s intended opponents in this polemic were not Neoplatonists like Boethius, but Traducianists, who understood the soul to be transmitted through sexual reproduction: see Apoth. 915–920. Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae 5p2 and 5m3, ed. Moreschini, pp. 138–139 and 145–146.



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their mark on Old English works, most notably Book 3 of the Old English Soliloquies.57 Yet Godden’s study does not account for the pertinent passages of Apotheosis and Hamartigenia, in which Prudentius affirms that the souls in heaven and hell can see one another across the abyss,58 and that the soul’s capacity for perception and knowledge will be augmented after it casts off the burden of the flesh.59 How does the mind contemplate things that are not present to the senses? Peter Clemoes explores how The Wanderer and The Seafarer depict the mind’s power to contemplate even things that lie beyond the range of the body’s senses.60 He juxtaposes the Old English poems with Latin analogues but neglects Hamartigenia, in which Prudentius describes how the vision of the soul qualitatively exceeds that of the bodily eye, especially during sleep, when the ‘living mind’ looks upon distant fields, stars, and seas, all while paradoxically imprisoned in the breast.61 Because Prudentius weighs in on so many unresolved questions about mind, soul, and body, his contribution to the history of medieval English psychologies demands further attention, not only to the topics previewed above, but also to the glosses that English readers applied to Apotheosis and Hamartigenia. Future study in this vein has the potential to make the reception of Prudentius’s doctrinal poems pertinent to the history of psychologies and monastic theories of self-discipline and sin in tenth- and eleventh-century England. The contexts in which Prudentius’s poems were transmitted suggest that they served as models of Latin prosody and poetic style – indeed, this may well have been the primary impetus for studying them. Notes about meter are the only type of paratext that is preserved across all four of the Prudentius codices discussed above, and in each case, the metrical notes were copied either by the main scribe or a near-contemporary, suggesting that an understanding of Prudentius’s meters was understood to be integral rather than an ad-hoc supplement. In addition, stand-alone copies of the ‘Oratio Prudentii’ situate it in contexts that emphasize its role as a model poem for students of Latin versification.62

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58 59 60

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Malcolm Godden, ‘Text and Eschatology in Book III of the Old English Soliloquies’, Anglia, 121 (2003), 177–209. Ham. 863–866 and 922–930. Apoth. 853–856; Ham. 918–921. Peter Clemoes, ‘Mens absentia cogitans in The Seafarer and The Wanderer’, in D. A. Pearsall and R. A. Waldron (eds), Medieval Literature and Civilization: Studies in Memory of G.N. Garmonsway (London, 1969), pp. 62–77. Ham. 867–909. I was unaware of this material in Hamartigenia when I posited that the most likely inspiration for the second Lorsch Riddle was Lactantius’s De opificio Dei (Lockett, Anglo-Saxon Psychologies, pp. 223–224 and 275–279), but evidently I should revisit this question. See above, pp. 18–19.

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Although many studies have demonstrated the imprint of Latin curriculum poems on Old English versification practices, I am aware of only one study that considers whether either of Prudentius’s doctrinal poems exerted a direct influence on Old English authors: Martin Irvine leaves open the question of whether Cynewulf drew inspiration for his psychomachia imagery from Hamartigenia as well as Psychomachia.63 Based on the evident enthusiasms of pre-Conquest scholars for both Apotheosis and Hamartigenia, further studies in this vein will very likely bring to light more instances of Old English poets drawing their inspiration from Prudentius’s doctrinal poems. One of the most promising directions for further study, in fact, would follow Irvine’s lead by searching for the imprint of Apotheosis and Hamartigenia upon the signed works of Cynewulf.64 Such a project must be distinct from the aforementioned investigation of the study and glossing of these poems within tenth- and eleventh-century centers of learning, since Cynewulf was most likely active in the early ninth century.65 Even a brief comparison of the epilogue to Cynewulf’s Elene with the ‘Oratio Prudentii’ (which is all that space here permits) demonstrates distinctive formal and topical parallels. As Jane Roberts has observed, ‘The narrative figure of [Cynewulf’s] elegiac closing passages may well be conventional’, and in Elene specifically, the epilogue containing the poet’s runic signature ‘seems tacked on as an addition’.66 Perhaps these characteristics, which Roberts views rather critically, arise from Cynewulf’s emulating features of the ‘Oratio 63

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Martin Irvine, ‘Cynewulf’s Use of Psychomachia Allegory: The Latin Sources of Some “Interpolated” Passages’, Harvard English Studies, 9 (1981), 39–62. Fontes Anglo-Saxonici does not posit any direct relationships between Old English poems and Apotheosis or Hamartigenia (https://www.st-andrews. ac.uk/~cr30/Mercian/Fontes). For Anglo-Latin authors who quote Apotheosis and Hamartigenia, see Michael Lapidge, The Anglo-Saxon Library (Oxford, 2006), pp. 328–329. Cynewulf’s runic signature appears in Elene, Juliana, Christ II (The Ascension), and Fates of the Apostles. Robert E. Bjork accepts the strong arguments in favor of Cynewulf’s authorship of Guthlac B and has included it in his recent edition and translation of Cynewulf’s works: The Old English Poems of Cynewulf, Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library (Cambridge, MA, 2013). Subsequent quotations of Cynewulf’s poems follow Bjork’s Old English text, but translations are my own. On the authorship of Guthlac B and the connections between Cynewulf’s signed poems and several stylistically similar works, see Andy Orchard, ‘Both Style and Substance: The Case for Cynewulf’, in Catherine E. Karkov and George Hardin Brown (eds), Anglo-Saxon Styles (Albany, NY, 2003), pp. 271–305. R. D. Fulk, ‘Cynewulf: Canon, Dialect, and Date’, in Robert E. Bjork (ed.), The Cynewulf Reader (New York, 2001), pp. 3–21; Fiona Gameson, ‘The Library of Cynewulf’, in R. Gameson (ed.), The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, Volume I, c. 400-1100, pp. 665–669, at p. 665. Jane Roberts, ‘Cynewulf’, in Michael Lapidge, John Blair, Simon Keynes, and Donald Scragg (eds), The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England, 2nd edn (Malden, MA, 2014), pp. 136–137, at p. 136.



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Prudentii’. Both the Elene epilogue and the ‘Oratio’ are intentionally detached from the main poem: first by means of paratexts,67 and then by a torrent of first-person verbs that redirect the reader’s attention toward the persona of the poet.68 Across the four signed poems, Cynewulf’s persona is even more self-deprecating than the modesty topos demands. He acknowledges that he has sinned wickedly,69 and thus does not venture to hope for a place in heaven. At one moment, the poet cannot foresee where his soul will be bound on its solitary journey in the afterlife,70 and at another, he is certain of punishment: ‘Ic þæs brogan sceal / geseon synwræce’ (In consequence, I must experience terror, torment for my sins).71 Prudentius’s self-abasement is similarly profound. His sinfulness renders him unworthy of the pardon he pleads for, and instead of pleading for a place in heaven, he recognizes that he must be consigned to the purifying fire, ‘quia sic pro labe necesse est / corporea’ (because it is necessary that it happen thus, because of my bodily stain).72 Elene and the ‘Oratio’ both focus attention on the purifying fire, repeatedly (and puzzlingly) characterizing it as gentle and mild.73 Finally, Cynewulf’s famously playful revelation of his name by means of runes in each of his epilogues has a subtle analogue in the final line of Hamartigenia. The poet pleads, ‘me poena leuis clementer adurat’ (may the lenient punishment singe me [only] gently),

67

68 69 70

71 72 73

The Vercelli Book scribe accentuates the disjuncture between Elene and its epilogue by writing ‘finit’ and a new fitt number between them; this parallels the presence, in multiple copies of Hamartigenia, of the subtitle ‘Oratio’ or ‘Oratio Prudentii’ and a littera notabilior setting off line 931 as the start of a discrete section. Elene 1236–1254; Ham. 933–939. Elene 1242b–1244; Juliana 709b–715a; Christ II 792–793a. Fates of the Apostles 109b–114. Cynewulf underscores the solitariness of this journey by rousing pity for his soul at its separation from his body, which has been both traveling companion (Juliana 714–715a) and guest-house (gæst-hofe, Christ II 820a). In Guthlac B, Cynewulf portrays an even more intimate bond between the soul and body of the dying saint: ‘his lic ond gæst / hyra somwiste, sinhiwan tu, / deore gedælden’ (his body and soul, the two wedded partners, would tear apart their cherished cohabitation) (967b–969a). Cynewulf’s souland-body metaphors suggest further dependence on the ‘Oratio Prudentii’, in which the poet dreads the day when his soul must depart from the body, which has been both a guest-house (hospitium) and a lover, ‘corrupta quod incola luxu / heu nimium conplexa fouet’ (which the soul who dwells therein, corrupted by indulgence, alas, caresses too much with her embrace) (Ham. 942–943). Christ II 793b–794a. Ham. 961–962. Elene 1289b–1295a, pertaining to the fire that purifies the souls of the blessed; Ham. 963–966, pertaining to the fires of the middle, purgatorial level of the afterworld, where he envisions his own soul’s destiny. Cynewulf’s ascription of cleansing flames to all three subdivisions of the afterlife may owe some debt to Ambrose’s Explanatio psalmi cxviii ch. 16–17 (F. Gameson, ‘The Library of Cynewulf’, p. 667); attestations of this work in pre-Conquest England, however, are extremely sparse (Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Library, p. 280).

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with the adverb clementer slyly alluding to the poet’s own name, Aurelius Prudentius Clemens.74

Conclusion This study has brought to light abundant manuscript evidence of an eager pre-Conquest readership for Apotheosis and Hamartigenia, and has previewed two fruitful directions for ongoing studies of how the reception of Prudentius’s doctrinal poems fits into the literary and intellectual history of early medieval England. At the outset of this essay, I noted that my approach was inspired by Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe’s Stealing Obedience: I recognize that while Apotheosis and Hamartigenia (like the elementary texts of the monastic curriculum) were utilized as models of sophisticated diction and Latin versification, students of these texts cannot have been immune to the content of Prudentius’s theological positions, especially where Apotheosis and Hamartigenia augment the volume and variety of ‘classical’ psychological doctrines available to the early medieval English readership. It is probably wise to imagine medieval readers absorbing Prudentius’s opinions on the human soul not in spite of their value as models of versification; on the contrary, it is because Prudentius’s opinions were packaged in verse that they likely reached a wider and less élite audience than that which we can posit for prose treatises on the nature of the soul. The latter played no role in the Latin curriculum of monastic schools, which front-loaded a student’s education with years’ worth of attention to the interpretation and composition of verse.75 But there is another reason why I circle back to Stealing Obedience, and it is to express gratitude and admiration to its author. This book demonstrates that as medieval English teachers enabled their pupils to read Latin literature, interpret the Scriptures, and imitate the Christian Latin poets, they simultaneously cultivated the virtues and the markers of identity that were proper to their monastic profession, and they drew their students into a deeper contemplation of how best to exercise the individual will within the context of that profession. Life imitates art. A 74

75

Malamud, The Origin of Sin, p. 47 n. 127; Alan Cameron, ‘Ancient Anagrams’, American Journal of Philology, 116 (1995), 477–484. Present-day readers call the poet simply Prudentius, but ‘his diacritical name, the one of the three by which he was known in contexts where one name alone was used, must have been the last, Clemens’ (Cameron, ‘Ancient Anagrams’, 483). Medieval readers often called him Prudentius (or Prudens), but some were aware that his third name was Clemens: Bede and Alcuin call him Clemens (see Irvine, ‘Cynewulf’s Use of Psychomachia Allegory’, p. 45), and a form of Clemens appears as part of Prudentius’s name at least once in each of the manuscripts of Prudentius’s oeuvre discussed above. Michael Lapidge, ‘Anglo-Latin Literature’, in idem, Anglo-Latin Literature, 600-899 (London, 1996), pp. 1–35, at pp. 2–3.



Prudentius’s Apotheosis and Hamartigenia 1

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millennium later, Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe has imparted to a generation of fortunate students the skills of translating Old English literature and interpreting the textual witnesses to the literary and intellectual history of pre-Conquest England. In this process, she has simultaneously endeavored to cultivate in us, her students, those virtues and markers of identity that might render us compassionate and responsible members of our academic profession, and she has unfailingly modeled how to exercise the individual will in service of the communal good, within the context of our academic profession.76

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I am pleased to acknowledge the generous help of Sam Barrett, Colleen Curran, Richard Fahey, Richard Gameson, Drew Jones, and Susan Rankin, all of whom provided information that proved indispensable to this study. Thanks also to Paul Vinhage, Ryan Lawrence, and Sophia d’Ignazio for the invitation to present a portion of this material at the Cornell Medieval Studies Student Colloquium; my argument has benefited from the insightful and generous responses I received. Any errors that persist here are entirely my own.

2 Wonders Never Cease in the Old English Boethius Nicole Guenther Discenza

‘[Þ]a se wisdom þa ðis lioð asungen hæfde, þa hæfde he me gebundenne mid þære wynsumnesse his sanges þæt ic his wæs swiðe wafiende and swiðe lustbære to geheranne mid innewearde mode.’1

A

fter one of the meters in the Old English Boethius, the narrator expresses his wonder at Wisdom’s teaching, neither for the first nor the last time.2 Wonder had already drawn me to Old English before I first met Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, but she helped to cultivate and focus my sense of wonder. As a teacher and mentor, Katherine asks probing and unexpected questions – which is both thrilling and terrifying. I still recall my excitement as I developed my dissertation idea and talked it through with her, and to this day, I feel a sense of wonder towards my dissertation’s central text, the Boethius, and so I revisit it here. Even those who haven’t been Katherine’s students can feel the wonder in her work beginning with the questions she asks in her research: how do manuscripts show interactions between practices of orality and writing? How did the monks of the English Benedictine Reform understand agency and freedom? Why are tongues so dangerous and in need of discipline? Wonder leads us to investigate and to learn, and Katherine has modeled this process for many of us.

1

2

[‘When this Wisdom had sung this song, then he had bound me with the appeal of his song so that I was greatly wondering and very desirous to hear with my inward mind.’] Old English Boethius, MS C, P11.1–3. All quotations and citations from the Boethius are from Malcolm Godden and Susan Irvine with Mark Griffith and Rohini Jayatilaka (eds), The Old English Boethius: An Edition of the Old English Versions of Boethius’s De Consolatione Philosophiae (2 vols, Oxford, 2009). Further references will be given parenthetically in the text. ‘P’ refers to ‘Prose’, ‘M’ to ‘Meter’, and the numbers follow the line numbers in this edition. Italics and square brackets in quotations are theirs. All translations are my own. This chapter began as a conference paper, ‘Wonders Never Cease in the Old English Boethius’, Modern Language Association Annual Convention (Chicago, January 2014). I thank the 2013 MLA Old English Executive Committee and the audience for the opportunity to present and the feedback I received.



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We know how it feels, but what is wonder? Wonder is a cognitive emotion: it combines intellection and feeling. Caroline Walker Bynum’s 1997 American Historical Association Presidential Address on ‘Wonder’ treats the High Middle Ages, but her description works well for the earlier English Middle Ages too. For Bynum, wonder is ‘cognitive, non-appropriative, perspectival, and particular. Not merely a physiological response, wonder was a recognition of the singularity and significance of the thing encountered.’3 She also notes that the term embraces a range of responses perhaps broader than today, ‘from terror and disgust to solemn astonishment and playful delight’.4 Bynum demonstrates that later medieval writers contrasted wonder with imitation: we wonder at what we cannot do ourselves.5 She adds, ‘you could wonder only where you knew that you failed to understand. Thus, wonder entailed a passionate desire for the scientia it lacked; it was a stimulus and incentive to investigation.’6 Dennis Quinn surveys wonder in Greek and Latin antiquity to study it in the De consolatione. He notes that both Plato and Aristotle made it ‘the principle or arche of philosophy’.7 His definition dovetails neatly with Bynum’s: for him, wonder is ‘the human response to some observed phenomenon that surpasses expectation or previous knowledge in the beholder. The cause of wonder may be pleasant or unpleasant.’8 Lorraine Daston and Katharine Park, studying the period from the later Middle Ages to the Enlightenment, write, ‘As theorized by medieval and early modern intellectuals, wonder was a cognitive passion, as much about knowing as about feeling.’9 All of these scholars note the importance of perspective and emphasize both cognition and emotion. Finally, wonder occurs in reaction to an event or an object, usually external to the person experiencing the wonder.10 These approaches help illuminate early English concepts of wonder, especially in the Boethius: it is a reaction both cognitive and emotional, and it arises when understanding fails or

3

4 5 6 7

8 9

10

Caroline Walker Bynum, ‘Wonder’, The American Historical Review, 102:1 (1997), 1–26, at p. 3. Bynum, ‘Wonder’, p. 15. Bynum, ‘Wonder’, pp. 7–12. Bynum, ‘Wonder’, p. 24. Dennis Quinn, ‘Me audiendi … stupentem: The Restoration of Wonder in Boethius’s Consolation’, University of Toronto Quarterly, 57:4 (1988), 447–470, at p. 447. Quinn, ‘Me audiendi’, p. 449. Lorraine Daston and Katharine Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature 1150–1750 (New York, 1998), p. 14. Antonina Harbus focuses on a different emotion, but her observation of the ‘close interconnectedness between mood and context’ informs my thinking here; Harbus, ‘Joy in the Emotional Life of the Anglo-Saxons’, in Carole Biggam, Carole Hough, and Daria Izdebska (eds), The Daily Lives of the Anglo-Saxons (Tempe, AZ, 2017), pp. 207–225, at p. 210.

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expectations are disrupted. The combination of sentiment and intellect also helps motivate readers to learn. After brief sketches of the texts and an overview of definitions, this essay will examine how wonder works in the Old English Boethius. While the roots occasionally appear in casual formations as ‘no wonder’ or in negative formulations, wonder words mostly invoke a positive engagement. Wisdom instructs the narrator, and thus the reader, on when we should and should not wonder. The use of the word increases as the text goes on, deepening the experience of wonder. While the Boethius does not always clearly delineate positive and negative kinds of wonder, it calls attention to the experience of wonder and then ultimately redirects wonder to prayer, bringing the reader to God through first one and then the other without foreclosing the cognitive emotion entirely. The Old English Boethius is a translation in the medieval sense, an adaptation and a carrying over, of Boethius’s late antique De consolatione philosophiae (Consolation of Philosophy) for an early English audience. The historical Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius was a Roman scholar and philosopher who rose to high position under the emperor Theoderic, culminating in his appointment as magister officiorum, master of the offices, and the appointment of his sons as co-consuls (a largely ceremonial role by that time). In 523, he was arrested and imprisoned in Pavia for allegedly treasonous correspondence with the Eastern Roman Emperor. Boethius denied the charges but was executed months later. Like the author, the narrator of the Consolation is in prison; Philosophy appears to him as a woman of variable height and leads him through a dialogue in five books, alternating poetry and prose within each book. The narrator learns that earthly goods are not true goods, for God alone is the true, unified good. The narrator must distance himself from both joy and sorrow and turn from earthly desires to embrace philosophy so that he may come to know God better. The last two books deal with the problems of good and evil, concluding that what appears to be evil is simply lack and has no real power. God has absolute power, but he allows human beings free will. The work closes with admonitions to virtue and then prayer. Whether the Consolation truly consoles and satisfies remains the subject of scholarly debate, but by the ninth century and extending into early modern times, the Latin text enjoyed great popularity.11

11

Joel C. Relihan argues in The Prisoner’s Philosophy: Life and Death in Boethius’s Consolation (Notre Dame, IN, 2007) that the work should be understood as a satire exposing the limitations of philosophy. John Marenbon notes problems with the argumentation in Boethius (Oxford, 2003), especially chaps. 6–8. For the Carolingian revival of the Consolation, see Adrian Papahagi, ‘The Transmission of Boethius’ De Consolatione Philosophiae in the Carolingian Age’, Medium Ævum, 78 (2009), 1–15. There is a wealth of scholarship on the reception of Boethius’s Consolation; for one of the most recent collections, see A. Joseph McMullen and Erica Weaver (eds), The Legacy of Boethius in Medieval England: The Consolation and its Afterlives (Tempe, AZ, 2018).



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In the late ninth or early tenth century, the Consolation was translated into Old English as a text now called the Boethius.12 The translation exists in two forms: a prose-only version in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Bodley 180 (2079), which Malcolm Godden and Susan Irvine date to the late eleventh or early twelfth century; and a prosimetrum in London, British Library, Cotton Otho A.vi, which Godden and Irvine date to the tenth century.13 The Old English translator adopts the major themes of the Latin Consolation but treats the text with the inventiveness that medieval translators often used: he cut, added, and altered with freedom, especially at the end, where the style of argumentation and the reasons for the claim that God’s foreknowledge does not cancel out human free will change substantially, though the conclusion remains largely the same. Wonder pervades the Old English Boethius, especially the prosimetrum or C-text version that will be the focus here because it evokes wonder even more than the prose-only version. Words for ‘wonder’ are occasionally used casually, more as discourse markers than for a true mix of feeling and intellection, but more often they draw readers’ attention to what one should and should not regard with admiration and awe. The Boethius celebrates wonder as an emotional and intellectual experience explicitly through its use of wonder words and implicitly through its prosimetrum form and play with words and images. Wonder operates dynamically, with references increasing as the Old English text progresses, even after the Latin work leaves overt wonder behind. At the end, Wisdom, the text’s guiding figure, turns that wonder outward and upward, from the physical world and physical book to a higher reality.14

12

13

14

The authorship and exact date of the Boethius do not affect my argument here and so I do not treat them, but they are disputed. In favor of Alfred as author, see Janet M. Bately, ‘Alfred as Author and Translator’, in Nicole Guenther Discenza and Paul E. Szarmach (eds), A Companion to Alfred the Great (Boston, 2015), pp. 113–142; and ‘Did King Alfred Actually Translate Anything? The Integrity of the Alfredian Canon Revisited’, Medium Ævum, 78 (2009), 189–215. Against Alfred’s authorship, see Malcolm R. Godden, ‘Did King Alfred Write Anything?’, Medium Ævum, 76 (2007), 1–23; and ‘The Player King: Identification and Self-Representation in King Alfred’s Writings’, in Timothy Reuter (ed.), Alfred the Great: Papers from the Eleventh-Centenary Conferences (Aldershot, 2003), 137–150; and ‘Authorship and Date’ in the ‘Introduction’ to Godden and Irvine’s edition. For more detailed bibliography, see my ‘Appendix: Annotated Bibliography on the Authorship Issue’, in Discenza and Szarmach (eds), A Companion to Alfred the Great, pp. 397–415. For details on the manuscripts and the relationships between prose and prosimetrum, see especially Godden and Irvine, ‘Introduction’ (including chapter on the meters by Mark Griffith), The Old English Boethius, vol. 1, pp. 9–134. The narrator acts as a stand-in for the audience with increasing frequency as the text progresses: the character is first dubbed ‘Boetius’ in the text, then ‘Mod’ [Mind], and then ‘ic’ [I], with the latter dominating the final quarter of the text. For more on characterization and the dramatic quality of the dialogue, see my chapter ‘The Old English Boethius’ in Discenza and Szarmach (eds), A Companion to Alfred the Great, pp. 200–226, at pp. 205–209,

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The narrator’s growing sense of wonder in the text acts as a model for audiences of the Boethius. The Boethius conveys wonder overtly by using the stems wundr- and waf- or wæf- to name or describe an object or event that excites wonder, or to identify the intellectual and emotional action itself.15 The Bosworth-Toller Dictionary has three major divisions in its definition of wundor. The first is: I. a wonder 1. a circumstance or act that excites astonishment 2. a circumstance that excites astonishment as being out of the usual course of nature, a prodigy, portent 3. of the works of Divine power, a wonder, miracle 4. a wonderful object, wondrous thing16

This usage can be seen when Wisdom explains that the foundational elements of earth, air, fire, and water exist within every created thing despite their contrary properties. Fire thus exists within earth and sea, even though they are cold. This is a wundur (20.117). The simple noun wundor rarely appears in this positive sense in the text, however (negative senses will be discussed more below). Its second sense, ‘II. wonderful, miraculous power’, does not seem to be used for the noun wundor in the Boethius. The third sense, ‘III. wonder, admiration’, seems to be used rarely and only in negative constructions in the noun form. Bosworth-Toller defines other parts of speech much as it does the noun. The adjective wundor-lic, ‘Wonderful, exciting admiration or surprise’, appears fifteen times, not as the weak ‘wonderful’ that we often use in conversation now but to describe something worthy of awe or admiration. Is þæt wundorlic, weroda drihten, þæt ðu mid geþeahte þinum wyrcest þæt ðu þæm gesceaftum swa gesceadlice mearce gesettest, and hi [gemengdest] eac. (M20.86–89)17

That God’s thought alone can both combine and delimit the elements provokes wonder. Similarly, the adverb ‘wundorlice’ [wonderfully] appears

15

16

17

available for download at https://ndiscenza.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/ the-old-english-boethius-from-a-companion-to-alfred-the-great/. I checked my choice of significant words against the glossary to Godden and Irvine’s edition of the Boethius and The Thesaurus of Old English Online, edited by Flora Edmonds, Christian Kay, Jane Roberts, and Irené Wotherspoon (Glasgow, 2017) . This and the following definitions come from Joseph Bosworth, An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary Based on the Manuscript Collections of the Late Joseph Bosworth, ed. and enlarged by T. Northcote Toller (Oxford, 1898), and Supplement (1921), online version by Sean Crist, Ondřej Tichý, et al., http://bosworth.ff.cuni.cz/. I have removed the italics from entries for ease of reading. [It is wonderful, Lord of hosts, that you by your thought make it so that you set for those creations so skillfully a limit, and you also mingle them].



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four times, including in the praise of God’s governance of creation: ‘wundorlice wel gemetgað’ [wonderfully well [he] governs, M13.5]. The single most used wonder word in the Boethius is the verb wundrian, ‘to wonder at, to regard with surprise or admiration’, appearing forty times.18 The verb also seems to cover the widest range of uses: Wisdom wonders at the narrator’s poor reasoning: ‘Þy ic wundrige hwi ðu ne mæge ongietan þæt ðu eart nu git swiðe gesælig, nu ðu giet liofast and eart hal’ [Therefore I wonder why you cannot understand that you are now still very happy, now you yet live and are healthy, P6.41–43; see also P4.53–54, and P32.51–52]. The narrator questions God: ‘And þæt is eac minre unrotnesse se mæsta dæl, þæt ic wundrige forhwy se gooda God læte ænig yfel bion …’ [And this is the greatest part of my unhappiness: that I wonder why the good God would allow any evil to exist … P24.8–9].19 The word often carries a more positive sense, as when Mod expresses his reaction to natural beauty: ‘Ge ful oft we fageniað smyltre sæ and eac wundriað þæs wlites þære sunnan and þæs monan and ealra þara steorrena’ [And very often we enjoy the calm sea and also wonder at the beauty of the sun and the moon and all the stars, P7.55–57]. Wonder can carry disapproval or admiration, showing emotional as well as mental engagement whether negative or positive. These seven wonder words appear seventy-seven times in MS C, the prosimetrum text of the Old English Boethius.20 By contrast, the Latin text uses the equivalent root –mir–, as in admiratio, admiror, miror, mirus, miraculum, only thirty-two times.21 The words as defined in Lewis and Short’s Latin Dictionary have translations similar to Old English wundor and related words in Modern English: admīrātĭo, ōnis, f. I An admiring, admiration II Wonder, surprise, astonishment ad-mīror, ātus, 1, v. dep., to wonder at, to be astonished at, to regard with admiration, to admire, to be in a state of mind in which something pleases us by its extraordinary greatness, its sublimity, or perfection mirari, ~are, 1 to be surprised or amazed (at), wonder (at)

18

19

20

21

Bosworth-Toller adds a second sense, ‘II. to make wonderful, magnify(?)’, but the entry itself notes uncertainty that this is a separate sense, and the one example is not from the Boethius. The narrator similarly questions God at P24.11–17, P24.17–20, P27.80–82, P28.16–20, P28.21–22, and P32.8–10. The wundr– words in the Boethius are ofwundrian, wundor, wundorlic, wundorlice, and wundrian. I checked Godden and Irvine’s edition against Angus Cameron, Ashley Crandell Amos, Antonette diPaolo Healey, et al. (eds), Dictionary of Old English: A to I online (Toronto, Dictionary of Old English Project, 2018), , to ensure that I missed no occurrences. Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae, Opuscula theologica, Claudio Moreschini (ed.), 2nd edn (Munich, 2005), checked against Patrologia Latina: The Full-Text Database (Proquest, 1996–2019). See below for discussion of stupor, which has nine occurrences in the Latin.

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mīror, ātus, 1, v. dep. a. and n. Sanscr. smi, smile; Gr. μειδάω; cf.: mirus, nimīrum, to wonder or marvel at, to be astonished or amazed at a thing; to admire mīrus, a, um, adj. I wonderful, marvellous, astonishing, extraordinary mīrācŭlum, i, n. id., I a wonderful, strange, or marvellous thing, a wonder, marvel, miracle; wonderfulness, marvellousness II Esp., in eccl. Lat., a miracle22

While these words demonstrate engagement in wonder in the Latin De consolatione, the Old English prosimetrum shows even greater attention, using wonder words more than twice as often as the Latin text does. Although it does not immediately broach the topic of wonder, the Boethius announces its intention to combat tedium in its verse preface: Him wæs lust micel ðæt he ðiossum leodum leoð spellode, monnum myrgen, mislice cwidas, þy læs ælinge ut adrife selflicne secg… . (Verse Preface 3b–7a)23

The preface promises its audience delights from the outset, but the text withholds explicit ‘wonder’ until the fourth prose section. The Old English translation omits four beginning passages where the Latin source text uses wonder words.24 This deployment of the word supports both theme and character development: in the early verse and prose sections, the narrator is too sunk in misery to experience wonder. Both reader and narrator need to progress before experiencing wonder. Dennis Quinn demonstrates that the Latin De consolatione contrasts stupor, an unproductive cousin of wonder so excessive that it forecloses understanding rather than opening it, with a true and productive wonder that encourages understanding.25 He reads the De consolatione as a progression from stupor to wonder and understanding. The Old English usage of wonder words, few at the start and then more and more over the course of the work, charts a similar journey. The Old English also usually marks a lexical distinction that Quinn identifies in the Latin: only three times does the translator of the prosimetrum render a stupor word (the noun stupor

22

23

24

25

Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary (Oxford, 1879), in Logeion, built by Philip Posner, Ethan Della Rocca, and Josh Day, University of Chicago, 2018, . Again, I have removed the italics from entries for ease of reading. [[Alfred] had great desire to tell in song to these people delights to men, many discourses, lest tedium drive away the self-focused man…]. The Latin used –mir– words in 1m3.10, 1p3.11, 1m4.12, 1p4.28, but the first three are not rendered at all in Old English; parts of the fourth are translated, but sentences around and including the wonder word are not. ‘Me audiendi’. I count nine occurrences of the noun stupor and the verb stupeo, stupēre in the Latin De consolatione.



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or the verb stupere) with a form of wundor, and one of those three is the pairing of wæfþo and wundor in the meters mentioned above (M28.76–83). The other two passages invoke wonder only to negate it (M28.5b–8a and M28.64b–69). Two other times, stupor words are translated by waf– or wæf– words (P11.1–3, P28.22–28); once stupor is translated by broga (fear, P24.21–24); and four other times, wafung and the like are used where the Latin has no equivalent. Wafung, wafian, and wæfþo never translate a Latin word with the –mir– root. The Boethius has some slippage between terms but most often maintains the Latin text’s distinction between useless stupor and useful wonder. Bosworth-Toller defines this set of words much as it defines the wundr– words: wæfþo: A sight, show, spectacle wafung: amazement, wonder, astonishment wafian: To look with wonder, be amazed

While Bosworth-Toller’s definition of wæfþo does not use Modern English ‘wonder’, it does use the modern word for the two other related Old English words, and the Thesaurus of Old English classes them all together. The words with this stem are sometimes paired with wundor words, showing their close relationship even as they retain some distinction in this text, as explored more below.26 In general, Old English writers seem to use the different stems in similar ways. Yet the Boethius translator uses the different roots to maintain some distinction between stupor (generally waf– or wæf–, only rarely wundr–) and useful wonder (wundr–, never waf– or wæf–). As the narrator struggles to overcome that useless stupor in the first half of the text, references to wonder appear relatively infrequently, and the first eight invocations of wonder come from Wisdom. At the start, Wisdom uses the word to criticize: ‘ic wundrige swiðe ungemetlice hwæt þe sy oððe hwæt þu mæne nu þu ðone geleafan hæfst’ [I wonder greatly beyond measure what is with you or what you mean now that you have that belief, P4.53–54]: he does not merely ask but demands, using an emotion word, how the narrator can simultaneously believe that the world is disordered and that God is in control. This context gives no indication of a positive emotion as we often feel wonder to be. Yet it has emotional force: the intensifier swiðe [very] combined with a word that already connotes excess, ungemetlice [beyond measure] conveys how strongly Wisdom feels. It expresses the ‘astonishment’ of the BosworthToller definition, but it also invokes Bynum’s ‘disgust’.27 Wisdom deploys wonder in a negative way to add to his criticism of the narrator as having

26

27

Wundr– and wæf– or waf– roots are joined three times: P24.17–20, P28.21–28, and M28.71–83 (which has no corresponding wonder word in the B text). Bynum, ‘Wonder’, p. 3.

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forgotten what he knew and failing to value what he still has, for which Wisdom has been chiding him since the start. Wisdom similarly says he has ‘swiðe ungemetlice ofwundrod’ [wondered very greatly, 7.43] that the narrator values the beauty of lower creations above his own good. Most of these expressions of wonder have been added by the translator; Latin uses the word in these senses even less often than English.28 Alongside what may seem a negative approach to wonder at the start, the prosimetrum uses wundr– words for an affirmative cognitive emotion nine times in the first half.29 For example, here Wisdom encourages awe or wonder towards the creator: Ic wille mid giddum get gecyðan hu se ælmihtga  [ealla] gesceafta bryrð mid his bridlum, begð ðider he wile mid his anwalde, ge endebyrd wundorlice wel gemetgað (M13.1–5).30

The text builds on this foundation as it goes; awe is directed specifically at God, or at God and his creation simultaneously, five times in the text.31 Adding awe at creation more generally increases the count to twenty-five passages. Wisdom, the narrator, and readers can all wonder at the Creator and his creations, and that fuels a desire to know more about them.32 Sometimes Wisdom expresses wonder at human artistry, particularly in making clothes. He says, ‘Gif þu nu wenst þætte wundorlice gegerela hwelc weorðmynd sie, þonne telle ic þa weorðmynde þæm wyrhtan þe hi worhte, nealles ðe’ [If you think now that wonderful clothing is an honor, then I tell you that the honor belongs to the makers who made it, not at all to you, P7.86–88]. Here he corrects the human admiration for wearers of exceptional clothes, not to deny that one should marvel at clothes, but to redirect that admiration from the wearers to the creators. This passage has a foundation in Latin, where Philosophia narrates it as if she herself were admiring (‘mirabor’) the material or the makers (2p5.17). Wisdom also describes Nero as dressed ‘wlitegum wædum wundorlice, / golde geglengde and gimcynnum’ [wonderfully, in beautiful clothes, adorned with gold and

28

29 30

31 32

Passages using wonder words to pass a negative judgment are P4.53–54 (Latin 1p6.6), P6.41–43, P6.43–46, P7.42–47 (Latin 2p5.8), P8.44–46 (Latin 2p6.4, but there Philosophy refers to laughter rather than wonder), P15.31, M19.20–23, P32.51–52, P32.96–97; thus seven of the nine have no Latin wonder word. The text right at the middle of the manuscript is Prose 19, line 114. [I still wish to make known with songs how the Almighty guides all creations with his bridles, bends them where he wills with his power, and governs the order wonderfully well]. In addition to M13.1–5, see M20.86–89, M20.117–121, M20.161–164, P21.72–74. For more about the role of wonder and desire in education, see Irina Dumitrescu, The Experience of Education in Anglo-Saxon Literature (Cambridge, 2018), esp. pp. 118–128.



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varied gems, M15.3–4].33 In these two occurrences, Wisdom models an attitude of awe not towards the object or possessor but towards its creator. Moreover, Wisdom adopts a human perspective in this latter passage, sharing awe to shift its focus from creation to creator. Both human and divine creations may legitimately excite wonder. On the other hand, several passages may sound suspiciously like our modern, casual usages of ‘wonder’ or our dismissive ‘no wonder’, especially in the first half. Like irony and humor, fossilized expressions can be hard to identify at a great remove. Does ‘that’s wonderful’ mean ‘that merits awe or admiration’ or simply ‘that’s good’? Distance makes it impossible to be sure in every case. In at least one, the context seems to require the casual reading, because Wisdom uses nan wundor and then almost immediately invokes wonder for much the same idea: he explains that certain stars and constellations only stay in particular areas of the sky, including Ursa: ealle stiorran sigað æfter sunnan samod mid rodere under eorðan grund, he ana stent. Nis þæt nan wundor; he is wundrum east… . (M29.14b–17, emphasis added).34

It makes little sense to say that Ursa remaining after all the other stars have set is no wonder when cause for Ursa remaining is itself a wonder, and that is revealed only after the ‘nan wundor’ clause. One of these uses of wundor cannot have its full force as a cognitive emotion. Most likely, it is no wonder that Ursa is alone because of its extreme eastern location, and wundrum merely suggests the size of the distance, not a true cognitive emotion. The same holds true for negative formations: does ‘no wonder’ mean simply ‘of course’ or ‘I expected that’? Or does the phrasing convey, ‘Seriously: do not waste cognitive emotion on this’? Occasionally, the Boethius uses ‘no wonder’ in casual ways: when Wisdom says ‘Nis hit nan wundor þeah þu getiorie, gif ic þe læde bi ðæm wege’ [It is no wonder though you tire, if I lead you along this path, P31.12–13], he does not mean ‘do not waste your awe’ but simply ‘of course you will tire’. In more cases, however, ‘no wonder’ is used literally to underscore a lesson that Wisdom has already taught: do not wonder at this now. For instance, the narrator expresses surprise that God allows evil people to have power; Wisdom argues that because the evil really want good but never obtain it, they are truly powerless. To reinforce the point, Wisdom sings ‘Nis ðæt nan wundor’ [That is no wonder, M25.61] about the true powerlessness of unrighteous kings. Wisdom is not dismissing the idea but reminding the narrator and the reader that we should not be surprised 33 34

This passage, corresponding to 3m4.1–2, has no wonder word in Latin. [All stars descend after the sun together with the sky under the earth’s foundation; [Ursa] remains alone. That is no wonder: it is wonderfully far east… .].

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at this. Another such instance appears at M29.93–96, where ‘Nis þæt nan wundor’ begins the last sentence of the meter, reinforcing the meter as a whole: do not wonder at God’s power and control because Wisdom has just explained it. These refusals of wonder have an element of paradox. The narrator may wonder at some times and not at others. The framework that Bynum and Daston and Park laid out helps explain what is happening: wonder is for that which exceeds one’s grasp, and at these moments, the points are within the narrator’s comprehension (as much as they can be for a human being). Wisdom directs the narrator’s wonder in order to direct his learning, telling him (and thus the audience) what he should and should not seek to understand more fully. Modern psychologists do not often study ‘wonder’ as such but rather ‘awe’. Alexander Danvers and Michelle Shiota write, ‘Awe is an emotion elicited by vast, unfamiliar stimuli such as panoramic views, great works of architecture and art, and astonishing human accomplishments.’35 This sense is very much in line with ‘a prodigy’ from Bosworth-Toller, and Danvers and Shiota’s ‘panoramic views’ include ‘a vast, brilliant sunset or the night sky’, which the Boethius evokes as wundra (see below and esp. Boethius Meters 20 and 28). As noted above, human artistry elicits wundor in the Boethius as well. I do not use the Modern English ‘awe’ in part because while it is a reflex of the Old English ‘ege’, the Old English ege rarely conveys the same mix of emotion and cognition as OE wundor or ModE wonder, instead meaning ‘fear’ or ‘dread’.36 It can be used for what we would call ‘awe’, and the prosimetrum Boethius does so twice, but with the added element of ‘fear’ that is not always present in ‘wonder’. I also do not use the modern ‘awe’ because psychologists such as Danvers and Shiota define it as a positive emotion, while wundor can sometimes be a negative one.37 Psychologists’ work on awe can still inform our understanding of wonder: recent studies in psychology 35

36

37

Alexander F. Danvers and Michelle N. Shiota, ‘Going Off Script: Effects of Awe on Memory for Script-Typical and -Irrelevant Narrative Detail’, Emotion, 17:6 (2017), 938–952, DOI: 10.1037/emo0000277. Wonder is also associated with awe in an instrument used to determine dispositions: ‘The Awe scale consists of six items, such as “I often feel awe” and “I feel wonder almost every day”’, Michelle N. Shiota, Dacher Keltner, and Amanda Mossman, ‘The Nature of Awe: Elicitors, Appraisals, and Effects on Self-Concept’, Cognition and Emotion, 21:5 (2007), 944–963, at p. 956, DOI: 10.1080/02699930600923668. The Dictionary of Old English defines ege first as ‘fear, terror, dread’ and only second as ‘awe, respectful fear, reverence’. Angus Cameron, Ashley Crandell Amos, Antonette diPaolo Healey, et al. (eds), Dictionary of Old English: A to I online (Toronto: Dictionary of Old English Project, 2018), . Danvers and Shiota; also Michelle Shiota, ‘Why We Need Awe’, Humanities Institute lecture, University of South Florida, 17 November 2016. In ‘The Nature of Awe’, Shiota, Keltner, and Mossman allow for the possibility of awe as negative, but none of the respondents in their first study described any negative experiences when asked to describe a time in which they felt awe, ‘The Nature of Awe’, p. 950.



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have found that awe primes the mind to accept new information and process arguments better than other emotions do.38 The experience of awe also leads the subject to make cognitive accommodation, to alter mental schemas or create new ones to take new knowledge into account.39 Individuals who tested higher for awe as a disposition also tested lower on need for cognitive closure: they seem to be ‘especially comfortable revising their own mental structures, or acknowledging that currently held mental structures are not adequate to the occasion’.40 So too wonder makes the narrator and readers or hearers of the text more receptive to what Wisdom teaches and better able to adapt their mental models to new information – or adopt new models entirely. Wonder as a context-bound, simultaneously cognitive and emotional encounter increases in the second half of the Boethius, where three-quarters of the wundr- and waf– stem words appear and few are negative or casual. Now that the narrator has come out of his funk and begun to participate in learning, and the text’s audience has learned some of the foundational terms and methods of the Boethius, Wisdom can use that wonder to convey key points effectively. These occurrences of wonder words cover a broader range of objects and phenomena than we might expect, from clothing (as mentioned above) to other kinds of artistry, but are used in the text more for God and his work of creation than for any other single thing. Thus, Wisdom sings of God in Meter 20: [E]ala, min drihten, þæt þu eart ælmihtig, micel, modilic, mærþum gefræge and wundorlic witena gehwylcum (M20.1–3).41

First, we see an emotional response, as expressed by the interjection eala and the personal pronoun min – where the Latin meter, Joel Relihan notes, avoids personal pronouns.42 Wisdom then adds to the emotion a more intellectual contemplation of the attributes of God and creation. Meter 20 translates the Neoplatonic Latin Book 3 Meter 9, ‘O qui perpetua’, a hymn praising God in direct address as the creator of a highly ordered and balanced universe. The second sentence of the Old English meter transfers the epithet wundorlic from God to his work in the universe, changing it from adjective to adverb to say that God made creations ‘wonderfully well’: 38 39

40 41

42

See Danvers and Shiota, ‘Going Off Script’. Dacher Keltner and Jonathan Haidt, ‘Approaching Awe, A Moral, Spiritual, and Aesthetic Emotion’, Cognition and Emotion, 17:2 (2003), pp. 297–314, DOI: 10.1080/02699930302297; see also Shiota, Keltner, and Mossman, ‘The Nature of Awe’. Shiota, Keltner, and Mossman, ‘The Nature of Awe’, p. 958. [Oh, my lord, you are almighty, great, noble in mind, famed for glories, and wonderful to all wise men]. Joel C. Relihan (trans. and ed.), Boethius: Consolation of Philosophy (Indianapolis, 2001), p. 176, nn. to IIIM9.

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Hwæt, ðu, ece God ealra gesceafta, wundorlice wel gesceope ungesewenlica, and eac swa same gesewenlicra  softe wealdest scirra gesceafta… . (M20.4–8a).43

The meter exclaims at God’s greatness: all works, visible or invisible, are so well made that they inspire human minds to admiration, which in turn provokes these minds to learn new ways of thinking. Wisdom leads the narrator from mourning worldly goods to a consideration of God’s goodness as far superior and an understanding of divine order that eluded him at the outset. In a psychological model of wonder, the emotion helps the narrator discard his model of a universe in chaos and misery for a cosmos with God both all good and all powerful, keeping everything in order. The Latin meter runs twenty-eight hexameter lines, inspiring wonder both in what it describes and how it describes it: this rich, intricate meter has long been the most admired part of the Latin Consolation. Yet it never uses any words from the Latin family of wonder words. The Old English spends 281 alliterative lines developing the theme. God is the still point in a dynamic universe, a unique good who needs no help, who has bound the naturally contrary elements he created into a stable order, and who has forged our three-fold souls. The words wundor, wundorlic, and wundorlice occur eight times in this lengthy, elaborate meter. In the quotation above, visible creations are scir, ‘bright’ or ‘shining’: they catch the eye and thus the mind. Scir and the verb scinan, ‘to shine’, occur four more times in the same meter.44 Thus implicit wonder joins the explicit in appealing descriptions of God’s work and creation with the invocation of the beauty of the earth and heavens. The meter evokes awe in other ways as well. God embraces all of time, ‘from fruman ærest forð oð ende’ [from first beginning to the end, 10]. The four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) appear in all their power. The poem describes how productive they are in combination: earth and air together yield produce (75–78); air draws from both warm and cold and creates wind (79–83). If God did not balance them, they would be terrifyingly destructive: earth without water would be nothing but dust, and nothing could live (100–110); without fire, we would all die, but fire must be kept from devouring everything (110–116). Danvers and Shiota distinguish two distinct emotions in ‘awe blended with fear’ evoked by ‘terrifying events such as natural disasters

43

44

[Oh, you, eternal God of all creations, made wonderfully well the invisible, and also likewise the visible, shining creations that you gently control…]. Scir appears at 20.8 (quoted above). The world is a ‘scire scell’ [bright shell, 174]. Stars shine in a clear or bright night at 229 [þa sciran neaht], and this is one occurrence of scinan: ‘Ealle hi scinað’ [They all shine, in the same line]; the other, also about stars, is at 231.



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and extreme weather’, but medieval authors could include them both in wonder, as Bynum notes and as we see here.45 Though the poet punctuates the meter with wonder words that often make explicit this cognitive emotion for the reader, he does not always use the terms as simple positives, making it an excellent microcosm of the larger text. One usage in the first quarter of the meter paradoxically asserts that in fact the work of God is no wonder because it is the work of God: Lyft is gemenged, forþæm hio on middum wunað; nis þæt nan wundor þæt hio sie wearm and ceald, wæt wolcnes tier, winde geblonden, forðæm hio is on midle, mine gefræge, fyres and eorðan (M20.79–83a).46

Wisdom says not to wonder at the sky’s multi-zone climate control. God is wundorlic and he has shaped the universe wundorlice: admiration should go to creator and not creation as earlier it went to the clothing maker and not the wearer. A little later in the meter, Wisdom declares, ‘Ne þincð me þæt wundur wuhte þe læsse …’ [Nor does that wonder seem to me any the less, M20.117] that the God who balances hot and cold in this way made each creation contain its own fire without being burned. So first it is no wonder that God can do anything, but then one should not wonder any less at the next aspect of God’s power. Wonder depends on one’s perspective and current knowledge. When should one wonder, and when should one not? This question has particular import because wonder provokes learning, so one should wonder at things that are proper to know, not at those that are trivial or inappropriate for human beings.47 The Boethius is not fully consistent about when one may wonder at particular creations and when one should not be surprised at anything God does or makes. The narrator’s questioning of God expressed as ‘wonder’ may seem part of this paradox, but it also highlights what the narrator does not yet know, as in Prose 24: ‘Hwa mæg forberan þæt he þæt ne siofige and swelcre wæfðe ne wundrige, ðætte æfre swylc yfel geweorðan sceolde under ðæs ælmihtgan Godes anwalde… ?’ [Who may forbear, that he neither laments nor wonders at such a marvel, that ever such evil should happen under the power of almighty God… ? P24.17–19]. Eleven times the narrator frames challenges to God as ‘wondering’.48 Wisdom answers

45 46

47

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Danvers and Shiota, ‘Going Off Script’, p. 944; Bynum, p. 15. [The air is mixed, because it remains in the middle; it is no wonder that it is warm and cold, a wet condensation of cloud, stirred by the wind, for it is in the middle between fire and earth, I have heard]. For seeking to know things one should not, see my ‘Knowledge and Rebellion in the Old English Boethius’, in A. Joseph McMullen and Erica Weaver (eds), The Legacy of Boethius in Medieval England: The Consolation and its Afterlives (Tempe, AZ, 2018), pp. 19–34. P24.8–11, twice in 24.11–17 and P24.17–20, P24.21–24, P27.80–82, P28.16–20,

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such queries from a position of knowledge, dispelling the narrator’s doubts through a discourse too long and complex to summarize here. The text’s use of wæfðo with wundor here, previously associated with stupor, suggests that the narrator may not be thinking clearly. Ultimately, the narrator’s wonderings at God reveal his own limited perspective, especially as compared with Wisdom or God. He begins such wonderings in the second half but abandons them early in Prose 32 as he embraces the kinds of wonder that Wisdom approves. Yet the Boethius does not reduce all such wonderings to stupor. While at some moments the text discourages wonder at specific phenomena, at others, it encourages even wonder that may seem inappropriate or too daring.49 Bynum writes that ‘medieval thinkers’ denied that ‘we [could] wonder at that which we fully understand’ (3). Similarly, Daston and Park write that ‘Wonder as a passion registered the line between the known and the unknown’ (13). Yet gaining knowledge is a process, and there is rarely a clear finish line where one has completed the course. Bynum notes that Thomas Aquinas believed that Christ experienced wonder in his human nature, though in his divinity there was nothing he did not know. So too Wisdom in the Boethius sometimes shares in human wonder when heavenly wisdom would presumably know all. Brian McFadden argues that Bynum overstates the opposition between wonder and knowledge, because Augustine proposes that those things that excite admiration also bring grace and good will (10, quoting De utilitate credendi).50 I use Bynum’s phrase with emphasis on the adverb, ‘fully understand’, and reiterate all three scholars’ insistence on the perspectival nature of wonder. For as Wisdom teaches near the end of the Boethius, human beings will never have the capacity for knowledge that God does; we are limited by our nature as temporal beings. We will ultimately know more than we know now, but we will never fully know in the way that God does. The closing chapters treat questions of eternity and how knowledge must fit the capacity of the knower. Wisdom’s last words before the exhortation to his audience are about what God always does and never does, stressing the distance between us and God even as he urges his audience to do all we can to bridge that distance. As the narrator and audiences become more educated about wonder, we can think more critically about when wonder is an appropriate response. Benedicta Ward identifies

49

50

P28.21–22, P28.22–28, P32.8–10. For four of these passages, the source text has –mir– words; for two, stupor or stupens; for the others, nothing comparable. Malcolm Godden argues that the Boethius and the Soliloquies are too bold to have been written by a king: ‘The Alfredian Project and its Aftermath: Rethinking the Literary History of the Ninth and Tenth Centuries’, Sir Israel Gollancz Memorial Lecture, 15 January 2009, Proceedings of the British Academy, 162 (2009), 93–122, esp. 107–110. Brian McFadden, ‘Narrative, the Miraculous, and the Marvelous in AngloSaxon Prose’ (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Notre Dame, 1999).



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three levels of wonder: wonder provoked by the acts of God visible daily and discerned by wise men as signs of God’s goodness; wonder provoked in the ignorant, who did not understand the workings of nature and therefore could be amazed by what to the wise man was not unusual; and wonder provoked by genuine miracles, unusual manifestations of the power of God…51

The Boethius seeks to avoid the second of these while valuing the first and third. Readers must be alert so that they do not fall into Ward’s category of ‘the ignorant’, which is equivalent to the Boethius’s ‘dysig’ [foolish or ignorant], invoked more than two dozen times in the prosimetrum, and three times singled out for wondering when they should not.52 People will always wonder, but Wisdom sometimes redirects vain wonderings to more productive considerations. The density of wonder words continues to increase in the second half of the text. The third quarter of the Boethius alone (P19.95–P26.39) features twenty-eight occurrences. Sixteen of those express wonder as a valid intellectual and emotional response, nearly all at God, God’s creation, or Wisdom’s account.53 Thirty-eight wonder words appear in the fourth quarter (P26.80–end). Yet just under half of these express wonder as a real phenomenon; the others deny wonder or are discourse markers. Both wonder and denials that one should wonder increase towards the end of the text.54 This distribution contrasts somewhat with the Latin text, whose –mir– words rise to a noticeable peak in Book 4, which has half of the Latin’s thirty-two occurrences. Graph One charts the occurrences of Latin and Old English based on Latin book number. The Latin Consolation never uses the –mir– root in Book 5. Daston and Park write of wonder as ‘a prelude to divine contemplation’ (14); Boethius’s Book 4 uses wonder just that way, and, prelude finished, moves on to ‘divine contemplation’ in Book 5. Perhaps in the Latin, as in Bynum’s view, wonder becomes less appropriate as knowledge becomes more complete – though never total – in the Latin. The Old English emphasizes wonder until closer to the end, mingling wonder and contemplation even more than the Latin source text. The Old English text thus both increases and complicates wonder: wonder at God is appropriate as a recognition of ineffability and yet inappropriate when it verges on surprise or disbelief at a Creator whose 51

52 53

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Benedicta Ward, Miracles and the Medieval Mind: Theory, Record, and Event, 10001215 (Philadelphia, 1982), pp. 3–4. For the role of the dysig in the Boethius, see my The King’s English: Strategies of Translation in the Old English Boethius (Albany, NY, 2005), esp. pp. 90–94. P7.106–107, P25.112–114, and M28.64b–69. M20.1–3, M20.4–7, M20.86–89, M20.100–102, M20.161–164a, M20.218–224, P20.108–110, M21.31–33, P21.72–74, P21.74–77, P22.126–128, P22.128–130, P22.142–145, P22.152–154, P24.3–5, and P25.1–2. The trend in the prose-only B text is similar but not quite as marked.

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

1

6

Number of -mir- words

Bk 2

5

Bk 3

Bk 4 Number of wundr- words

16

0 Bk 5

7

Graph 2.1. Occurrences of Latin and Old English based on Latin book number in Boethius

Lat Bk 1

5

11

23

35



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omnipotence one must recognize. The text moves from the narrator’s early inwardness and depression, combatted by Wisdom’s pointed questioning, to a more outward and upward focus. Where the Latin text leaves wonder words behind, the Old English continues to use them until very near the end of the text. Wisdom himself embraces appropriate wonder to redirect the narrator’s cynical wonderings to proper emotional and cognitive experiences of the divine. Wonder in turn prepares the narrator’s and readers’ minds to accept new views of how the universe works. The narrator also increasingly wonders at another appropriate object, Wisdom’s discourse, and thus the text itself. He repeatedly expresses amazement at Wisdom’s verbal art, starting in Prose 11 in the quotation given at the outset of this essay. Wisdom echoes the narrator’s inner thoughts a little later, ‘Ic ongeat sona, þa ðu swa wel geswugodes and swa lustlice geherdest mina lara, þæt þu woldest mid innewearde mode hi ongiton and smeagean’ [I understood at once, when you silenced yourself so well and so fervently heard my teaching, that you wanted to understand and contemplate it with your inward mind, P11.17–19]: wonder has led to silence. The narrator models a potential audience response to the text, and Wisdom encourages it. These are the first two demonstrations of the narrator’s deepening engagement with Wisdom’s teaching to invoke wonder; eight more times, the narrator expresses wonder at Wisdom’s discourse.55 A little later, after the narrator recapitulates the argument so far about God’s goodness, unity, and control of creation, and the nothingness of evil, Wisdom corrects the narrator for finding his speech confusing: ‘ðe sæde swiðe lang spell and wundorlic and swiðe gesceadlice be ðæm Gode ðe wit unc gefyrn to gebædon’ [I told you a very long and wonderful discourse, and very wisely, concerning God about whom we two prayed before, P22.143–145]. Wisdom even admires the narrator’s response (‘wundrode’, [wondered], P22.78) when the narrator agrees that those doing evil have no real power, even though they will it. Discourse can invoke wonder. Expressions of awe at Wisdom’s account peak just past the middle of the text, in Meter 20 and the subsequent three prose sections. Later, Wisdom himself falls into silent contemplation as he finishes three of his last four meters in the book: ‘Ða he þa þis lioð asungen hæfde, þa geswugode he ane hwile’ [When he had sung this song, then he fell silent for a little while, P28.1–2; see also P29.1–2 and P32.1–2]. The Boethius tells us how we should react to the text itself: with wonder and contemplative silence. The Verse Preface declares that the C-text’s songs have been designed to avoid ‘ælinge’ [tedium, see above]; in its place, it offers wonder. The prose version already presented an admirable work of art, but the prosimetrum offers something even more remarkable: more intricate verbal bindings to reflect the binding of the elements and forces that the Boethius 55

P20.108–110, P22.126–128, P22.128–130, P24.3–5, P25.1–2, P27.33–36, P27.162– 163, P31.13–15.

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describes. The text combines the wonders of nature and of art in elaborate pieces such as Meter 20, that 281-line philosophical poem treated earlier. It does so more implicitly but still impressively elsewhere in the text, both in meters and in prose. The prosimetrum has added six words for wonder to the prose-only version, all in the meters.56 The full work both expresses wonder in wundor words and excites it with its own verbal and structural artistry. It begins with a short prose preface, a short verse preface, an 83-line meter giving the background of the book, and then the lachrymose meter sung by the narrator before it embarks on a regular alternation of prose and verse. As Malcolm Godden writes, ‘This is a work which announces itself, both in the prefaces and in the form of its opening, as a poem not a prose text.’57 Readers may be surprised and intrigued to find a prosimetrum, particularly after such an opening. This disruption of expectations activates wonder in the audience. As it nears its end, however, the Boethius moves away from both virtuosity and overt wonder. After Meter 23, two prose sections appear before Meter 24; after Meter 29, two prose sections appear before Meter 30. The text ends not with a meter but with Prose 33. The last two overt invocations of wonder come from Wisdom responding to the narrator’s wonder in Prose 32 (97–98 and 117–118). The final chapter of the text, Prose 33, replaces the vocabulary of wonder with that of prayer, telling the narrator – and thus the audience – ‘Hebbað eower mod to him mid eowrum hondum…’ [Raise your mind to him with your hands, 33.50]. Wonder turns into a direct engagement with the source of wonder, God himself. The Boethius both evokes wonder explicitly through frequent use of wonder words and provokes it implicitly, through verbal and structural artistry, to awaken intellect and passion in audiences, which in turn helps them open their minds to new mental models. It paradoxically denies and celebrates wonder about both the earthly and the divine, asking us to adopt perspectives alternately human and divine. When the Boethius has reached the limits of its verbal expression, it directs audiences to God, whom the text has already identified as the source of all wonders. Both the narrator and Wisdom model the experience of wonder in relation to the divine for readers and hearers. Invocations of wonder near the end of the text, evident in wonder words and in silent contemplation, continue well after the Latin has left wonder behind. For the Boethius, wonder does not

56

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See especially M15.1–4, M20.100–102, M28.59b–61a, and M29.17, where the words alliterate and have no equivalent in Latin either. In M28.76–84, the word alliterates and adds a repetition with variation of a wonder word from the prose (wundrian at B39.78, already in the OE verse as wæfþo in the same sentence), which in turn elaborates the Latin ‘stupet’ (4m5.20). In M28.44b–49a, the word (wafian) does not alliterate but still lacks an equivalent in the Latin. Malcolm R. Godden, ‘Editing Old English and the Problem of Alfred’s Boethius’, in D. G. Scragg and Paul E. Szarmach (eds), The Editing of Old English: Papers from the 1990 Manchester Conference (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 163–176, at p. 166.



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cease with the concluding words of the text but remains as an exercise for the reader. I began this chapter by recalling the narrator’s wonder at Wisdom’s discourse and my own wonder when I began to study with Katherine. Her teaching and research have inspired many students and colleagues alike to wonder at the beauty and terror that early medieval English culture can hold for us, and to admire her own research and writing. We both celebrate her work and carry it on in our own wonderings.

3 The Desiring Mind: Embodying Affect in the Old English Pastoral Care Jennifer A. Lorden

P

ope Gregory would have been happier living as a monk. So he explains himself, writing the Regula pastoralis after having been wrenched from a life of secluded contemplation and thrust into the limelight of the papacy in 590. Therefore, his Regula pastoralis arises, as he says, from more than merely his practical desire to instruct the ministers over whom he has authority. The once-reluctant Gregory seeks to address why he had earlier balked at this responsibility, ‘[p]astoralis curae me pondera fugere delitescendo uoluisse’1 [had wished to flee from the burdens of pastoral care by concealing myself]. By explaining his circumstances, he seeks moreover to impress upon other ministers the necessity of that reluctance, the magnitude of pastoral responsibility, and the caution demanded by one taking such responsibility upon themselves. From there, ministers are instructed in the means of ministering to various kinds of people in various circumstances – the joyful must temper their joy with sadness, the sad must recall joy. For all circumstances, there are necessary admonitions. Gregory first expounds upon how difficult his own burdens seem to him, how warily the power and authority of positions such as his own ought to be approached, and, from thence, how others who govern should approach this task when it falls to them. To Gregory, power should never be actively sought, and all to whom it might fall must criticize their own motives.2 But the Old English translation of the Regula pastoralis has its own problems. In the ninth-century English court of King Alfred the Great, the text similarly positions itself as the work of an authority figure, in this case ostensibly a translation by the king himself. Yet while Gregory treats

1

2

Gregory’s Regula pastoralis, cited from Bruno Judic, Floribert Rommel, and Charles Morel (eds), Grégoire le Grand: Règle pastorale, 2 vols, Sources chrétiennes 381 and 382 (Paris, 1992), I: Epistolary Preface (p. 124, lines 3–4). Hereafter cited as Regula pastoralis. Translations my own. Regula pastoralis, I: I.i. (p. 128, lines 1–9). On the rhetoric of Gregory’s self-presentation, see Julia Dietrich, ‘Knowledge and Virtue in the Regula pastoralis of Gregory the Great: The Development of Christian Argumentation for the Late Sixth Century’, Journal of Late Antiquity, 8:1 (2015), 136–167.



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authority as a burden to be assumed, the Old English text laments the vulnerability of English authority: ða gemunde ic eac hu ic geseah, ærðæmðe hit eall forhergod wære ⁊ forbærned, hu ða ciricean giond eall Angelcynn stodon maðma ⁊ boca gefyldæ ond eac micel menigeo Godes ðiowa ⁊ ða swiðe lytle fiorme ðara boca wiston.3 [Then I remembered how I saw, before they were all plundered and burnt, how the churches stood throughout all England filled with treasures and books and also there was a great number of God’s servants, and those knew very little benefit from those books.]

Both politically and intellectually, England stands under threat – books and treasures standing useless within churches now harried and burned. External invaders threaten the king’s political authority, while the diminished state of learning under such circumstances undermines English intellectual authority, and by extension, moral authority as well. The implicit connection between the two is clear – Alfred’s model of kingship requires fortifying the land both within and without. As in Gregory’s opening chapters, pastoral authority in such a time figures as a tremendous burden both described and performed by the text. Although monarchal authority is of a different kind than pastoral authority, the rhetoric of the preface positions Alfred’s assumption of the former as an instance of the latter in its vision of educational reforms. In this way, the fairly faithful translation of Gregory’s Regula presents itself as an embodiment of the king’s own pastoral care for his people. But some changes have to be made. For one, the Old English Pastoral Care never straightforwardly condemns nor entirely sanctions the desire for power, instead expanding and qualifying discussion of the ruler’s moral obligations. In her essay, ‘Inside, Outside, Conduct and Judgment: King Alfred Reads the Regula pastoralis’, Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe shows how the Old English translation handles Gregory’s conception of interior and exterior states, by which Gregory ‘distinguish[es] the world, with its cares and demands, from the thoughts and desires of individual subjects’.4 The Old English, she argues, downplays this distinction as it 3

4

Henry Sweet (ed.), King Alfred’s West-Saxon Version of Gregory’s Pastoral Care, Early English Text Society Original Series, 45, 50 (London, 1871), First Prose Preface (pp. 4–5); see below on the significance of the translation’s Alfredian connections and the implications of the Alfredian authorship question for the present discussion. Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Inside, Outside, Conduct and Judgment: King Alfred Reads the Pastoral Care’, in Silvana Serafin and Patrizia Lendinara (eds), ‘Un serto di fiori in man recando’: Scritti in onore di Maria Amalia D’ Aronco (2 vols, Udine, 2008), pp. 333–345, at p. 333. On the ways that Gregory’s ideas of interiority and exteriority interact with the early English conception of the mind as a container, see Benjamin A. Saltzman, ‘The Mind, Perception and the Reflexivity of Forgetting in Alfred’s Pastoral Care’, Anglo-Saxon England,

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focuses instead on action, intention, and appropriate uses of power. As she argues, the Old English is ‘driven by a political consciousness marked by anxiety about power and the desire for it’.5 In this anxiety, the Old English Pastoral Care shares many of Gregory’s fixations, yet must negotiate power, desire, and moral reflection in a way more practicable in the cultural and political milieu of early medieval England, separated in history and geography from Gregory’s papal court. That is, it must allow for power fit for a king. Building on O’Brien O’Keeffe’s work, the present essay demonstrates that these changes reflect not only the different political and historical context in which the translation was produced, but a different conception of emotion, and of proper emotional engagement with desire and morality. There is another reason that Gregory’s distinction between the internal mind and the outside world cannot hold in the Old English. Leslie Lockett’s work has illuminated the early English vernacular understanding of embodied cognition, with its implications for how mental and affective states function and interact with other forms of behavior. Since both thought and feeling were understood to be located in the chest cavity, the early English ‘could not have developed or adopted the metonymic mapping that pits the rational head against the impassioned heart’.6 The pre-Conquest understanding of psychology was not monolithic or simple, however; as Lockett has shown, this ‘folk’ understanding existed alongside and in tension with versions of ‘classical psychology’.7 And as Lockett has argued in the present volume, English glosses to copies of the works of Prudentius in the tenth and eleventh centuries bear witness to extensive engagement with his ‘moderately materialist’ psychology, in which the human soul ‘is spatially localized and bounded’ and possesses perception, mental faculties, and agency over the body – a psychology that contrasted with those of Augustine or Boethius, as well as the vernacular

5 6

7

42 (2013), 147–182, at 153–165. On the understanding of the mind as enclosure more generally, see Leslie Lockett, Anglo-Saxon Psychologies in the Vernacular and Latin Traditions (Toronto, 2011); Britt Mize, ‘The Representation of the Mind as an Enclosure in Old English Poetry’, Anglo-Saxon England, 35 (2006), 57–90; Mize, ‘Manipulations of the Mind-as-Container Motif in Beowulf, Homiletic Fragment II, and Alfred’s Metrical Epilogue to the Pastoral Care’, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 107:1 (2008), 25–56; and Mize, Traditional Subjectivities: The Old English Poetics of Mentality (Toronto, 2013). O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Inside, Outside, Conduct and Judgment’, p. 336. Leslie Lockett, ‘The Limited Role of the Brain in Mental and Emotional Activity According to Anglo-Saxon Medical Learning’, in Alice Jorgensen, Frances McCormack, and Jonathan Wilcox (eds), Anglo-Saxon Emotions: Reading the Heart in Old English Language, Literature and Culture (Farnham, UK, 2015), pp. 35–51, at p. 36. See also Lockett, Anglo-Saxon Psychologies, esp. pp. 11–13 and pp. 19–43. Leslie Lockett, ‘Prudentius’s Apotheosis and Hamartigenia in Early Medieval England’, above, pp. 13–33, at pp. 26–27.



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tradition.8 In the ninth-century translation of the Pastoral Care, however, the vernacular psychological framework of the embodied mind, as I will argue, underlies the shift from interiority to action in the Old English text. The Old English apparently licenses more, and condemns less. It modifies Gregory’s admonitions of all affective states within a paradigm that requires proper affect to coincide with proper action. Maintaining space for affect represents a further implication of the idea of embodied cognition, and demonstrates the importance of affective control in devotional contexts long before the affective devotion recognized in later centuries.9 Through shifting and expanding explanations of the correct way to admonish others and how to manage one’s own relationship to authority, the Old English consistently leaves room for emotional states in a way not found in the Latin original. Where, for example, the Latin straightforwardly condemns pride, the Old English explains how joy [gefea] for good works must be tempered with grief [unrotnes] for evil ones.10 Moreover, in lieu of Gregory’s diametrically-opposed dichotomies – the rich and the poor, the joyful and the sad, the prosperous and the afflicted – in which all need admonition one way or another, modifiers added to the translation open a slender middle ground between Gregory’s extremes and admonish only excessive states. This additional space, left for positive affect in particular, allows new avenues for feeling to define the moral character of action and ways of being. These subtle shifts in emphasis delicately decline to criticize all alike, as Gregory had, revealing the practical concerns of their early English translator. As we shall see, this opening of possibility for sanctioned, positive emotion also reflects the importance of feeling to religious devotion more generally, both in the text’s rhetorical positioning and in the broader religious context in which the translation was produced. In what follows, I will first examine several moments at which the Old English translation introduces modifiers that subtly shift allowable feeling, particularly as feeling relates to desire and action. Next I will place these readings in the context of the translation’s self-framing to consider the import of these shifts. In the end, the Old English Pastoral Care does not only withhold criticism of feeling and desire, but offers a nuanced meditation upon them. 8 9

10

Lockett, ‘Prudentius’s Apotheosis and Hamartigenia’, p. 28. For arguments noting the importance of affective devotion and its conventions to those of devotional poetry in early medieval England, see Scott DeGregorio, ‘Affective Spirituality: Theory and Practice in Bede and Alfred the Great’, Essays in Medieval Studies, 22 (2005), 129–139; Helen Foxhall Forbes, ‘Affective Piety and the Practice of Penance in Late-Eleventh-Century Worcester: The Address to the Penitent in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Junius 121’, Anglo-Saxon England, 44 (2015), 309–345; and Jennifer A. Lorden, ‘Learning to Feel: Affect and Piety in Anglo-Saxon Verse’ (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, 2018). Regula pastoralis, I: Epistolary Preface (p. 126, lines 20–26); Pastoral Care, Second Prose Preface (p. 25).

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The affective concerns of the Old English Pastoral Care help to explain the difficulties introduced by the translation’s shifts away from Gregory’s understanding of right behavior and towards a revised understanding more appropriate to its own context. The figure of Gregory the unlikely pope appears in the Latin as one who turns to the cares of the world only reluctantly; the figure of Alfred the unlikely king at the beginning of the Old English must turn reluctant learners back from a world in crisis. As O’Brien O’Keeffe has demonstrated, the translation of the Regula pastoralis shies away from condemning the desire for and pursuit of power. In one example, the Latin warns, post autem magisterium quod a non quaerente suscipitur, uita commendet; ac deinde necesse est ut pastoris bonum quod uiuendo ostenditur, etiam loquendo propagatur. Ad extremum uero superest ut perfecta quaeque opera consideratio propriae infirmitatis deprimat, ne haec ante occulti arbitris oculos tumor elationis exstinguat.11 [Then after an office has been assumed by one not seeking it, let his life approve it; then it is also necessary that the good of the shepherd that is displayed in his living is also extended in his speaking. Finally, it remains truly that contemplation of his own weakness weighs down that of his accomplished deeds, nor may the tumor of self-exaltation extinguish this weakness before the eyes of the hidden judge.]

Gregory asserts a necessary humility, persisting through and indeed an integral part of the pastor’s duties, which must not have been sought. But here the Old English ‘omit[s] the concept of desire for power’ entirely from its translation of the passage, focusing solely on how power should be held and passing over in silence how it might have been obtained: befæste he mid his lifes bisenum ða lare ðæm ðe his wordum ne geliefen; ⁊ ðonne he god weorc wyrce, gemyne he ðæs yfeles ðe he worhte, ðette sio unrotnes, ðe he for ðæm yflan weorcum hæbbe, gemetige ðone gefean ðe he for ðæm godan weorcum hæfde; ðylæs he beforan ðæs dieglan deman eagum sie ahafen on his mode ⁊ on ofermettum aðunden, ⁊ ðonne ðurh ðæt selflice his godan weorc forleose.12 [Let him secure his teaching by the examples of his life for those that do not believe him by his words, and when he does a good deed, may he remember the evil that he has wrought, that the sadness that he has for the evil deeds may moderate the joy that he had for the good deeds, lest he become raised 11

12

Regula pastoralis, I: Epistolary Preface (p. 126, lines 20–26). See discussion of this passage in O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Inside, Outside, Conduct and Judgment’, pp. 336–337; emphasis my own. Pastoral Care, Prose Preface (p. 25); see discussion of this in O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Inside, Outside, Conduct and Judgment’, pp. 336–337.



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up in his spirit before the hidden Judge, and puffed up with pride, and then through that self-regard lose his good deeds.]

Both the Latin and the Old English revolve around a ruler’s potential temptation to feel pride in good works. But the latter lines, too, undergo a different transformation: while the Latin advocates that pride in these necessary good works should be diminished by the remembrance of one’s infirmitas, the Old English frames this negotiation in terms of an explicitly affective moderation – sadness for bad deeds must temper joy for good deeds. Further, the implication remains that some joy [gefea] in one’s own good works is not amiss, moderated rather than burdened by knowledge of infirmitas. The sins of being raised up in one’s own mind, or being prideful (ahafen on his mode [raised up in his spirit], ofermet [pride], selflic [self-regarding]), would be separate cases. By licensing joy but requiring that it be tempered by sober contemplation [unrotnes], the Old English substitutes a different understanding of self-governance based more explicitly on emotional control. The Old English continues to develop an affective balancing act – advocating not merely restraint from pride, but a continual moderation of pious joy and grief in concert. Indeed, the negotiation between joy and sobriety, or a joy tempered by sadness, gestures toward a complex negotiation with desire generally, as an integral affective component of right behavior. Moreover, as the translation ‘remove[s] the metaphysical distinction of intus and foras’ from Gregory and ‘replac[es] it with a moral observation that God sees and judges our thoughts’,13 the moral character of those thoughts takes on additional affective contours that had not been present in Gregory’s original. O’Brien O’Keeffe shows how the elision of inside and outside from Gregory introduces new epistemological difficulties when it locates desire in the mod and illustrates further how the depths of the mind remain hidden from the mind itself, if not from God.14 These problems remain as the translation moves from this distinction of intus and foras ‘to behavior in a distinction between appearance and intention’.15 Yet it crucially goes some distance toward managing unknowable intentions by building in affective controls to temper the desire it has newly licensed. Counterintuitively, controlling affect requires lifting the caution that Gregory extends to all affective states. Rather than weighing down pride in good deeds, then, the translation admits tempered joy. In navigating between license and control, the Old English Pastoral Care considers the psychological practicalities of devotion anew. Kathleen 13 14

15

O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Inside, Outside, Conduct and Judgment’, p. 339. O’Brien O’Keeffe presents a full exploration of the complications of the epistemology of the OE translation in ‘Inside, Outside, Conduct and Judgment’, esp. pp. 342–344. On the pervasive concern with secrecy and God’s knowledge of all secrets, see Benjamin A. Saltzman, Bonds of Secrecy: Law, Spirituality and the Literature of Concealment in Early Medieval England (Philadelphia, 2019). O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Inside, Outside, Conduct and Judgment’, p. 344.

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Davis has demonstrated that the translation emphasizes ‘explicit engagement with the issue of subject formation’16 through the processes of learning, understanding, and memory,17 while Benjamin Saltzman has shown that the translation retains the Gregorian concern with the pastor or ruler’s potential to ‘[forget] one’s own self entirely’ in ‘the act of concealing one’s self from oneself’.18 As Saltzman shows, the translation stretches the possibilities of Old English syntax to capture the essential danger of self-concealment that Gregory warns against.19 The translation leaves no question of the urgency of self-knowledge and the moral implications of failure to attend to the state of one’s thoughts. Yet to do so, it must both negotiate the limitations of the language in expressing these concepts, and the ways that early English vernacular psychology understood the mind to operate.20 Furthermore, the shift away from Gregory’s conception of interiority requires a new negotiation of the way desire and intention might be perceived and moderated by the will. The balancing of affective states, where one affective impulse comes to modify another and the positive presence of these affects must be given new quarter within the starker Gregorian dichotomies, shows how these thorny psychological and moral questions could be navigated within the context of moral and devotional understandings in early medieval England. It is in this context of moral reckoning that Pastoral Care deliberates on both gefea and unrotness as not only allowable emotions but as necessary to proper moral and devotional understanding. An illustration of this appears in Part III, chapter 3 of the Latin, which warns, Laetis uidelicet inferenda sunt tristia quae sequuntur ex supplicio; tristibus uero inferenda sunt laeta quae promittuntur ex regno. Discant laeti ex minarum asperitate quod timeant; audiant tristes praemiorum gaudia de quibus praesumant21 [to the joyful the sad things that follow from humiliation are to be shown, but to the sad, indeed, the happy things that are promised from the Kingdom. The happy should learn by the bitterness of warnings what they should fear, the sad should hear of the joy of the rewards they may anticipate.]

16

17 18

19

20

21

Kathleen Davis, ‘Time’, in Jacqueline Stodnick and Renée R. Trilling (eds), A Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Studies (Oxford, 2012), pp. 215–234, at p. 216. Davis, ‘Time’, pp. 222–224. Benjamin A. Saltzman, ‘The Mind, Perception and the Reflexivity of Forgetting’, Anglo-Saxon England, 42 (2013), 147–182, at 148. As Saltzman shows, ‘In Old English, this notion of completely reflexive forgetting – the forgetting of one’s own self – was foreign to the very syntax of the language’ (‘The Mind, Perception and the Reflexivity of Forgetting’, p. 150). On the ways that the vernacular tradition of early medieval England conceived of the mind as a corporeal entity existing within the chest cavity, see Lockett, Anglo-Saxon Psychologies, esp. pp. 88–89 Regula pastoralis, II, III.iii. (pp. 272–274, lines 2–7).



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This passage does not find fault with joy or sadness in and of themselves, but recommends to each its opposite. Gregory cautions the joyful lest they fall too easily into the temptations that, for the joyful, may lie closer at hand: Nonnulli autem laeti uel tristes non rebus fiunt, sed consparsionibus exsistunt. Quibus profecto intimandum est quod quaedam uitia quibusdam consparsionibus iuxta sunt. Habent enim laeti ex propinquo luxuriam, tristes iram.22 [Some, however, do not become happy or sad because of their circumstances but because of temperament. To those it must be made known truly that certain defects are associated with certain temperaments. Indeed the happy are held to be near to extravagance and the sad to be near to anger.]

Gregory also advocates moderation of feeling. In his model, however, moderating feeling requires a universal stance of critiquing affective states, since each brings its own dangers. While acknowledging that sadness and joy might arise from either temperament or circumstance, further dangers lie near at hand, in the form of extravagance and anger, and no affective temperament may be endorsed. While the Old English begins by introducing the dichotomy of ða bliðan (the cheerful) and ða unrotan (the sad) just as the Latin does, the discussion immediately introduces a curious further qualification: ‘Ðæm oferbliðum is to cyðanne ða unrotnessa ðe ðæræfter cumað, ⁊ ðam unbliðum sint to cyðanne ða gefean ðe him gehatene sindon’23 [It is to be made known to the overcheerful the sadnesses that come thereafter, and to the unhappy it is to be made known the joys that are promised to them.] Already, two significant changes appear in the Old English – first, that the admonition to the ‘joyful’ in the Latin becomes an admonition to only the over-cheerful before the Old English begins any admonition at all. Second, when the Old English moves on to discussing the weaknesses that threaten particular temperaments, it does not so much warn against the joyful as being prone to particular sins, but shifts the passage toward a discussion of just what kind of joy the joyful should have by adding an additional sentence not found in the Latin: Monige beoð ðeah bliðe ⁊ eac unbliðe ðara ðe for nanum woruldðingum nahwæðer doð, buton for ðæs blodes styringe ⁊ for lichoman medtrymnesse. Suaðeah is ðæm to cyðanne, ðæt hi hie warenigen ægðer ge wið ða ungemetlican blisse ge wið ða ungemetlican unrotnesse, forðæm hira ægðer astyreð sumne unðeaw, ðeah hie ungewealdes cumen of ðæs lichoman medtrymnesse. Đæm oferbliðan oft folgað firenlusð, ⁊ ðæm unrotan ierre.24

22 23 24

Regula pastoralis, II, III.iii. (p. 274, lines 10–14). Gregory’s Pastoral Care, xxvii (p. 187). Gregory’s Pastoral Care, xxvii (pp. 187–189).

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[Many however are joyful or sad for no worldly care, but because of the stirring of the blood and the weakness of the body. It is nevertheless to be made known to them, that they guard both against excessive bliss and against excessive sadness, because either encourages certain vice, although they come not from the will but from the weakness of the body. For those who are over-cheerful, sinful lust follows, and anger for those who are sad.]

Once again, the admonition to the joyful is quietly amended to an admonition only to those who are over-joyful [oferbliðan]. But more strikingly, the added full sentence explains that an excess of sadness or bliss [ungemetlic] leads to sin. Where Gregory had suggested some might have temperaments tending to joy or grief apart from their worldly circumstance, the Old English focus on blodes styringe [stirring of blood] or lichoman medtrymnesse [weakness of body] explicitly distinguishes these states from those that might be subject to the will [ungewealdes], and hence, presumably, to admonition. What the Old English does portray as subject to the individual is a tendency to excess, and this excess, specifically, may be guarded against. Here the Old English hesitates to find danger or blame in all affective states so readily as the Latin had, particularly with regard to joy. Furthermore, the Old English navigates this by advocating a moderation, if not of joy with sadness, then of both sadness and joy that they not become excessive. The warning against excess of joy and sadness however, in comparison with the criticism of joy and sadness equally in the Latin, impresses upon us the very importance of joy in measure and perhaps sadness too as fundamental aspects of proper devotional experience as the Old English understands it. Both the Latin and the Old English, in following a series of dichotomies showing the particular threats to one kind of person and another, explicitly warn against the dangers of extremes. But only the Old English carefully preserves certain affective states from the brunt of the critique, and indeed advocates that affective excess may be moderated not only by warding off sin but by tempering it with further pious feeling. Even when an exhortation to moderating joy and sadness seems closest to the Latin original, the Old English introduces subtle changes to avoid condemning joy. In the following passage, the vernacular translation adheres relatively closely to the Latin, explaining how one must minister to a temperamentally happy person overcome by a sudden sadness: Forðæm is to giemanne ðæm lareowe ðæt he swa swiðe stiere ðære unrotnesse ðæt he to swiðe ne geiece ða ungemetlican blisse; ond eft swa gemidlige ða blisse ðe of ðære orsorgnesse cymð ðæt sio unrotnes to swiðe ne weaxe ðe of ðære færlican gedrefednesse cymð, oððe of yfles blodes flownesse.25

25

Pastoral Care, lxi (p. 455).



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[Therefore the teacher is to take heed that he guides him away so much from the sadness that he does not too greatly enlarge his excessive bliss, and again so restrain the bliss that comes from prosperity that the sadness does not increase too greatly that comes from sudden disturbance or of the flow of bad blood.]

The Latin similarly warns that the teacher should guide the individual away from too much sadness without making the person excessively joyful, and the joyful so that the individual should not become too sad: Curandum itaque praedicatori est quatinus sic tergatur tristitia, quae uenit ex tempore, ut non augeatur laetitia, quae suppetit ex consparsione, et sic frenetur laetitia, quae ex consparsione est ut tamen non crescat tristitia, quae uenit ex tempore.26 [Care must be taken by the preacher to wipe away the sadness that arises from that temporary circumstance only so far, so that he does not augment the happiness that arises from his temperament; and thus the happiness of his nature must nevertheless be curbed so that it does not increase the sadness that arises from his circumstance.]

Nowhere in the Latin, however, is the cheerful nature qualified as that which arises from prosperity, nor, for that matter, is sadness qualified as that which arises from a sudden misfortune or physical malady. The Old English adds these specific modifiers, perhaps to imagine practical examples, but perhaps also because only these particular instances seem problematic. The effect of this subtle change is to qualify the Latin’s more straightforward admonition against too much joy. In the Old English, only the sort of joy that arises from orsorgness poses a problem, presumably because it arises from worldly prosperity, whether material wealth or a lack of trouble. Other joy, such as that which arises from devotional affect or right enjoyment of one’s experience, no longer may be confused with the specific sort of joy condemned here. Likewise, the sadness and grief that arise from right causes are more explicitly not the brief sadness the Latin warns against; the very particular examples of grief over some change in circumstance or a rush of blood to the head are the only ones the teacher needs to admonish against. The Old English primarily makes way for joy – in the passage above, only ungemetlice bliss, or bliss grounded in the conditions of prosperity, must be guarded against, after all. But we see room for sadness here, too, although while some griefs may be just, others have the potential to harm. The Latin specifies that sadness over circumstances may be dangerous, while the Old English considers the wrong kind of sadness to arise from the flow of bad blood. In this shift to concern about the flow of blood, we see another crucial consideration in the Old English translation’s approach to affect. The yfles blodes flowness evokes the hydraulic model of the mind that Lockett 26

Regula pastoralis, II, III.xxxvii (p. 522, lines 10–14).

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demonstrates would have dominated the vernacular understanding of psychology.27 In the hydraulic model of cognition, emotional states are understood as bodily states, and may be regulated more along the lines of other bodily states – individuals are often enjoined not to become too hot at heart, and this is a state over which the individual may exercise some degree of control. This apparently trivial epistemological difference suggests, moreover, a differing approach to emotion than that which Gregory might have expected. The hydraulic model, in considering the mind to be subject to physical forces, does not imply that the individual is less responsible for emotional states, but that mental states may be understood as embodied action. As Malcolm Godden has argued, Old English uses active verbs like yrsian [to be angry] or murnan [to be sad], or the verb niman [to take], which takes the emotional state as its object. These constructions suggest a greater degree of agency in the regulation of affective states, ‘that passions, or feelings towards other people and things, did not just take hold of one from outside, but involved, at some level, an act of will’.28 In this paradigm, then, Beowulf admonishes Hrothgar not to mourn, and the Wanderer may observe that he should control his feelings, ‘hycge swa he wille’ [think what he may].29 This concept would seem to belie the nuance and emphasis on discussions of feeling that the Old English translation introduces into the Pastoral Care. Yet even in poetic conventions, the trope of suppressing emotion often appears, as in The Wanderer, in a long narrative of feeling. In devotional contexts, feeling as behavior here seems to require that affective states align, at least, with right thinking. But alone, this different conception of emotional experience would not seem to explain why the Old English Pastoral Care carefully preserves certain types of joy, and affective experience related both to pastoral care and to the devotional life such care is meant to engender. And so it is, as O’Brien O’Keeffe argues, that the Old English translation elides the distinction of intus and foras that structures Gregory’s text.30 Yet this is not the only binary opposition resisted by the translation. In the space it creates for moderate emotions, we see the Old English translation create a world more affectively imbued, even if that affect no longer remains so distinct 27 28

29

30

Lockett, Anglo-Saxon Psychologies, pp. 54–178; Pastoral Care, lxi (p. 455). Malcolm Godden, ‘Anglo-Saxons on the Mind’, in Michael Lapidge and Helmut Gneuss (eds), Learning and Literature in Anglo-Saxon England (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 271–298, at p. 286. ‘Ne sorga, snotor guma. Selre bið æghwæm / þæt he his freond wrece, þonne he fela murne’ [Do not grieve, wise man; every man is better that avenges his friends, than one that deeply mourns]; Beowulf quoted from R. D. Fulk, Robert E. Bjork, and John D. Niles (eds), Klaeber’s Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, 4th edn (Toronto, 2008), lines 1384–1385; Wanderer quoted from George Philip Krapp and Elliott Van Kirk Dobbie (eds), The Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records III: The Exeter Book (New York, 1936), line 14. O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Inside, Outside, Conduct and Judgment’, pp. 333–335 and p. 339; see above p. 59.



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from other bodily actions and behaviors. Rather than all affective states tending toward varieties of sin, the translation leaves room for proper affective states that may reflect proper devotion.

Pastoral Care in King Alfred’s Court What are the implications of the Old English Pastoral Care making way for feeling? The Old English, in qualifying Latin passages that might seem critical of affect or desire, might conventionally be assumed to anticipate an uneducated reading audience of the kind that Alfred famously bemoans. We might be tempted to think that the translation simply offers more relaxed standards of guidance to those with rudimentary spiritual understanding. Indeed, the lion’s share of critical attention to the Pastoral Care has gone to its famous preface, although there are several good reasons not to take the preface’s appraisal of English audiences at face value. In the preface, the figure of King Alfred the Great speaks movingly of the lost times of great learning that he seeks to reclaim in ninth-century England. This preface is understood to describe the famed program of translation of classical texts into the vernacular, ‘ða ðe niedbeðearfosta sien eallum monnum to wiotonne’ [those most necessary for all men to know], both for the improvement of preaching and religious instruction and for the benefit of free men who had leisure for study.31 Scholarship has raised questions about which Old English translations of Latin texts should be understood as part of this program, or indeed whether any such program ever existed.32 Godden has shown how the prefaces represent 31

32

Pastoral Care, Prose Preface (p. 7). On the prefaces to the Pastoral Care, see especially: Paul Szarmach, ‘The Meaning of Alfred’s Preface to the Pastoral Care’, Mediaevalia, 6 (1980), 57–86; Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Listening to the Scenes of Reading: King Alfred’s Talking Prefaces’, in Mark Chinca and Christopher Young (eds), Orality and Literacy in the Middle Ages: Essays on a Conjunction and its Consequences in Honour of D. H. Green (Turnhout, 2005), pp. 17–36; on the political implications of the program of translation envisioned in the preface, see Nicole Guenther Discenza, The King’s English: Strategies of Translation in the Old English Boethius (Albany, 2005), as well as Malcolm Godden, ‘Prologues and Epilogues in the Old English Pastoral Care, and Their Carolingian Models’, JEGP, 110:4 (2011), 441–473. On further models for the Old English preface, see Discenza, ‘“Wise wealhstodas”: The Prologue to Sirach as a Model for Alfred’s Preface to the Pastoral Care’, JEGP, 97:4 (1998), 488–499. On the conventions of prefaces in Old English texts more broadly, see Susan Irvine, Uncertain Beginnings: The Prefatory Tradition in Old English, H. M. Chadwick Memorial Lectures 27 (Cambridge, 2017). Seeta Chaganti has written on the questions of authority, care, and access to learning raised by the preface to the Old English translation, ‘even if Alfred’s motives are more complicated and less equitable’ than the preface claims: ‘Confederate Monuments and the Cura pastoralis’, In the Middle (27 February 2018), . See Malcolm Godden, ‘Did King Alfred Write Anything?’, Medium Ævum, 76:1

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literary conventions that present Alfred as a scholar-king in the model of Charlemagne, while O’Brien O’Keeffe has identified the conventional poetic formulae in the translation’s verse preface.33 Taken as a whole, the conventional rhetoric of the prefaces offers not a literal historical context for the translation, but a set of literary traditions whose terms are evoked to lend status and gravitas to the project. Nevertheless, Godden, who has raised the most serious objections to the idea of a ‘program of translation’, allows that ‘the contemporary dates of two of the surviving manuscripts [of the Pastoral Care] and the testimony of notes in others confirm that these prefaces did originate in Alfred’s time, between 890 and 896, and that the work was vigorously circulated from a central point – whether the royal court or an ecclesiastical centre.’34 And so when the Old English prose preface emphasizes that it is only the unworthy [unmedume] who should not stir themselves up to seek power, ‘[t]he inference, of course, is that the desire is appropriate for the “worthy”’.35 This alteration tantalizingly enables the Old English to sanction the pursuit of power, but also requires that it find different metrics for measuring right behavior and right action. In this case, the preface to the Pastoral Care in particular then may lend itself to the fashioning of Alfred as a ruler in the model of Charlemagne, whether the king or others brought this to pass.36 Perhaps, then, modifiers that license affective engagements that Gregory had admonished go along with a greater license in the translation more generally – for feeling, for desire, and for power, more than the grave concern for pastoral care set forth by Gregory.

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(2007), 1–23, as well as Janet Bately’s reply, ‘Did King Alfred Actually Translate Anything? The Integrity of the Alfredian Canon Revisited’, Medium Ævum, 78:2 (2009), 189–215, and David Pratt, The Political Thought of King Alfred the Great (Cambridge, 2007). On the context of the translation, see also Richard W. Clement, ‘The Production of the Pastoral Care: King Alfred and His Helpers’, in Paul Szarmach (ed.), Studies in Earlier Old English Prose (Albany, NY, 1986), pp. 129–152. Malcolm Godden, ‘Prologues and Epilogues’, esp. pp. 444–445; Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, Visible Song: Transitional Literacy in Old English Verse (Cambridge, 1990), pp. 96–107. On the early treatment of the Metrical Preface as prose, see Haruko Momma, The Composition of Old English Poetry (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 4–5. For further discussion of the framing of royal authority in the translation see Nicole Guenther Discenza, ‘Alfred’s Verse Preface to the Pastoral Care and the Chain of Authority’, Neophilologus, 85 (2001), 625–633, at 628–629; Dolores Fernández Martinez, ‘A Functional Approach to Register in the Preface to the Pastoral Care’, Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses, 55 (2007), 69–83; Fernández Martinez, ‘An Approach to the Schematic Structure of the Preface to the Pastoral Care’, Studia Neophilologica, 82:1 (2010), 1–11; and William T. Whobrey, ‘King Alfred’s Metrical Epilogue to the Pastoral Care’, JEGP, 90:2 (1991), 175–186. Malcolm Godden, ‘Alfredian Prose: Myth and Reality’, Filologia Germanica – Germanic Philology, 5 (2013), 131–158, at 133–134. O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Inside, Outside, Conduct and Judgment’, p. 338; Pastoral Care, iv (p. 41). Malcolm Godden, ‘Prologues and Epilogues’, esp. 447–448.



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Moreover, there are innumerable reasons to doubt that the changes to the Old English Pastoral Care seek only to lessen the rigor of pastoral admonition for a spiritually or intellectually unsophisticated audience. Helen Gittos has demonstrated that statements about translation and its function in the preface are themselves conventional, and moreover indicative of familiarity with Latinate rhetorical tradition.37 This places our understanding of the devotional and affective negotiations of the text within the local context of the theological advisors who were prominent in Alfred’s court, yet leaves us with little sense of the needs they intended this text to fulfill. Yet as Paul Szarmach cautions, the ‘characterization of the writer’s attitudes toward events might be more important’ than whether the events of the preface reflect real circumstances of ninth-century learning or royal decree or not.38 In this light, the first difference between source and translation is one of framing: both Gregory and the figure of Alfred are undertaking authority, and specifically authority for learning. Yet while Gregory emphasizes his reluctance in taking up that authority, Alfred’s must be defended, bolstered in part by associating itself with Gregory, the apostle to the English who first brought Christian learning to England and whose work, by implication, might do so again.39 The translation and its authorial voice hesitate to caution against all power or all desire as Gregory does, and thus mitigate the risk of undermining their own claims.

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Helen Gittos, ‘The Audience for Old English Texts: Ælfric, Rhetoric, and “the Edification of the Simple”’, Anglo-Saxon England, 43 (2014), 231–266, at 238–240. On English as a language of learning in other contexts during the period, see Helmut Gneuss, ‘The Origin of Standard Old English and Æthelwold’s School at Winchester’, Anglo-Saxon England, 1 (1972), pp. 63–83; as well as Rebecca Stephenson, The Politics of Language: Byrhtferth, Ælfric, and the Multilingual Identity of the Benedictine Reform (Toronto, 2015). On early English translation practices in general with consideration of the Pastoral Care, see Christine B. Thijs, ‘Early Old English Translation: Practice Before Theory?’, Neophilologus, 91:1 (2007), 149–173. Szarmach, ‘Meaning of Alfred’s Preface’, 61. Gregory is first called noster apostolicus [our apostle] in his vita from eighth-century Whitby; see Bertram Colgrave (ed.), The Earliest Life of Gregory the Great by an Anonymous Monk of Whitby (Lawrence, KS, 1968), p. 80. Bede records Gregory’s decision to seek to convert the English in the Historia ecclesiastica 2.1; see Bertram Colgrave and R. A. B. Mynors (eds), Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Oxford, 1969), pp. 133–135. On the reception of Gregory’s text and its influence up to and during the reign of Alfred, see Carolin Schreiber, ‘Searoðonca hord: Alfred’s Translation of Gregory the Great’s Regula Pastoralis’, in Nicole Guenther Discenza and Paul Szarmach (eds), A Companion to Alfred the Great (Leiden, 2014), pp. 171–199. For further discussion of how the Old English translation establishes its spiritual authority, see Amy Faulkner, ‘Royal Authority in the Biblical Quotations of the Old English Pastoral Care’, Neophilologus, 102 (2018), 125–140.

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The Old English Pastoral Care reveals an investment in the emotional contours of morality and devotion that is not incidental to its investment in negotiating its questions of power. We are left to glean these subtle changes in attitudes from the gaps between the translation and its source, not least in the spaces it leaves open for embracing authority, and in the space left open for feeling by the shifts to the vernacular translation. The language of tempered feeling represents a differently nuanced moral self-consciousness from the Latin, seeking not only to translate but to interpret and discern the practical implications of the Latin. However closely these ideals do or do not represent any larger Alfredian program of educational or ecclesiastical reform, they should not be understood as merely those more achievable to those lacking knowledge in the faith. The Old English does not necessarily assume the feebleness of its audience’s understanding so much as it reflects the ideals of an age rhetorically positioned as one in need of learned authority – and perhaps monarchal authority as well. Yet the changes in emphasis on and conception of affect traced here arise both from the abiding political concerns evinced by the Old English translation, and from understandings of affect, emotion, and desire germane to the vernacular tradition. Just as Benjamin Saltzman shows, the Old English Pastoral Care displays attention to the difficulties of self-knowledge, of the self’s capacity to forget, as it were, itself. In this the translation imagines how perception ‘passes through external and flæsclic space’, both through the overflow of emotion literalized as tears, and through the more metaphorical understanding of things that wound or inhibit the consciousness.40 Perhaps it is in this fixation upon self-knowledge that the Old English also recognizes the impossibility of voiding the self of both halves of Gregory’s binaries, inward and outward, joyful and sorrowful. The translation acknowledges the space between, in which the self and its feelings must remain lest admonition foster self-denial. In any event, as the Old English Pastoral Care strategically makes room for the desire for power, then, it must also delve into the affective morality of desire itself. The negotiation offers more than simply assent to authority; it offers a new engagement with the contours of affect, devotion, desire, and the interrelation of these things. This is where the awkward nuance of the translation’s language – ungemete blisse – stems from. In navigating the dichotomies that Gregory describes – ministering to those who are sick and those who are well, those who are joyful and those who are sad – the translation understands this moderation as a discipline of the body. Yet it must also retain the experience of profound feeling in devotion that already permeates the earliest English medieval literature; like the 40

Saltzman, ‘The Mind, Perception, and the Reflexivity of Forgetting’, p. 157.



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Old English Boethius, it demonstrates a greater reluctance than its Latin predecessor to eschew the practicalities of power, nor indeed the desire for it.41 In other words, the Old English Pastoral Care must also make room for grief and joy. Gregory the Great writes, ‘Nulla ars doceri praesumitur, nisi intenta prius meditatione discatur’42 [No one takes up the art of teaching without first learning it through eager contemplation.] Those of us who have been Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe’s students know the seriousness with which she takes her own duties as a teacher – we know from her the value of careful moderation, and also that learning and teaching well bring with them a particular joy. Her reading of the Old English Pastoral Care recognizes the subtleties of that responsibility for instruction across centuries, through Alfred’s time and Gregory’s. The Old English Pastoral Care worries about the mechanics of the eager contemplation it advises, moderating the very moderation of the Latin original to make way for affective engagement, and particularly for joy. What we see in the changes to an otherwise fairly literal translation is subtle – perhaps pastoral care, instruction, and affective engagement with learning need not change very dramatically across the centuries. But where Gregory’s Regula pastoralis admonishes all sides at once, encouraging the joyful to be more sad, the sad to remember joy, the Old English takes sides. In adding modifiers to delimit the admonition of joy, it suggests that not only does feeling matter to thinking, but that in moderation, it might be essential. And in the devotional context of pastoral care, this suggests that early medieval writers were considering the affective states involved in pious contemplation many centuries before it is commonly thought. The nuance suggested by the Old English modifiers shows us that it matters, to the translator of the Pastoral Care, what feelings are called, how they are understood, and how they are instilled in others.

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See discussion of this in Malcolm Godden, ‘The Player King: Identification and Self-Representation in King Alfred’s Writings’, in Timothy Reuter (ed.), Alfred the Great: Papers from the Eleventh-Centenary Conferences (Aldershot, 2003), pp. 137–150. For the edition of the Old English Boethius, see Malcolm Godden and Susan Irvine (eds), The Old English Boethius: An Edition of the Old English Versions of Boethius’s ‘De Consolatione Philosophiae’ (2 vols, Oxford, 2009). Regula pastoralis, I, I.i. (p. 128, lines 1–2).

4 Adam and Eve’s Hands and Eyes: Covering the Face in the Junius Manuscript Benjamin A. Saltzman1

The significance of the face is not simply ‘in’ or ‘on’ the face, but a question of how we face the face, or how we are faced. — Sara Ahmed2

T

he poetic account of Adam and Eve’s Fall is punctuated in the Junius Manuscript with an abundance of illustrations.3 Four of these illus-

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Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe’s influence upon this chapter would probably require a chapter like this – or better – to elucidate it. Most immediately visible will be my title’s allusion to her recent article (‘Hands and Eyes, Sight and Touch: Appraising the Senses in Anglo-Saxon England’, Anglo-Saxon England, 45 [2016], 105–140). Perhaps least visible would be the original impetus for my contribution: ‘The Book of Genesis in Anglo-Saxon England’, the dissertation she wrote under the supervision of James L. Rosier and submitted in 1975 to the Graduate Faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. The most significant, however, is doubtless the years of generous mentorship that inflect every word I write. She is a model of learning and humility to so many scholars of early English, and to me she has been a truly inspiring and devoted guide, friend, and advocate. On this great occasion to honor her, I thus travel to the beginning, in principio, of her rich and influential career, to be inspired by the subject of her dissertation, as I take up Genesis B for my point of departure. For their feedback, I would like to thank the workshop participants at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, especially Martin Foys, Jordan Zweck, and Thomas E. A. Dale; and the participants at the University of Chicago Medieval Studies Workshop, especially Beatrice Bradley, Luke Fidler, Tim Harrison, Aden Kumler, Jonathan Lyon, Andres Milan, Mark Miller, David Nirenberg, Jo Nixon, Julie Orlemanski, Willemien Otten, Lucy Pick, Joe Stadolnik, and Nancy Thebaut. Thank you to Sianne Ngai for suggesting the notion of ‘too-lateness’ just in time. Thank you more generally to Emily V. Thornbury, Maura Nolan, Beate Fricke, Renée Trilling, Jackie Fay, and Rebecca Stephenson. Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others (Durham, 2006), p. 171. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Junius MS 11. Helmut Gneuss and Michael Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A Bibliographical Handlist of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100 (Toronto, 2014) (=GneussLapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts), no. 640. See Benjamin A. Saltzman, ‘The Junius Manuscript’, in Siân Echard and Robert Rouse (eds), The Encyclopedia of British Medieval Literature (Malden, MA, 2017), pp. 1108–1110. For the dating of Junius 11 to c.960–1000, see Leslie Lockett, ‘An Integrated Re-examination



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trations depict with apparent redundancy the fallen couple facing one another and uncannily holding their hands up to their faces, partially covering their eyes: in the upper frame of p. 34 (Figure 4.1), the couple cover their genitals with one hand and their faces with the other; in the lower frame, we see them surrounded by foliage, which has now provided a more substantial covering for their lower regions, though their hands still cover their faces; on p. 36 (Figure 4.2), they carry on with the same gesture, as the satanic messenger returns to hell; and on p. 39 (Figure 4.3), after looking at and conversing with one another, they take a seat and return their hands to their faces once again. This sequence of gestures is an unusual variant in the iconography of Adam and Eve’s shame, which is almost always characterized by the couple’s postlapsarian desire to conceal their newly sexualized bodies. While the Junius artist certainly conveys this more common gesture of concealment with the careful placement of the couple’s hands and accompanying foliage (indicating their desire not to be seen), Adam and Eve’s repeated and mutual act of covering their eyes (indicating, in contrast, a desire not to see) illuminates the artist’s multivalent and dynamic interpretation of Adam and Eve’s shame, the liability of vision, and what it means to be a human observer of evil, death, and suffering after the Fall.

The Junius Gestures Of the possible Carolingian sources, none illustrates Adam and Eve with gestures identical to those in Junius 11.4 Several nearly contemporary

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of the Dating of Oxford, Bodleian Library, Junius 11’, Anglo-Saxon England, 31 (2002), 141–173. Barbara Raw, ‘The probable derivation of most of the illustrations in Junius 11 from an illustrated Old Saxon Genesis’, Anglo-Saxon England, 5 (1976), 133–148, at 138, has argued that the illustrations in Junius 11 were ‘indirectly derived from an early Christian archetype through a Carolingian intermediary’. Raw also argues that the drawings of Adam and Eve are likely drawn from a ‘set of frieze illustrations in which the scenes were divided from one another by trees’, such as we find in the frontispieces of four surviving ninth-century Carolingian Bibles from Tours: the Moutier-Grandval Bible (London, British Library, Add. 10546, fol. 5v [c.830–840]), the Bamburg Bible (Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, bibl. 1, fol. 7v [c.834–843]), San Callisto Bible (Rome, San Paolo fuori le Mura, fol. 7v [c.869]), and the Vivian Bible (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 1, fol. 10v [c.845 or 846]). On the Tours bibles, see C. R. Dodwell, The Pictorial Arts of the West, 800-1200 (New Haven, 1993), pp. 67–74; Herbert L. Kessler, The Illustrated Bibles from Tours (Princeton, 1977), pp. 3–35; Herbert L. Kessler, ‘Hic Homo Formatur: The Genesis Frontispieces of the Carolingian Bibles’, The Art Bulletin, 532 (1971), 143–160; Herbert Reginald Broderick, III, ‘The Iconographic and Compositional Sources of the Drawings in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 11’ (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1978), p. 217, supposed that Adam and Eve’s gesture on p. 34 of Junius 11 (Figure 4.1) was similar to that of Eve at the Expulsion in the Vivian Bible and the San Callisto Bible ‘with

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illustrations come slightly closer, though none of these is identical either. For example, in the Old English Illustrated Hexateuch (c.1025–1050), Eve bows her face into her hand while attempting to hide from God, and in the lower frame on the same page Adam bows his head into his hand as God expels the couple from Eden (Figure 4.4).5 While the Junius Manuscript and the Illustrated Hexateuch display notably different artistic styles, they were both likely produced in Canterbury (possibly at Christ Church and St Augustine’s Abbey, respectively) at most ninety years apart and possibly within a quarter of a century.6 But even in the Illustrated Hexateuch, the gesture is performed only by Eve in the first instance and then by Adam at the Expulsion – never by them both together at the same time and never while facing each other. Another proximate and comparable instance of this gesture may occur in the Bayeux Tapestry (c.1075–1082), also likely produced at St Augustine’s Abbey. In the lower margin, a nude male figure reaches his arms out towards a nude female figure, who covers her genitals with one hand and her face with the other (Figure 4.5).7 To my knowledge, scholars have not typically interpreted this scene as a depiction of Adam and Eve. While such a connection is certainly tenuous, the female figure’s gesture is similar enough to the gesture of Eve in the Junius Manuscript that it warrants such speculation at least and, with it, the observation that here again the gesture is made only by the supposed Eve, rather than by both figures together.8 In later illustrations of Adam and Eve, beginning in the twelfth century, the gesture becomes somewhat more common, though still rarely enacted by both figures. For example, in the thirteenth-century Bible of Robert De

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her left hand holding her cheek in a gesture of grief’, but the gesture in these frontispieces is made only at the Expulsion and only by Eve, whose hand never quite reaches her eyes. London, British Library, Cotton Claudius B. iv, fol. 7v (Gneuss-Lapidge, AngloSaxon Manuscripts, no. 315). On the gesture in the upper frame, see Benjamin A. Saltzman, Bonds of Secrecy: Law, Spirituality, and the Literature of Concealment in Early Medieval England (Philadelphia, 2019), pp. 1–6. On the date and location of the production of Cotton Claudius B. iv, see Benjamin C. Withers, The Illustrated Old English Hexateuch, Cotton Claudius B. iv: The Frontier of Seeing and Reading in Anglo-Saxon England (Toronto, 2007), pp. 67–85. Karen Rose Mathews, ‘Nudity on the Margins: The Bayeux Tapestry and its Relationship to Marginal Architectural Sculpture’, in Benjamin C. Withers and Jonathan Wilcox (eds), Naked Before God: Uncovering the Body in Anglo-Saxon England (Morgantown, 2003), p. 148, argues that this scene is paralleled in Irish sheela-na-gig (female exhibitionist relief sculptures) even though she acknowledges that, due to chronology, geography, and style, ‘direct artistic influence’ is unlikely. I must thank Martin Foys for bringing this detail in the Bayeux Tapestry to my attention. To be sure, the male figure’s aggressive gesture would certainly be unique among representations of Adam and Eve, and Mathews, ‘Nudity on the Margins’, p. 159, has argued it may represent sexual attacks during the Norman Conquest.



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Bello (abbot of St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury, from 1224 to 1253), we find the serpent offering the fruit to Eve, who in turn offers it to Adam as he loosely directs his hand toward his face (Figure 4.6).9 While it is not uncommon in late medieval manuscripts to find this gesture in depictions of the Temptation,10 the gesture eventually tends to be associated more so with the Expulsion, in which Adam is often represented sinking his face deeply into his hands as Eve looks upward in despair, as dramatically captured in Tommaso Masaccio’s famous fresco (c.1426) or, later, in Benjamin West’s oil-painting (1791).11 The story of Adam and Eve is illustrated in countless medieval manuscripts, and as this brief assortment of examples demonstrates, it is occasionally represented with the couple’s hands placed near or in front of their faces. Yet Adam and Eve’s mutual, post-temptation, pre-expulsion sequence of gestures seems entirely unique to the Junius pen drawings. Nowhere else do we find anything quite like the gestures made by both Adam and Eve, hands partially covering their eyes as they simultaneously direct their occluded gaze toward one another in the moments just after the Fall. Given the uniqueness of the Junius gestures, a wider range of affective meaning emerges as the artist seems to be responding not so much to iconographic sources, but to particular details in the text of Genesis B. The artist innovates an expansive aesthetic of shame that expresses an intertwined multiplicity of emotions, from grief to repentance, in response to the darkened visuality opened up by the Fall.

Opened Eyes All four poems in the Junius Manuscript seem to emphasize the theme of vision,12 but Genesis B (following the Old Saxon Genesis on which it is based) is especially rich in the way it foregrounds Adam and Eve’s eyesight as it transforms during their Temptation and the Fall. To appre9 10

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London, British Library, Burney MS 3, fol. 5v (c.1240–1253). The Grandisson Psalter (c.1270–1280) (London, British Library, Add. 21926, fol. 150v), an early fourteenth-century psalter (New York, The Morgan Library and Museum, M. 302, fol. 1r), and a late fifteenth-century illustrated French translation of the Speculum humanæ salvationis (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, fr. 6275, fol. 3v) also contain similar gestures in the temptation scene. Florence, Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine Plazy; Benjamin West, ‘The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise’, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Catherine Karkov, Text and Picture in Anglo-Saxon England: Narrative Strategies in the Junius 11 Manuscript (Cambridge, 2001), p. 110, notes that ‘the theme of true and false vision’ is ‘one of the strongest links between the four poems in the Junius 11 manuscript’.

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ciate the ways that the poem expands upon these transformations, recall Genesis 3:4–7: Dixit autem serpens ad mulierem: Nequaquam morte moriemini. Scit enim Deus quod in quocumque die comederitis ex eo, aperientur oculi vestri, et eritis sicut dii, scientes bonum et malum. Vidit igitur mulier quod bonum esset lignum ad vescendum, et pulchrum oculis, aspectuque delectabile: et tulit de fructu illius, et comedit: deditque viro suo, qui comedit. Et aperti sunt oculi amborum; cumque cognovissent se esse nudos, consuerunt folia ficus, et fecerunt sibi perizomata. [And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil. And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband who did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened: and when they perceived themselves to be naked, they sewed together fig leaves, and made themselves aprons.]

The serpent’s promise of knowledge and opened eyes is indeed fulfilled with the couple’s consumption of the fruit. They consequently perceive and then immediately cover their own nakedness. The Old Saxon Genesis and Genesis B alter this account in several ways. Most substantial is an expansion of Satan’s promise of increased vision (presented as a gift from God) and a detailed description of the effect that this increased vision has upon Eve. Purporting to have been divinely sent, the satanic messenger commands Eve thus: Æt þisses ofetes! Þonne wurðað þin eagan swa leoht þæt þu meaht swa wide ofer woruld ealle geseon siððan, and selfes stol herran þines. (Genesis B, 564–567a)13 [Eat of this fruit! Then your eyes will become so illuminated that you will be able to see so widely over all the world and the throne of your Lord itself.]

Where the Vulgate’s serpent promises opened eyes and the ability to ‘be as gods, knowing good and evil’, Genesis B promises a more literal expansion of sight, not to be as gods specifically, not to know good and evil, but to see so far as to where God himself sits. In the moment Eve eats the fruit, her view of the world becomes deceptively brightened and expanded beyond mere human perception, and the poet is clear to attribute this 13

Quotations of Genesis A and B are from George Philip Krapp (ed.), The Junius Manuscript, Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records, 1 (New York, 1931; repr., 1969), cited by line number. For a translation, see Daniel Anlezark (ed. and trans.), Old Testament Narratives (Cambridge, 2011), pp. 1–203. Translations here are based upon this edition with silent modifications.



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vision to neither divine intervention nor human intellect, but to the gift of the enemy: Þa meahte heo wide geseon þurh þæs laðan læn þe hie mid ligenum beswac, dearnenga bedrog, þe hire for his dædum com, þæt hire þuhte hwitre heofon and eorðe, and eall þeos woruld wlitigre, and geweorc godes micel and mihtig, þeah heo hit þurh monnes geþeaht ne sceawode; ac se sceaða georne swicode ymb þa sawle þe hire ær þa siene onlah, þæt heo swa wide wlitan meahte ofer heofonrice. (Genesis B, 600b–609a) [Then she could see widely – by the gift of that enemy who deceived her with lies, secretly seduced her, the gift which came to her by his doing – so that to her heaven and earth appeared brighter, all this world the fairer, and God’s work great and mighty, though she did not survey it with human intellect. Rather, the enemy who had loaned her the vision eagerly tricked her in her soul, so that she might stare so widely across the kingdom of heaven.]

The messenger reminds Eve further that she can now see these benefits for herself (‘þu meaht nu þe self geseon’, Genesis B, 611a) and advises her to tell Adam of her vision (‘sæge Adame hwilce þu gesihðe hæfst’, Genesis B, 617). When Eve tempts Adam with the fruit, she thus assures him that she can see (‘geseo’, Genesis B, 657b) from the messenger’s appearance that he was truly sent by God, and she attests to the fruit’s effectiveness by describing her broadened vision in first-hand detail: Ic mæg heonan geseon hwær he sylf siteð, (þæt is suð and east), welan bewunden, se ðas woruld gesceop; geseo ic him his englas ymbe hweorfan mid feðerhaman, ealra folca mæst, wereda wynsumast. Hwa meahte me swelc gewit gifan, gif hit gegnunga god ne onsende, heofones waldend? Gehyran mæg ic rume and swa wide geseon on woruld ealle ofer þas sidan gesceaft, ic mæg swegles gamen gehyran on heofnum. Wearð me on hige leohte utan and innan, siðþan ic þæs ofætes onbat. (Genesis B, 666b–677) [I can see from here where he himself is sitting (that is in the south-east), surrounded by riches, he who created this world; I see his angels surrounding him with plumage, the greatest of all crowds, the gladdest of multitudes. Who could give me such knowledge if God, guardian of heaven, did not send it directly? I can hear far and can see so widely across all the world, over this vast creation; I can hear the celestial mirth in the heavens. Light has arrived in my mind, inside and out, since I ate of this fruit.]

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As light flows into Eve’s mind and her eyes are opened to the beauty of the world, to the heavens, to the throne of God and the sight of his angels, and as her ears are made to hear more distant sounds, both earthly and celestial, these sensory experiences – of all good, and no evil – falsely validate the divine source of her vision.14 These dazzling, albeit false, benefits are short-lived. After realizing that she and Adam have been deceived, Eve ‘þæt leoht geseah / ellor scriðan’ [saw that light slip away] (Genesis B, 772b–773a), the light which had just come into her mind, ‘utan and innan’ [inside and out] (Genesis B, 677a). In place of the false vision, the couple eventually notices their naked bodies (‘Bare hie gesawon / heora lichaman’, Genesis B, 783b–784a), just as in the traditional biblical narrative. But more significantly, as Eve sees the light slip away, the visual effects begin to darken further: ‘Gesyhst þu nu þa sweartan helle / grædige and gifre?’ [Now do you see the dark hell, greedy and voracious?] (Genesis B, 792b–793a), Adam says to Eve, eventually ending his tirade with a disavowal of his own vision: Swa me nu hreowan mæg æfre to aldre þæt ic þe minum eagum geseah. (Genesis B, 819b–820) [So now it will be forever regretful to me that I saw you with my eyes.]

Adam attributes his own sin to having set his naive prelapsarian eyes upon Eve, an act which – once retrospectively shaped by his postlapsarian vision – evinces physical lust and sexual desire in a way that alters how he looks at Eve now and how he imagines he had looked at her all along. If only he had not looked upon her in the first place, in other words, he would not have been tempted to listen to her arguments in favor of eating the fruit, nor would he have eventually fallen with her. As Adam regrets his vision and Eve loses the light of hers, Genesis B leaves off and Genesis A picks back up with the couple hiding under the shadow of trees (‘beamsceade’, Genesis A, 859a) and in darkness (‘on heolstre’, Genesis A, 860a), hiding both from God and from one another, for darkness works both to conceal and to blind. The poet’s interest in the phenomenon of Adam and Eve’s expanded vision is only further enhanced by the Junius artist’s extensive program of illustrations, which foreground this visuality in a particularly clever way. The shape of the forbidden fruit takes on the appearance of an eye (e.g., Figure 4.7). The shape is not a typical early insular eye (such as we find on the faces of Adam and Eve), but one that explicitly conveys the sense of sight. For comparison, look at the Fuller Brooch, which contains a rare early medieval depiction of the five senses, at the center of which stands the figure of sight with eyes wide open and in a circular shape all too similar to that of the fruit in the Junius illustrations (Figure 4.8). The 14

John F. Vickrey, ‘The Vision of Eve in Genesis B’, Speculum, 44, no. 1 (1969), 86–102, has argued that details of the vision suggest that Eve is having a vision of Judgment.



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Junius artist further incorporates this eye shape along various borders and decorations throughout this section as if to emphasize the narrative’s focus on vision (e.g., Figure 4.3). Riffing on the vision-enhancing qualities of the fruit – whether real or imagined – the artist even seems to be playing with a pun in the Old English word æppel, which of course can refer either to the forbidden fruit (e.g., ‘æppel unsælga’ [the unhappy apple], Genesis B, 637a) or, indeed, to the pupil of the eye.15 The decorative series of eyes look on at the reader of the page, as the reader looks on at Adam and Eve, as Adam and Eve’s vision expands and they shield their faces.

The Face of Shame Adam and Eve’s repeated and mutual gesture of raising their hands to their faces here has primarily been read as a representation of shame, sometimes conflated loosely with sadness and despair, sometimes nuanced in relation to sexual lust.16 Though perhaps too generic, the gesture’s assignment to the emotion of shame is not an especially far leap, especially given the biblical account of the couple’s realization of their nakedness. For before the Fall, ‘erat autem uterque nudus … et non erubescebant’ [they were both naked and were not ashamed, Genesis 2: 25]. A few moments later, their eyes are opened and they perceive themselves to be naked. This is precisely the moment when shame first emerges, at least exegetically. For Bede, following Augustine, their eyes are opened to ‘inuicem concupiscendum’ [mutual concupiscence] and ‘anima rationalis bestialem motum in membris suae carnis erubuit’ [their rational soul felt ashamed for the bestial motion in the members of its own flesh].17 As multifaceted as it is, shame is the affect introduced by the sexual awakening of the Fall and thus is typically registered in the iconography of Adam and Eve attempting to conceal their newly realized nudity with their hands or some leaf.18

15

16

17

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Angus Cameron, Ashley Crandell Amos, Antonette diPaolo Healey, et al. (eds), Dictionary of Old English: A to I online (Toronto, Dictionary of Old English Project, 2018), ., s.v. æppel, sense 3.b. For example, Broderick, ‘The Iconographic and Compositional Sources of the Drawings in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 11’, p. 217; Bernard J. Muir and Nick Kennedy (eds), A Digital Facsimile of Oxford, Bodleian Library MS. Junius 11 (Oxford, 2004) comment that on p. 34 of Junius 11 Adam and Eve ‘cover their genitals with one hand and their faces with their free hand out of shame’. Cf. C. R. Dodwell, Anglo-Saxon Gestures and the Roman Stage (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 116–117, who reads the gesture as a sign of grief and sadness, which will be considered below. Bede, In Genesim, ed. C. W. Jones, Bedae Venerabilis Opera Exegetica, CCSL 118A (Turnhout, 1967), I.iii.6, I.iii.7 (pp. 61–62). Bede is quoting Augustine, De Genesi ad litteram, ed. Joseph Zycha, CSEL 28.1 (Vienna, 1894), XI.31–32 (pp. 365–366). Virginia Burrus, Saving Shame: Martyrs, Saints, and Other Abject Subjects

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In response to the tendency to reduce the unusual gestures in Junius 11 to a generic expression of shame, Molly A. Martin has offered a more nuanced reading in which the gestures function not merely as ‘a conventional token of shame’, but rather as a juxtaposition of shame with carnal desire and lust, observing that the couple do not fully cover their eyes: they experience shame, but without fully averting their gaze from one another’s naked bodies.19 Martin’s study goes a long way towards recognizing the polyvalence of this gesture, particularly by focusing attention on the important fact that the couple’s eyes remain open and partly uncovered, which ‘seems to work simultaneously to recognize, to enforce, and ultimately to ignore the prohibition against seeing each other naked’.20 For Martin, their gesture illustrates a subversive tension between shame and lust, but that tension is only one aspect of the affective ambivalence at play. In one sense, the ambivalence that Martin notices – that the couple cover their eyes, yet continue to look – is indeed characteristic of shame itself. According to the now-classic definition offered by the mid-twentieth-century American psychologist, Silvan Tomkins, the affect of shame-humiliation typically entails an ambivalent turning of the eyes away from the object towards the face, toward the self. It is an act of facial communication reduction in which excitement or enjoyment is only incompletely reduced. Therefore it is an act which is deeply ambivalent. This ambivalence is nowhere clearer than in the child who covers his face in the presence of the stranger, but who also peeks through his fingers so that he may look without being seen.21

The ambivalence of shame, as Tomkins describes it here in his universalizing theory of human affects, almost too perfectly captures the gestures made by Adam and Eve, as they bring their hands up to cover their faces, yet still peek through their fingers. In this way, at the moment of the Fall, Adam and Eve suddenly become strangers to one another, and thereby come to know one another in a new way. For Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, shame pulls ‘toward painful individuation, toward uncontrollable rela-

19

20

21

(Philadelphia, 2008), pp. 5–8, responds to the argument that Christianity converted Western society from a ‘shame culture’ to a ‘guilt culture’, demonstrating that shame in fact was the pivotal affect in early Christian narratives of martyrdom and sanctity. Molly A. Martin, ‘Vision and Sex in the Iconography of the Old English Genesis Manuscript’, in Alexander L. Kaufman, Shaun F. D. Hughes, and Dorsey Armstrong (eds), Telling Tales and Crafting Books: Essays in Honor of Thomas H. Ohlgren (Kalamazoo, 2016), pp. 119–138. Martin, ‘Vision and Sex in the Iconography of the Old English Genesis Manuscript’, p. 131. Silvan Tomkins, Affect, Imagery, Consciousness: Volume II, The Negative Affects (New York, 1963), pp. 136–137.



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tionality’.22 But as Sara Ahmed argues, shame also governs our perceptions of others, ‘how we face the face’ and ‘how we are faced’. It orients our own relation to difference and collectivity, to suffering and the feelings of those who share in our shame, indeed it prioritizes our feelings of shame as we turn away from the suffering of others: Shame is felt as a matter of being – of the relation of the self to itself – insofar as shame is about appearance, about how the subject appears before and to others. Crucially, the individuation of shame – the way it turns the self against and towards the self – can be linked precisely to the inter-corporeality and sociality of shame experiences. The ‘apartness’ of the subject is intensified in the return of the gaze.23

The Fall, particularly as represented in the Junius Manuscript, particularly in light of the awkward emergence of sexual difference, thus opens up the very possibility of relation and orientation through painful individuation. At the core of this gesture and the shame it seems to represent, then, is the couple’s recognition of their own nakedness in the eyes of the other.24 To cover their nakedness with hand or leaf is thus to conceal the source of shame from view, but not necessarily to obscure its visibility or their vision or their experience of shame at seeing the other’s body. But in Genesis B, it is God who asks Adam why he seeks the ‘sceade sceomiende’ [shadow 22

23

24

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity (Durham, 2003), p. 37. But see also the critique offered by Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology, p. 175, in which Sedgwick’s recuperation of shame allows it to become a source of pride, shifting a bad feeling into a good feeling and thereby foreclosing radical political disorientation. These exchanges are fundamental to any understanding of how shame works, and the crucial lesson from Ahmed is the impossibility of thinking through shame without an account of the phenomenology of orientation. Sara Ahmed, ‘The Politics of Bad Feeling’, Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association Journal, 1 (2005), 73–85, at p. 76. Ahmed’s argument shows how this function of shame has real consequences for the perpetuation of suffering and injustice, particularly racial suffering and injustice, in the world today. In her account, shame allows for the centering of the feelings of white people at the cost of perpetuating ongoing violence against people of color and a disregard for their feelings; in other words, as a performance of turning back towards oneself and one’s own feelings in shame, one looks away from or ignores the suffering of others. As Ahmed explains, ‘the very physicality of shame – how it works on and through bodies – means that shame also involves the de-forming and re-forming of bodily and social spaces, as bodies “turn away” from the others who witness the shame… . In experiences of shame, the “bad feeling” is attributed to oneself, rather than to an object or other’, at p. 75. See Jonathan Wilcox, ‘Naked in Old English: The Embarrassed and the Shamed’, in Benjamin C. Withers and Jonathan Wilcox (eds), Naked Before God: Uncovering the Body in Anglo-Saxon England (Morgantown, 2003), pp. 275–309, for a study of how early medieval embarrassment around nakedness, especially in Genesis A and Genesis B, corresponds to a moral sense of shame: ‘That embarrassment and that nakedness can be seen as metaphors for the more fundamental failing of disobedience (through pride) and the shame that acknowledges that disobedience’, at p. 293.

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in shame, 875a] and orders the couple to ‘sceome þeccan … frumhrægle’ [cover their shameful parts with the first garments, 942b–943a]. On the other hand, to cover their eyes – as they do in the Junius Manuscript – is to recognize, perhaps even respectfully, the vulnerability and exposure of the other: the conflicted desire, as Tomkins puts it, in which ‘in shame I wish to continue to look and to be looked at, but I also do not wish to do so’.25 Shame entails a kind of recursive self-concealment – ‘Shame, indeed, covers shame itself’ – but also, as Alice Jorgensen has shown with particular respect to the religious culture of early medieval England, requires an audience, whether of fellow human beings or eventually of God.26

Facing the Body Other than the couple’s implicit shame, nothing in the Book of Genesis or the Old English Genesis B specifies the hand gesture we find in the Junius Manuscript, which might explain why it is such an unusual artistic choice. By contrast, several pages later in the same manuscript we find Noah intoxicated with wine, lying naked and exposed, as his sons cover up his body while covering their own faces with their cloaks (Genesis 9:21–25; Figure 4.9). At this point in the Junius Manuscript, a second artist has taken over from the first (who was responsible for the drawings of Adam and Eve), and the interpolated Genesis B has given way again to the narrative of Genesis A. Here, the depiction of Noah’s sons provides a useful context for the gestures of Adam and Eve, particularly as they indicate a response to the sight of a sexualized body. In the upper portion of the drawing (Figure 4.9), Noah’s son, Ham, gazes with laughter at his father’s naked body; below that, Ham tells his two brothers of their father’s situation; and further below, Noah’s two, more faithful sons come to his aid and cover his body with a blanket. At this point, Genesis A extrapolates a detail from its biblical source, and the illustrator follows suit. In the Old English poem, Shem and Japheth approach their father quickly with their faces ‘in bewrigenum / under loðum listum’ [covered by their garments] (Genesis B, 1585b–1586a). In Genesis 9:23, the scene differs slightly, as the sons do not specifically cover their faces with the cloak, but rather ‘pallium imposuerunt humeris suis, et incedentes retrorsum, operuerunt verenda patris sui: faciesque eorum aversae erant, et patris virilia non viderunt’ [put a cloak upon their shoulders, and going backward, covered the nakedness of their father: and their faces were turned away, and they

25 26

Tomkins, Affect, Imagery, Consciousness: Volume II, The Negative Affects, p. 137. Tomkins, Affect, Imagery, Consciousness, p. 123; Alice Jorgensen, ‘“It shames me to say it”: Ælfric and the Concept and Vocabulary of Shame’, Anglo-Saxon England, 41 (2012), 249–276.

Figure 4.1: Fall of Adam and Eve – Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 11, p. 34

Figure 4.2: Fall of Adam and Eve – Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 11, p. 36

Figure 4.3: Fall of Adam and Eve – Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 11, p. 39

Figure 4.4: Adam and Eve hiding from God; the Expulsion; Adam and Eve laboring – Old English Illustrated Hexateuch, London, British Library, Cotton Claudius B. iv, fol. 7v

Figure 4.5: Marginal nude figures – The Bayeux Tapestry, Scene 13 – Bayeux, France, Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux

Figure 4.6: Fall of Adam and Eve – Bible of Robert De Bello – London, British Library, Burney MS 3, fol. 5v

Figure 4.7: Temptation and Fall of Adam and Eve – Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 11, p. 31

Figure 4.8: The five senses – The Fuller Brooch – London, British Museum, no. 1952,0404.1

Figure 4.9: Noah and his sons – Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 11, p. 78

Figure 4.10: The widow of Enos mourning his death in Gen. 5:11 – Old English Illustrated Hexateuch, London, British Library, Cotton Claudius B. iv, fol. 10v

Figure 4.11: Israelites mourning the death of Moses in Deut. 34:8 – Old English Illustrated Hexateuch, London, British Library, Cotton Claudius B. iv, fol. 139v

Figure 4.12: Mourning Abel – Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 11, p. 59

Figure 4.13: Crucifixion – Ramsey Psalter – London, British Library, Harley MS 2904, fol. 3v

Figure 4.14: Crucifixion – Gospel book of Judith of Flanders – New York, The Morgan Library and Museum, M. 709, fol. 1v

Figure 4.15: Crucifixion – Winchcombe Psalter – Cambridge, University Library, Ff. 1. 23, fol. 88r

Figure 4.16: Darkness upon the face of the abyss – Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 11, p. 6

Figure 4.17: Enoch’s Ascension – Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 11, p. 61

Figure 4.18: Christ’s Ascension – Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum Inv. Nr. 7284

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saw not their father’s nakedness]. The Junius artist thus captures the poetic detail found in Genesis A’s departure from the Vulgate by depicting Noah’s sons with their cloaks covering their faces, though not fully; they do not approach backwards, nor do they turn away, but instead they approach quickly (‘raðe’, 1584b), facing their father and using their cloaks to block their vision. Noah’s shame is typologically evocative of the Fall, and the Genesis A poet is quick to link the two: Swiðe on slæpe sefa nearwode þæt he ne mihte on gemynd drepen hine handum self mid hrægle wryon and sceome þeccan, swa gesceapu wæron werum and wifum, siððan wuldres þegn ussum fæder and meder fyrene sweorde on laste beleac lifes eðel. (Genesis A, 1570–1576) [His mind was so sharply restricted in sleep that he could not be bothered to use his own hands to cover himself with his garments and hide his shame, as genitals were for men and women ever since the minister of glory locked the native abode of life behind our father and mother, with a fiery sword.]

Here, the imperative to look away from the naked body traces its way back to precisely that moment earlier in the manuscript where Adam and Eve negotiate the same problem for themselves. The two sets of gestures are remarkably similar. While it is immediately apparent that the cloaks of the two sons block their vision more efficiently than Adam and Eve’s narrow fingers, this difference only further emphasizes the fact that the couple had not yet at that point received their clothing from God; bare hands were the best they could do. The placement of Adam and Eve’s fingers may imply the couple’s desire to keep looking, as Martin argues, for they ‘obstruct vision with the covered eye and focus visual attention on the other with the uncovered eye’.27 But even with their flowing cloaks, the son closest to Noah leaves his left eye exposed and visible to the reader. This partial observation – whether a signifier of sexual lust, as Martin suggests, or of the impossibility of completely looking away – is only possible in a rendering of Genesis A, where the sons approach Noah, not backwards (as in the Book of Genesis), but instead facing forwards. For Adam and Eve, as for Noah’s sons in the Junius Manuscript, their ambiguous demonstration and con-

27

Martin, ‘Vision and Sex in the Iconography of the Old English Genesis Manuscript’, p. 131. There are numerous other contemporary illustrations, where subjects raise their fingers to their faces, yet their fingers are drawn so narrow and so widely spaced as to leave gaps that could clearly be seen through, with one or both eyes remaining visible to the reader (e.g., Figures 4.4, 4.10, and 4.11). Moreover, rarely are subjects ever depicted covering both eyes; the second son of Noah (Figure 4.9) is a striking exception.



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cealment of shame – looking while appearing not to look – is only possible in their position of facing the naked object of their attention. Indeed, facing the sexualized body is only a possibility after the couple’s eyes have been opened, which is the basis for a fundamental exegetical question: to what are their eyes opened and in what manner were they shut before? Augustine explains, for example, that ‘in sua membra oculos iniecerunt ea que motu eo, quem non nouerant, concupiuerunt. ad hoc ergo aperti sunt oculi, ad quod antea non patebant, quamuis ad alia paterent’ [they directed their eyes to their own genitals and lusted after them with a feeling previously unknown. To this their eyes were opened, to that which they had been previously closed, although open to everything else].28 Augustine’s interpretation limits the couple’s new vision to the discovery of carnal desire: what changes is their ability to see and experience their naked bodies in a way that enables ‘concupiscentia oculorum’ [the lust of the eyes].29 While influential, Augustine’s interpretation was not the only one, nor necessarily the one most likely to have guided the poet of the Old Saxon Genesis on which Genesis B is based.30 Andrew Cole has shown that the Old Saxon Genesis in fact derives much of its epistemological perspective from Gregory the Great’s Dialogi, which itself relies on several apocryphal sources to construct an unconventional ontology of prelapsarian vision that anticipates the postlapsarian visionary capacity of Christian saints.31 For the poets of the Old Saxon Genesis and Genesis B, the opening of Adam and Eve’s eyes is thus primarily an effect of Eve’s visionary expansion rather than exclusively the couple’s sinful recognition of their nakedness.32

The Face of Grief Indeed, Adam and Eve continue covering their faces even after they have found leaves to conceal their sexualized bodies (Figure 4.1). What begins as a scene of total exposure, amidst a barren landscape in the upper frame, transforms into a scene of coverage amidst abundant vegetation: leaves in hand, personal bushes to hide behind, and a tree that stands between the 28 29

30

31

32

Augustine, De Genesi ad litteram, XI.31 (ed. Zycha, p. 365). For Augustine on the concupiscence of the eyes, see J. J. O’Donnell (ed.), Confessions (3 vols, Oxford, 1992), X.35. Augustine informs the commentary on these verses by Bede, In Genesim, I.iii.6, I.iii.7 (ed. Jones, p. 62). Andrew Cole, ‘Jewish Apocrypha and Christian Epistemologies of the Fall: The Dialogi of Gregory the Great and the Old Saxon Genesis’, in Rolf H. Bremmer, Jr, Kees Dekker, and David F. Johnson (eds), Rome and the North: The Early Reception of Gregory the Great in Germanic Europe (Paris, 2001), pp. 157–188, at pp. 161–162. Cole, ‘Jewish Apocrypha and Christian Epistemologies of the Fall, p. 172.

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couple. Their nakedness is almost completely obscured from one another, but Adam and Eve both continue to cover their faces with their hands in a gesture that – if purely a shame response to sexualized nudity – becomes largely extraneous. That is, except for the fact the two are no longer actively straining to face one another (as they seem to be doing in the upper register, with their chins up and necks stretched forward), but instead they are subtly dipping their heads downwards, especially Eve. It is in this precise moment in the lower register that the exposed shame of the upper register, illuminated by the surrounding barrenness, transforms into a different emotion altogether: an awareness of what has just come to pass and an anticipation of the grief to come. In much early medieval art, variations on this gesture tend most often to signify not shame, per se, but mourning. In the Old English Illustrated Hexateuch, for example, the gesture is performed by the widow of Enos (Figure 4.10; Genesis 5:11) and by Tamar as she weeps over the death of her husband, Er (Genesis 38:7); elsewhere in the manuscript, the gesture is present as the Israelites mourn the death of Moses (Figure 4.11; Deuteronomy 34:8), as Jacob learns of the death of Joseph (Genesis 37:31– 36), and as Joseph weeps over the death of his father (Genesis 50:1).33 And just as mourners are often depicted lifting their hands to their faces, they also sometimes lift a garment instead, as in the Junius depiction of the death of Abel where the female mourners in the background cover their mouths with their cloaks (Figure 4.12).34 The four instances of Adam and Eve’s gesture in the Junius Manuscript have therefore sometimes been read, if not as shame, then of sadness and grief.35 Adam and Eve no doubt exude such sorrow, which closely corresponds to multiple moments in the accompanying poem: ‘Sorgedon 33

34

35

Old English Illustrated Hexateuch, London, British Library, Cotton Claudius B. iv, fol. 10v; fol. 55v; fol. 139v; fol. 55; fol. 70. See Jonathan Wilcox, ‘A Place to Weep: Joseph in the Beer-Room and Anglo-Saxon Gestures of Emotion’, in Stuart McWilliams (ed.), Saints and Scholars: New Perspectives on Anglo-Saxon Literature and Culture in Honour of Hugh Magennis (Cambridge, 2012), pp. 14–32, at p. 23, who argues that the artist of the Old English Illustrated Hexateuch (at fol. 61v) depicts Joseph concealing his tears by covering his face with his hand, thus interpreting and emphasizing the textual detail in Genesis 43:30 that Joseph goes into his chamber to weep. A similar gesture is also found in the Benedictional of St Æthelwold (London, British Library, Add. 49598), fol. 102v (Gneuss-Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, no. 301). Dodwell, Anglo-Saxon Gestures and the Roman Stage, pp. 115–117, concludes that in early medieval England, particularly in the Junius drawings of Adam and Eve, this hand gesture works as a generic indication of sadness. Likewise, Karkov, Text and Picture, p. 39, in her reading of the simultaneous unity and separation of Adam and Eve, suggests that the ‘gesture that the two make with their hands to their faces in the three illustrations directly following the Fall is also a sign of their sorrow’. Following Dodwell, Wilcox, ‘Naked in Old English’, p. 294, suggests that ‘the hand in front of the vitals is a gesture of



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ba twa’ [they both sorrowed] (Genesis B, 765b); ‘Þæt wif gnornode, / hof hreowigmod’ [that woman mourned, grieved with a sorrowful mind] (Genesis B, 770b–771a); ‘Nu wit hreowige magon / sorgian for þis siðe’ [Now we must sorrow in grief on account of this deed] (Genesis B, 800b– 801a); ‘Hwurfon hie ba twa, / togengdon gnorgende’ [they both turned and went away mourning] (Genesis B, 840b–841a).36 Three of these passages specifically indicate the couple’s mutual grief, and the last of them implies precisely the moment in which their grief manifests in a mutual act of turning. This mutual turning is then subtly represented in the lower register of Figure 4.1, where their two bodies now turn slightly away from one another, even as their faces look back and return their occluded gazes. When Genesis A picks the narrative back up, God strolls through Paradise and the couple hide from him in the darkness (‘hyddon hie on heolstre’, Genesis A, 860a). Their shame (‘wrihst sceome’, Genesis A, 876b) becomes interwoven with grief (‘gesyhst sorge’, Genesis A, 877a). Or, as viewed sequentially through the hands of the Junius artist, sorrow emerges from shame: an affective development that begins with the couple’s shameful recognition of their nakedness, followed by their attempt to hide from God, and culminating in deeper awareness of what they have lost and eventually an even more profound anticipatory mourning of their finitude, as they await one another’s inevitable death (‘deaðes bidan’, Genesis A, 922b) now promised by God.

Facing Suffering Just as Adam and Eve’s gesture subtly shifts between the first two instances (Figure 4.1), so in the third it takes an entirely new and more expansive turn (Figure 4.2): here, Adam and Eve stand exposed once again with no surrounding foliage, but they now appear directly above a hellmouth, as the demonic messenger enters and several more suffer within. Adam gazes towards Eve’s face (his hand covering his left eye, unseen in profile) while Eve raises her hand to her face and appears to be looking (both of her eyes remain visible) through her fingers slightly downwards towards the hellmouth itself. The drawing of the hellmouth corresponds quite precisely to the poem’s description of the messenger’s return to hell where Satan is bound in fetters (Genesis B, 762b; the illustration itself falls between lines 764 and 765). But the couple’s gesture in the upper register points to several other subsequent details in the poem. It is the moment that they see (‘gesawon’, Genesis B, 783b) their naked bodies for the first time, hence perhaps the barrenness of their surroundings in

36

embarrassment, while the hand in front of the face is a mark of their shame, here indicated by grief’. Dodwell, Anglo-Saxon Gestures and the Roman Stage, pp. 116–117.

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the drawing. It also seems to illustrate the description of their mutual sadness (‘sorgedon ba twa’, Genesis B, 765b). But that sadness necessarily emerges in relation to the vision of suffering – unthinkable in Eden before the Fall – that Adam notices Eve noticing, even as she attempts to avert her gaze. Adam thus asks her if she can see (‘Gesyhst’) the dark hell (‘sweartan helle’, Genesis B, 792b).37 In the third iteration of this single gesture, we witness a convergence of multiple emotions and ultimately a response to the sight of suffering and the anticipation of grief in the face of eventual death. Typologically, this anticipated grief becomes fulfilled in the Crucifixion.38 And in the iconography of the Crucifixion, this conflicting desire to look at and away from death is often exemplified as a tension between Mary and John as necessary witnesses to Christ’s suffering on the Cross. For example, in the Ramsey Psalter (Figure 4.13), Mary stands to the left, looking down and away from Christ with her hand to her face, while John eagerly gazes upwards and writes upon a scroll that reads: ‘hic est discipulus qui testimonium perhibet’ [this is the disciple who giveth testimony], a verse taken from the end of the Evangelist’s Gospel (John 21:24).39 Mary bows her head into her garment in order to 37

38

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The phrase ‘sweartan helle’ occurs five times in Genesis B, and only elsewhere in three texts by Ælfric of Eynsham, one homily by Wulfstan, and an anonymous vita of St Guthlac. See Antonette diPaolo Healey, et al., (eds), Dictionary of Old English Corpus in Electronic Form, (Toronto, 2005) , s.v. 'sweartan helle.' As Christ’s redemption for Original Sin, the Crucifixion is a scene of death typologically enabled by that primordial act of disobedience. The depiction of the Cross as a rough-cut tree in the Judith Gospelbook (New York, The Morgan Library and Museum, M. 709, fol. 1v; Gneuss-Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, no. 861; Figure 4.14) and the labeling of the Cross as the ‘lignum vitae’ [tree of life] in the Winchcombe Psalter (Cambridge, University Library, Ff. 1. 23, fol. 88r; Gneuss-Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, no. 4; Figure 4.15) typologically associate the Cross with that earlier Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Indeed, the very reality of death is exegetically traced back to God’s punishment of Adam and Eve with the endowment of mortality and the suffering that it would cause those who anticipate, endure, and witness it. London, British Library, Harley MS 2904, fol. 3v (Gneuss-Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, no. 430). In the Winchcombe Psalter (Figure 4.15), John’s tablet reads: ‘et ego vidi et testimonium’ [and I see and bear witness], based on John 19:35. This emphasis on John as a witness to the Crucifixion is a late-tenth-century innovation; see Jennifer O’Reilly, ‘St John as a Figure of the Contemplative Life: Text and Image in the Art of the Anglo-Saxon Benedictine Reform’, in Nigel Ramsay, Margaret Sparks, and Tim Tatton-Brown (eds), St Dunstan: His Life, Times and Cult (Woodbridge, 1992), pp. 165–185, at pp. 165–167. For a discussion of Mary and John in the iconography of the Crucifixion, see Barbara Raw, Anglo-Saxon Crucifixion Iconography and the Art of the Monastic Revival, Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England 1 (Cambridge, 1990), pp. 96–97. In the Sherborne Missal (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 422, p. 53; Gneuss-Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, no. 111), Mary is depicted alone, tilting her head to the side and resting it in her garment. In the Sacramentary of



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demonstrate her grief (as we have seen with the gesture elsewhere) and perhaps compassion, as well as perhaps also her refusal to look upon her son’s death, a refusal which directly contrasts with John’s obligation to bear witness to the event.40 Mary’s gesture thus reflects the difficulty of observing her own son hang on the Cross, a difficulty that was certainly compelling to early medieval readers, as Anselm of Canterbury writes in one of his prayers: ‘Oculis suis viderat – si tamen aspicere potuit – quae crudeles in te crudeliter fecerant’ [for she had seen with her own eyes – if she could bear to look – what cruel men cruelly did to you].41 Anselm’s sympathy for Mary’s impossible position, as she looks upon the cruelty almost against her own will, extends in this position to the supplicant who recites the prayer and in doing so must imagine and visualize Mary witnessing her own son’s death and with it a refusal to look.

Facing the Face of Darkness Like Mary, the witnesses who look away from the Crucifixion enact a refusal to look upon human suffering, but their gestures can also represent the unfolding of darkness – both as a symbol of sorrow and as a signifier of the impaired spiritual vision of many onlookers. This dual possibility is perhaps most clearly seen in the iconographic representation of the darkness that comes at the moment of Christ’s death: ‘Et facta hora sexta, tenebrae factae sunt per totam terram usque in horam nonam’ [And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole earth until the ninth hour, Mark 15:33]. In the frontispiece to one of the deluxe Gospel books of Judith of Flanders and in the Winchcombe Psalter (Figures 4.14 and 4.15), we find a fairly typical illustration of the sun and the moon, personified with their faces covered by their cloaks.42 The cloaked sun and

40

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Robert of Jumièges (Rouen, Bibliothèque Municipale, Y. 6[274], fol. 71v), Mary is covering her face fully with her cloak, and John is raising his hand to cover his right eye. John’s characterization as a witness is evident elsewhere in his association with the eagle and, by extension, its keen vision; Catherine Karkov, The Art of AngloSaxon England (Woodbridge, 2011), pp. 203–205. Given John’s role as witness, it is more common for Mary to be the one averting her gaze; however, at least one tenth-century English artist sketched the Crucifixion with John to the right of Christ, holding his hand up in front of his face and blocking the entirety of his vision: Rouen, Bibliothèque Municipale, A. 292 [26], fol. 48r. The sketch is incomplete, but above the figure is written the name Johannes. Anselm of Canterbury, Anselmi Opera Omnia, ed. F. S. Schmitt (6 vols, Edinburgh, 1946–1961), vol. 3, p. 66, Oratio 16, lines 46-47. New York, The Morgan Library and Museum, M. 709, fol. 1v (Gneuss-Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, no. 861; produced near Peterborough in the early to mid-1060s). For additional background on the manuscript (including its date and provenance), see Mary Dockray-Miller, The Books and the Life of Judith of Flanders (Farnham, 2015), pp. 29–33. Cambridge, University Library, Ff. 1. 23,

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moon gesturally represent the literal darkness of the eclipse (Mark 15:33). This sense attributed to the gesture was clearly familiar to the Junius artist, who brilliantly represents the dark abyss before Creation – a prefiguration of the darkness that would eventually cover the earth at the Crucifixion – by drawing an angel similarly covering its face with its cloak (Figure 4.16) in what is a very literal, but extraordinarily clever interpretation of Genesis 1:2: ‘tenebrae erant super faciem abyssi’ [darkness was upon the face of the deep].43 Metaphorically, the iconography of the cloaked sun and moon also represents the world’s grief and mourning with a gesture notably similar to the women, for instance, grieving the death of Abel and raising their garments to their weeping eyes (Figure 4.12). Like the occasional depiction of Mary looking down and away from her son, the cloaked faces of the sun and moon might also evoke the unbearability of looking upon the suffering of Christ. In these two particular images of the Crucifixion, Mary and John thus stand in positions of active observation in dramatic contrast to the darkened and covered faces of the sun and moon above. These gestures of looking away from Christ at the moment of his suffering and death – a moment that needs to be witnessed – come to represent a kind of darkness that also corresponds with the limits of human perception and, for that matter, the limits to artistic representations of the spiritual.44 Around the turn of the millennium and nearly contemporaneous with the Junius Manuscript, drawings of Christ’s Ascension underwent a radical shift, as artists began experimenting with techniques for representing the unrepresentable, incorporeal aspect of the divine.45 In what is commonly known as the disappearing Christ motif, the lower half of Christ’s body (or sometimes just his feet) would be depicted hanging below a cloud that receives and obscures the incorporeal portion of his body as the Apostles

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fol. 88r (Gneuss-Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, no. 4; produced during the mid-eleventh century and possibly from Canterbury or Ramsey). This iconographic detail of the sun and moon hiding their faces is also found in the late tenth-century Gospel book of Otto III (Munich, Bayerische Staatsbiblitek, Clm. 4453, fol. 248v); see Raw, Anglo-Saxon Crucifixion Iconography and the Art of the Monastic Revival, p. 93 and p. 159. The Junius depiction of Genesis 1:2 is puzzling because Genesis A contains no reference to the face of the deep (lines 103–116a). Pamela Z. Blum, ‘The Cryptic Creation Cycle in Ms. Junius xi’, Gesta, 15, no. 1/2 (1976), 211–226, at p. 216, suggests that the figure is making a ‘mourning gesture’ that corresponds to the Creator seeing the place deprived of joys (‘dreama lease’, 108a). But that place is also covered by ‘deorc gesweorc / semian sinnihte sweart under roderum’ [a dark cloud, suspended in continual night, dark under the heavens] (108b–109). On the ways artists managed such limits of representation, see Herbert L. Kessler, Spiritual Seeing: Picturing God’s Invisibility in Medieval Art (Philadelphia, 2000). See Robert Deshman, ‘Another Look at the Disappearing Christ: Corporeal and Spiritual Vision in Early Medieval Images’, The Art Bulletin, 79, no. 3 (1997), 518–546; Nancy Thebaut, ‘Non est hic: Figuring Christ’s Absence in Early Medieval Art’ (Ph.D. thesis, University of Chicago, 2019).



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look on from below. The Junius artist, for example, adapts this technique in his drawing of Enoch’s ascension (Figure 4.17).46 Prior to the invention of this motif, however, Christ’s whole body would have been depicted fully visible as he ascends towards the heavens. And artists sometimes attempted to convey the limits of human sight not by occluding the visibility of Christ’s body, but rather by drawing some of the onlooking Apostles covering their faces with their hands. One late tenth-century ivory from Metz – again, nearly contemporary with the Junius Manuscript – is a particularly powerful example of this gesture as a representation of the inability to see Christ’s divinity (Figure 4.18).47 Keen spiritual vision grants some of the Apostles – like John, whose identity as a witness to Christ is so central to his iconography – the ability to look upon the divine, while other onlookers might turn away in grief and still others might be impaired by spiritual darkness. Even as their eyes are said to be opened, Adam and Eve experience the primordial moment of such compromised spiritual vision. The Junius illustrations formally insinuate this darkened vision through Adam and Eve’s gesture.48 Indeed, such spiritual blindness is central to the exegesis of their original moment of disobedience and their subsequent attempt to hide from God. As Bede explains, ‘abscondunt se a facie Dei, non ut ipsorum conscientiam internus arbiter non uideat, sed ut ipsi gloriam uultus eius numquam nisi resipiscendo conspiciant’ [they hide themselves from the face of God not in such a way that the inward Judge does not see their conscience, but that they may never see the glory of his face except by

46 47

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Deshman, ‘Another Look at the Disappearing Christ’, pp. 521–522. Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum Inv. Nr. 7284. Other ivory examples include: Cologne, Schnütgen Museum Inv. Nr. B2 (c.1000, possibly Lorraine); British Museum 1978,0301–1 (late ninth century, northern France); and Munich, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Inv. Nr. MA 157 (c.400, Rome). See Thebaut, ‘Non est hic: Figuring Christ’s Absence in Early Medieval Art’, for a brilliant reading of the dimensionality of these ivories and the faces of the Apostles, the visibility of which changes depending on how one holds the object. This association between sin and vision is also subtly implied by the erasure of the demon’s eyes as he lays fettered to the bottom of the hellmouth into which Eve glances while covering her own face (Figure 4.2). Though we cannot be certain of when the erasure took place, this is not the only Canterbury manuscript of the late tenth century to have felt such an intervention. On the erasure of eyes as a technique for representing the spiritual blindness of sin, see Leah Klement and Benjamin A. Saltzman, ‘Sensing Medieval Violence: Two Literary Case Studies’, Global Intellectual History (forthcoming), which studies a similar program of erasures in the illustrations to Prudentius’s Psychomachia in London, British Library, Cotton Cleopatra C. viii (Gneuss-Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, no. 324), a manuscript produced at Christ Church, Canterbury around the turn of the millennium. The second Junius artist was responsible for the illustrations in a different, though nearly contemporary copy of the Psychomachia (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 23; Gneuss-Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, no. 38), though this manuscript does not contain the same erasures.

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repentance].49 Using a phrase (internus arbiter) favored by Gregory the Great, Bede augments Augustine’s interpretation of Genesis 3:8 with his own. According to Andrew Cole’s illumination of the sources for the postlapsarian ontology of vision in Genesis B, the poet follows not Augustine, who characterizes the Fall as an ‘aversion from spiritual light’, but rather the Gregorian interpretation of the Fall as ‘a withdrawal from divine vision’.50 The Fall – in both the poem and the accompanying illustrations – thus plunges Adam and Eve into blind exile and darkness, as the exegetical sources imagine them into dark penitential caves and prisons that obscure their sight of one another.51 To be sure, at these four gestural moments in the Junius Manuscript, Adam and Eve are not striving to see the divine; in fact, they have just had a false vision of the divine that ended with death and darkness. But the artist does seem to be conveying, along with shame and grief, their inability or refusal to see. Their gesture dynamically comes to represent the darkened vision so central to the narrative of the poem. In Genesis B’s strange inversion of the Vulgate version, the opening of Adam and Eve’s eyes allows them eventually to see their own nakedness, but also engulfs them in darkness as they turn away from God’s light.52 Losing sight of God, they gain in its place a darkened vision of sorrow, for the tree of death is ‘eallenga sweart, / dim and þystre’ [utterly black, dim and dark] (Genesis B, 477b–478a). In this postlapsarian equation, one finds brief enjoyment in this life and then must in death ‘secan þonne landa sweartost on fyra’ [seek out the darkest of lands in the fire] (Genesis B, 487). In their fallen state, Adam and Eve apprehend signs – life, suffering, sorrow – in a different way than before, and their raised hands indicate this change in their vision that is at once deficient and paradoxically emerges from their capacity to see more widely. These images ultimately complicate the question of how art is limited in what it can show of the divine, a question that was clearly of vital importance to artists at the turn of the millennium as they navigated the visibility of Christ during the Ascension and the darkness that materialized during the Crucifixion. The problem of visible signs and their correct apprehension by viewers appears to be built into the very structure of these pen drawings just as it is the subject of the accompanying text. As such, the beauty of the Junius artist’s technique of repetition is that this 49

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Bede, In Genesim, I (ed. Jones), p. 63, lines 2017–221; Calvin B. Kendall (trans.), Bede: On Genesis (Liverpool, 2008), p. 130. Cole, ‘Jewish Apocrypha’, p. 169. Gregory proposes that by the Fall, we are ‘ex quius videlicet carne nos in huius exilii caecitate’ [born as we are of this flesh into the darkness of exile], for we can merely hear of and wonder about those things incorporeal we cannot see. Gregory the Great, Dialogues, ed. Adalbert de Vogüé, trans. Paul Antin, Sources chrétiennes 251, 260, and 265 (3 vols, Paris, 1979–1980), vol. 3, IV.i.2, p. 18; see also Cole, ‘Jewish Apocrypha’, pp. 168–169. Later in Genesis A, God is ‘lifes leohtfruma’ [life’s source of light] (926a).



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one particular gesture – so often read as a singular and static expression of either shame or sadness – allows Adam and Eve to enact both aversion and withdrawal, both looking away and an inability to see, both overwhelmingly expanded vision and profound darkness. Indeed, in their sequential repetition, the gestures seem to perform a kind of transformation from a performance of shame and grief to an act of looking away from potential suffering and death, eventually serving as a formal representation of the couple’s compromised vision and the ineluctable darkness, prefigured so cunningly mere pages earlier with the covered face of the angel-abyss (Figure 4.16).

Too late For Bede, this darkness is only to be overcome by repentance: resipiscere, a term that denotes a reawakening, a return to one’s senses.53 The temporality of returning implies memory and reflection, an effort of looking back, the passage of time. For the Junius artist, Adam and Eve’s repeated gesture repeatedly comes too late. Covering their faces or turning away – whether from the sight of a naked body or witnessing the torment of souls – is always temporally incomplete, having transpired only after already seeing a body, only while simultaneously looking at suffering, only in anticipation of what might be seen or grieved. This too-lateness seems to inform the sequential temporality of the Junius images and the repetition of the couple’s gesture in them. In the illustration that precedes the sequence of four images I have attended to here, however, Eve alone initiates the gesture as a performance of repentance, and her gesture is distinct in several ways from its subsequent instantiations (Figure 4.7). Here, in the upper register, Eve hands Adam the fruit, which appears in the shape of an eye, as Adam points his finger towards Eve in a display of refracted visibility. In the lower register, the satanic messenger, whose concealed tail is now slipping into view, points towards Eve, who prostrates herself with her head buried into her hands, as Adam kneels, looks away, and extends his arms slightly upwards. Their gestures are clearly of repentance and petition.54 And so this gesture, which is so multifaceted, begins as a retrospective turning inwards. It begins where it should end. In the final image of Adam and Eve covering their faces (Figure 4.3), their gesture remains similar to the ones that precede it, but their posture and their position in relation 53

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Bede, In Genesim, I (ed. Jones, p. 63, line 2021); Kendall (trans.), On Genesis, p. 130. Compare Eve’s gesture with that performed, for instance, by St Dunstan at the foot of Christ in the frontispiece of St Dunstan’s Classbook (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Auctarium F. 4. 32; Gneuss-Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, no. 538).

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to the surroundings transforms yet again. Following a moment of open conversation in the register above, they now sit, facing one another, barely crouched over, perhaps in a state of repentance or stillness, separated and enclosed once again by trees and foliage. The final lines of Genesis B directly surround and inform this image, as Adam and Eve ‘Hwurfon hie ba twa, togengdon gnorngende on þone grenan weald’ [mournfully turn away from one another in the green forest] (Genesis B, 840b–841; Junius 11, p. 39; Figure 4.3). The green forest is clearly reproduced in the lower frame of the drawing, as is the couple’s seated position. Following a detail in the subsequent line, which begins at the top of the next page, they quite literally sit apart (‘sæton onsundran’, Genesis B, 842a; Junius 11, p. 40). What is unclear in the drawing is the degree to which they contemplate and beg for God’s forgiveness, that he might ‘hie ne forgeate’ [not forget them] (Genesis B, 849a) and that he might show them ‘hu hie on þam leohte forð libban sceolden’ [how they might henceforth live in that light] (Genesis B, 851). But the image nonetheless evokes the spiritual darkness, shame, and grief that culminates in this moment of recognition, a moment of looking back both to the earlier image in the forest (Figure 4.1) and to their act of disobedience. Yet it is a moment only available to them with their falsely expanded and newly darkened mode of vision. In its repeated form, Adam and Eve’s gesture does more than signify their shame or sorrow; it puts the viewer of the manuscript in the position of visually adjudicating these images over and over again, as the viewer looks upon Adam and Eve’s shame and sorrow and repentance, exemplified by their ambiguous inability or unwillingness to look. The gestures perform and mediate for the viewer the viewer’s own shame in response to what Adam and Eve now see, rendering the viewer’s awareness of their own fallen state of vision and their own need or failure to look away. A recognition that, as with Adam and Eve, comes too late, for we have already seen their bodies on the page (desexualized as they at times are).55 It forces us to realize that we, fallen as we are, have been looking at them the whole time. And really we should have been covering our own eyes. Too late.

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Catherine Karkov, ‘Exiles from the Kingdom: The Naked and the Damned in Anglo-Saxon Art’, in Benjamin C. Withers and Jonathan Wilcox (eds), Naked Before God: Uncovering the Body in Anglo-Saxon England (Morgantown, 2003), pp. 181–220, at p. 191, demonstrates that the Junius drawing of Noah is unusual in its depiction of his genitals (by contrast, for instance, with the Illustrated Hexateuch, where Noah’s genitals may have originally been visible, but were later scratched away). According to Wilcox, ‘Naked in Old English’, pp. 289–294, in the Illustrated Hexateuch, Adam and Eve’s nakedness is concealed from the postlapsarian viewer, but in Junius 11, ‘Eve’s breasts and nipples are prominent, serving to mark sexual difference, while Adam’s body lacks the expected sexual marker, even when shown full frontally’, at p. 294.

5 Hawk Taming and Humanity in The Fortunes of Men Stacy S. Klein

To train a hawk you must watch it like a hawk… . Then you gain the ability to predict what it will do next… . Eventually you don’t see the hawk’s body language at all. You seem to feel what it feels. Notice what it notices. The hawk’s apprehension becomes your own… . It was happening now. I had put myself in the hawk’s wild mind to tame her, and as the days passed in the darkened room my humanity was burning away. —H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald (2014)1

M

y epigraph, taken from Helen Macdonald’s prize-winning memoir on hawk taming, captures the central concern of this essay: that close attention to birds and their behavior sheds light on the protean nature of ontological boundaries. As Macdonald immerses herself in the rhythms of hawk life in order to tame the wild goshawk Mabel – a quest propelled by the hope that ditching her humanity will also free her from the grief occasioned by her father’s sudden death – she gains insight into the limitations of being human as well as a glimpse of the world through a new ontological lens. At once a biography of the deeply troubled novelist T. H. White, best known for his Arthurian novel The Once and Future King, and an elegy for her father’s passing, Macdonald’s account of a year spent losing a father and finding a hawk underscores the fine line between the human and the nonhuman animal world, as well as the processes of taming and socialization that serve to maintain or, conversely, to bridge this divide. H is for Hawk is set partly in Cambridge, the home of Macdonald, and partly in Scotland, the home of her newly acquired goshawk, Mabel. My essay revisits bird life in Britain while taking us back in time to a body of literature similarly fascinated by the boundaries of humanity, yet composed over a millennium before Macdonald set out to soften the edges of both her goshawk and her grief. More specifically, my essay investigates representations of avian life in the ninety-eight-line Old English wisdom

1

Helen Macdonald, H is for Hawk (New York, 2014), p. 86.

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poem known variously as The Fortunes of Men, The Fates of Men, and The Fates of Mortals, and preserved in the late tenth-century Exeter Book.2 Although scholars have long acknowledged wisdom poetry’s investment in processes of socialization, little attention has been paid to the important role that representations of animals, particularly birds, play in this project.3 While ontological division has taken center stage in Fortunes scholarship, critics have attended not to the distance between humans and animals but, instead, to that between humans and the divine. This neglect is all the more curious because birds are, in fact, particularly well positioned to address the questions scholars have found central to the poem. Because of their ability to fly, birds occupy a kind of spatial middle ground, part way between earth and heaven. Their capacity to traverse uppermost regions known only to God and other celestial beings renders birds apt figures, as I argue, for shedding light on what scholars agree to be a central theme of Fortunes: the vast difference between humanity and divinity and the requisite subjection to God’s power that is its logical corollary.4 The physical mobility of birds is matched by their conceptual range. For animal studies scholars, birds have proven to be unusually auspicious creatures, offering the prospect of crossing not only topographies but also temporalities and abstractions, and of bridging seemingly intransigent boundaries between species, as well as other similarly sedimented divides. In her study of birds in late medieval English poetry, for example, Susan Crane underscores the likeness between human language and birdsong – a likeness famously adumbrated in the Old English Seafarer’s efforts to assuage his loneliness by substituting the call of the swan, gannet, huilpa,

2

3

4

Quotations from The Fortunes of Men refer to the edition contained in Robert E. Bjork (ed. and trans.), Old English Shorter Poems: Wisdom and Lyric, Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, 32 (Cambridge, 2014), vol. 2, pp. 56–63, in which the poem is titled The Fortunes of Mortals, and are given parenthetically by line number. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own. The term ‘wisdom literature’ was first coined in the late nineteenth century as a rubric for designating a group of Old Testament writings considered to contain wisdom, including Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom of Solomon, a few psalms (typically 1, 37, 127, and 128), and Ecclesiasticus (Book of Sirach). Old English wisdom literature is best understood less as a discrete genre than as a number of genres and discourses which interact with one another and also with related genres (e.g., maxims, gnomes, riddles, charms, elegies), or even simply as a heuristic label for a rather vague assemblage of vernacular poems that share an interest in cataloguing knowledge, defining human wisdom in relation to that of the divine, and enshrining common sense. For an excellent introduction to the complexities of the genre, see Elaine Tuttle Hansen, The Solomon Complex: Reading Wisdom in Old English Poetry (Toronto, 1988). As Jill Hamilton Clements states, the ‘fates in Fortunes are framed by God’s providential control over life and death’: Jill Hamilton Clements, ‘Sudden Death in Early Medieval England and the Anglo-Saxon Fortunes of Men’, in Thea Tomaini (ed.), Dealing with the Dead: Mortality and Community in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Boston, 2018), pp. 36–67, at p. 51.



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and mew for the voices of absent friends.5 Birds’ paradigmatic mobility and capacity to evade strict taxonomies made them, as Heather Maring observes, ‘exceptional vehicles [by which] poets could invite their audiences to move in and through the expanses of the created world: through the sky, on earth, in water, and across metaphorical and spiritual spaces.’6 Birds could, as Donna Beth Ellard explains, take people into literal and figurative realms previously cordoned off from humans, as evidenced by examples of human-avian fusion in Old English texts, such as the quill pen in Exeter Book Riddle 51, or of human imitations of birds such as in the Old English Phoenix, in which ‘human souls move toward heaven by mimicking the flight and sound of the phoenix’.7 The belief that birds are endowed with an innate fluidity and liminality that allows them to forge connections between seemingly disparate phenomena extends far beyond medieval studies to encompass modern philosophical inquiries into the nature of the nonhuman. We might note, for example, Michael Warren’s summary of the special status accorded to birds in the writing of Deleuze and Guattari, whose idea of ‘becoming-animal’ inspired a postmodern (if not necessarily posthuman) project in animal studies.8 For Deleuze and Guattari, as Warren contends, ‘birds embody specific, 5

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8

Susan Crane, ‘For the Birds’, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, 29 (2007), 23–41, esp. 25. For a provocative study of birdsong in the Old English Seafarer, see Donna Beth Ellard, ‘Communicating Between Species and Between Disciplines – Lessons from the Old English Seafarer’, Exemplaria, 30.4 (2018), 293–315. Ellard argues that the Seafarer ultimately rejects analogical similarities between his voice and those of birds in favor of a more embodied form of bird-human communication that allows for an ‘ethics of attunement’ to emerge between species and disciplines. For studies that treat bird vocalizations more generally, see Kristopher Poole and Eric Lacey, ‘Avian Aurality in Anglo-Saxon England’, World Archaeology, 46.3 (2014), 400–415, and Eric Lacey, ‘Birds and Words: Aurality, Semantics and Species in Anglo-Saxon England’, in Simon C. Thomson and Michael D. J. Bintley (eds), Sensory Perception in the Medieval West (Turnhout, 2016), pp. 75–98. Heather Maring, ‘Birds of Creation in the Old English Exeter Book’, JEGP, 120.4 (2021), 429–464, at 442. I am grateful to Heather for sharing her prepublication work as well as for productive exchanges that have helped me to improve this essay. See Donna Beth Ellard with Bailey Pittenger, ‘Writing with Birds: Enigma 59, Riddle 51, and Process-Based Poetics’, in Gillian R. Overing and Ulrike Wiethaus (eds), American/Medieval goes North: Earth and Water in Transit (Göttingen, 2019), vol. 2, pp. 231–246. The quotation is taken from Ellard’s superb study of the Old English Phoenix, ‘Going Interspecies, Going Interlingual, and Flying Away with the Phoenix’, Exemplaria, 23.3 (2011), 268–292, at 270. For additional studies that treat the connection between birds, speech, and writing in the Exeter Book Riddles, see Robert DiNapoli, ‘Odd Characters: Runes in Old English Poetry’, in Antonina Harbus and Russell Poole (eds), Verbal Encounters: Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse Studies for Roberta Frank (Toronto, 2005), pp. 145–162, and ‘Reading and Writing in the Runic Riddles and The Husband’s Message’, chapter 2 of Victoria Symons, Runes and Roman Letters in Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts (Berlin, 2016), pp. 45–83. For an elegant essay that contextualizes Deleuze and Guattari’s writing within postmodern and posthuman studies, see Kari Weil, ‘A Report on the Animal

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illuminating examples of the intimate and fundamental connections across and between all things.’9 Yet if the birds depicted in so many texts, both medieval and modern, are indeed liminal, fluid creatures who promise to escort humans across entrenched boundaries and into communion with other forms of life, much of the avian imagery found in The Fortunes of Men is, by contrast, rather dismaying. The tree-climber who appears in the poem’s opening catalogue on worldly misfortunes, for example, finds his experiment at bird flight abruptly terminated, when ‘the featherless one’s’ (fiþerleas, i.e., ‘wingless’; Fortunes 22a) leap from tall branches results in his crashing quickly to earth. The hanged criminal in the poem’s subsequent section experiences a longer period of aerial travel, but this grim simulacrum of bird flight – in which a lifeless body swings, pendulum-like, from the gallows – is hardly uplifting. Unlike Chaucer’s Dreamer, whose golden eagle carries him ever upward to the House of Fame, or Macdonald’s hawk-taming venture that takes her to the brink of new ontologies, in Fortunes, human endeavors to ‘go interspecies’ and to fly with falcon or phoenix are rerouted to distinctly lower ground. The tree-climber’s attempts to imitate bird flight result in his death at the tree’s roots, while the hanged man’s efforts at ‘becoming-bird’ morph rapidly into a grotesque rendition of interspecies merger, when his eyeballs are pecked out by ravens and transformed into bird food. The Fortunes poet uses representations of birds and, more specifically, human efforts to imitate or to otherwise bridge the divide between human and avian life as a tool for furthering the poem’s chief didactic goal: to underscore the limitations of human power in comparison to God’s might and thereby elicit awe for the profound difference between humanity and divinity. The broken bodies and humiliated corpses that mark human beings’ unsuccessful efforts to fly with the birds demonstrate the importance of respecting ontological boundaries, as well as the perils of trying to cross them. Yet if human failure to soar to heavenly heights effectively demarcates the distance between humanity and divinity, it also highlights the particular capabilities allotted to different species, including human beings. As the poem proceeds, it embraces a logic of intensified analogy in which a regard for species difference maps on to a regard for social difference and, more specifically, an appreciation for the various talents awarded to individuals on earth – from taming hawks, to composing

9

Turn’, differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 21.2 (2010), 1–22, at 11–13. Michael J. Warren, Birds in Medieval English Poetry: Metaphors, Realities, Transformations (Cambridge, 2018), p. 6. The relevant work here is Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis, 1987), esp. pp. 300–350.



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poetry, to shaping gold.10 Much as God has gifted birds with the ability to fly, so too, the Fortunes poet suggests, humans are granted different capabilities that correspond to their divinely-ordained roles in the social order. The assumption of such roles is by no means easy. In addition to fostering respect for species difference, perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Fortunes, from a premodern posthuman perspective, is the poet’s recognition of the profound difficulties of socialization and the pain endured by both animals and humans within the social world.11 Many scholars have suggested that this pain is an unavoidable aspect of earthly life and that the main lesson of Fortunes is that humans are powerless in the face of divine wyrd (fate, fortune) – an interpretation of the poem that proves almost irresistible in the light of half-lines such as ‘Ne bið swylc monnes geweald’ (Such [i.e., fate, fortune] is not in man’s power; 14b).12 The inability to control one’s fate is indeed one of Fortunes’ chief points. Nevertheless, I argue that the poem offers two forms of practical and cognitive agency by which humans might actively inhabit their own ‘wondrous destiny’: by pursuing the particular crafts or ‘talents’ distributed to each individual by God, and by listening carefully to the formal ‘refrains’ of Old English poetry – the repetition of formulaic phrases and broader thematic conventions. The repetition and power of the refrain – epitomized in birdsong – allows Fortunes to offer up a means of humanbird connection that simultaneously points to the divine, but without the consequences of other kinds of ontological slippage. By their repetitive and conventional nature, these refrains ‘express the vital, shared values of a poetic community’,13 offering forth a kind of poetic socialization that shapes both human behavior and forms of representation. Ultimately, Fortunes presents a story of humans who are denied flight yet gifted with

10

11

12

13

This logic is ‘totemic’ according to Claude Lévi-Strauss’s definition in Totemism, trans. Rodney Needham (Boston, 1963). John Levi Martin’s identification of a type of totemism that is ‘fundamentally analogic hyperbole – a kind of explication through exaggeration’ that works to ‘accentuate and systematize difference’ is also relevant; see John Levi Martin, ‘What do animals do all day? The division of labor, class bodies, and totemic thinking in the popular imagination’, Poetics, 27 (2000), 195–231, at 199–200. Cf. Crane, ‘For the Birds’, pp. 28–30. Stacy S. Klein, ‘Parenting and Childhood in The Fortunes of Men’, in Susan Irvine and Winfried Rudolf (eds), Childhood and Adolescence in Anglo-Saxon Literary Culture (Toronto, 2018), pp. 95–119. See, for example, T. A. Shippey, Poems of Wisdom and Learning in Old English (Cambridge, 1976), p. 11. Also useful is Karma Lochrie, ‘Wyrd and the Limits of Human Understanding: A Thematic Sequence in the “Exeter Book”’, JEGP, 85.3 (1986), 323–331, who does not discuss Fortunes specifically, but argues that three other poems in the Exeter Book – Judgment Day I and the two Resignation poems – comprise a triptych concerned with wyrd and the appropriate human response to it. Nicholas Howe, The Old English Catalogue Poems, Anglistica, 23 (Copenhagen, 1985), p. 105.

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song, thereby revealing how difference and similarity to birds haunts the very making of poems.

Bird Flight Aborted The Fortunes of Men opens with a moving account of a husband and wife raising their child that is echoed later on in the poem by an elaborate depiction of a man’s taming of a hawk. Sandwiched between these two beneficent representations of the socialization of young and untamed beings, Fortunes offers a long and rather frightening list of humans and animals who are forced to exist outside of society’s limits, including a criminal who hangs from the gallows and is pecked to death by ruthless birds, an exile who walks the heath, and a hungry raven and hoary wolf who share these same spaces. The poem’s grisly catalogue of humans and animals who live outside of the social order culminates in an enigmatic scene that forces a reckoning of the differences between the human and animal worlds, when a young man, ostensibly believing himself to be a bird, leaps from a tall tree, but because he is in fact ‘featherless’ (or perhaps ‘wingless’), falls to the ground and dies. Sum sceal on holte of hean beame fiþerleas feallan; bið on flihte seþeah, laceð on lyfte, oþþæt lengre ne bið westem wudu-beames. Þonne he on wyrt-ruman sigeð sworcen-ferð, sawle bireafod, fealleþ on foldan, feorð biþ on siþe. (Fortunes, 21–26) [One will in the wood from a high tree fall, featherless (or ‘wingless’). He will be in flight, nevertheless, turn in the air until he is no longer the fruit of the forest-tree. Then, dark in mind he falls to the roots, bereft of a soul, he falls to the earth. His spirit is on a journey.]

Precisely what is happening in this scene has occasioned much debate. The falling man-as-bird figure has been interpreted as referring to a variety of different activities, including house-building, leaf-collecting, Christ’s ascending the Cross, watching for enemies, gathering young falcons, and a shamanistic initiation associated with Odinic ritual.14 Numerous aspects of the scene, including the invocation of ‘fruit of the forest-tree’ (westem wudu-beames; 24a), repetition of the verb feallan (‘to fall’; 22a, 26a), and reference to spiritual barrenness, evoke the Fall of Mankind and the dis14

For a good overview, see Neil D. Isaacs, ‘Up a Tree: To See The Fates of Men’, in Lewis E. Nicholson and Dolores Warwick Frese (eds), Anglo-Saxon Poetry: Essays in Appreciation for John C. McGalliard (Notre Dame, 1975), pp. 363–375. Also useful on these lines is Karen Swenson, ‘Death Appropriated in The Fates of Men’, Studies in Philology, 88.2 (1991), 123–139. The tree-climber of Fortunes may also be related to the tree-climbing image found in Christ II, lines 678b–679a.



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astrous consequences of humans attempting to reach heights beyond their measure. Even the various gods to which this scene may allude, namely Odin and Christ, remind Christian readers that the acquisition of wisdom and power is, paradoxically, attained through humility, subjection, and a willingness to lower (rather than raise) the self.15 These allusions suggest that salvation and the uplifting of humanity as a whole hinges on acknowledging celestial heights as the rightful purview of God and his son. These references to divinity also underscore the dangers attendant upon human efforts to arrogate spaces and behaviors marked for other kinds of beings. Although the specifics motivating the tree-climber’s short-lived flight remain unsettled, Fortunes’ interest in the similarities and profound differences between human beings and birds nevertheless emerges from this scene with striking clarity. Although the tree-climber’s initial leap enables him to ‘bið on flihte’ (be in flight; 22b) temporarily, his fall ultimately demonstrates that humans are ill-equipped to fly, a distinction between human and avian orders that the poet attributes to both anatomical differences – unlike birds, humans are ‘wingless’ – and also to their respective moments of creation. The Book of Genesis, which was arguably the most well-known text in early medieval England, singles out birds as creatures destined to ‘fly over the earth under the firmament of heaven’ (volatile super terram sub firmamento caeli; Genesis 1:20), and throughout Genesis, birds are consistently associated with an ability to negotiate the skies (Genesis 2:19–20).16 As Maring observes, the idea that all created beings continue to demonstrate their origins, that is, to bear (or be bound by) the special distinctions that God intended for them at the moment of their first creation, finds expression throughout Old English literature. Birds, as Maring points out, were allegedly created from different types of water, and thus continued to signify as conceptually fluid creatures in the minds of medieval poets.17 Unlike birds, however, whose moment 15

16

17

As both Neil Isaacs and Raymond Tripp observe, the tree-climber recalls Odin’s experience of hanging from the World Tree for nine days and nine nights, a god’s self-sacrifice that ultimately led to his acquisition of runic wisdom as well as the power to raise the dead. Isaacs, ‘Up a Tree’; Raymond P. Tripp, Jr, ‘Odin’s Powers and the Old English Elegies’, in Martin Green (ed.), The Old English Elegies: New Essays in Criticism and Research (Cranbury, 1983), pp. 57–68. The tree-climbing passage in Fortunes also closely parallels Christ’s ascension and possible leap on to the Cross. Cant. 2:8 (‘behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills’) inspired patristic exegetes to envision events from Christ’s life as a series of leaps and to tell salvation history in shorthand form by reference to Christ’s life. The leap into the womb, the leap onto the Cross, and the leap back to heaven were the most frequently-discussed leaps. For further discussion, see Cristina Maria Cervone, ‘Christ the Falcon’, Notes and Queries, 253.3 (2008), 277–282, and Michael W. Twomey, ‘Christ’s Leap and Mary’s Clean Catch in Piers Plowman B.12.136–44a and C.14.81–88a’, Yearbook of Langland Studies, 5 (1991), 165–174. Robert Weber (ed.), Biblia Sacra Iuxta Vulgatem Versionem (Stuttgart, 2007), pp. 5–7; unless indicated otherwise, translations are from the Douay-Rheims. Maring, ‘Birds of Creation’.

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(and material) of creation endowed them with a capacity for both extraordinary mobility and fluidity, God formed man from the slime of the earth (formavit igitur Dominus Deus hominem de limo terrae; Genesis 2:7).18 The distinct earthliness of human beings was further concretized by the Fall, which ensured that man would perpetually till the earth, eat the herbs of the earth, and ultimately ‘return to the earth out of which [he was] taken’ (revertaris in terram de qua sumptus es; Genesis 3:19).19 Significantly, the tree-climber’s fall leaves him firmly grounded ‘on earth’ (on foldan; 26a), at the tree’s roots (on wyrt-ruman; 24b). When these distinctly earthly images are read in conjunction with the language and imagery of Edenic loss that permeates this scene, they recall the moment and material of man’s creation – both of which, as the Fortunes poet insists, render him distinctly different from birds. The tree-climber’s state of soullessness (sawle bireafod; 25b) distances him further from the possibility of flight as the poem lingers with the soulless body, not the ‘journey’ of his spirit. In one sense, this introduces some continuity between human and bird, as birds – like all nonhuman animals – lack souls. Yet, because birds are persistently analogized as souls,20 the tree-climber’s earthbound, soulless corpse renders him thoroughly different from the birds he sought to emulate. Although the tree-climber’s failure to fly highlights the difference between human and avian orders, the scene nevertheless exhibits a deep fascination with possible parallels and symbiosis between human beings and the natural world. The dark mind of the fallen man prefigures the dark-coated raven (salwig-pad; 37a), which appears in the poem’s subsequent depiction of human-bird imitation. The potential for human-avian interaction also inheres in the tree-climber’s occupation. As Edwin J. Howard suggests, the tree-climber may well have scaled the tree in order to catch eyasses (i.e., young hawks) for taming, a theory that is given further credence by the depiction of hawk-taming that appears later on in the poem.21 Jennifer Neville has shown that Old English poets frequently depict the natural world as a force that is hostile and threatening to humans – a symbol of ‘fear and emptiness’ and ‘an appalling human absence’.22 The fact that wolf, storm, raven, and barren landscape all appear in a catalogue devoted to the topic of death and misfortune indicates that Fortunes participates in this tradition. Yet the poem is also informed by a 18 19 20

21

22

Weber (ed.), Biblia Sacra, p. 6. Weber (ed.), Biblia Sacra, p. 8. For an overview of this motif, see Mohamed Eric Rahman Lacey, ‘Birds and Bird-Lore in the Literature of Anglo-Saxon England’ (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University College London, 2013), pp. 250–279. Edwin J. Howard, ‘Old English Tree Climbing: Christ vv. 678–79’, JEGP, 30.2 (1931), 152–154. Jennifer Neville, Representations of the Natural World in Old English Poetry (Cambridge, 1999), p. 38.



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somewhat different, competing strain of thought: that observations about animals and other aspects of the natural world might serve as touchstones for understanding human behavior and society. As Carolyne Larrington argues, ‘The Exeter Maxims are aware of man’s existence in nature, as the similes drawn from the natural world make clear, just as the Cotton Maxims are aware of man as a natural phenomenon.’23 One thus finds throughout wisdom poetry ‘immanent natural truths’,24 such as ‘Forst sceal freosan, fyr wudu meltan, / eorþe growan’ (Frost must freeze, fire consume wood, the earth put forth growth; Maxims I, 71–72a), followed by claims about human behavior and interactions: ‘Cyning sceal mid ceape cwene gebicgan, / bunum ond beagum’ (A king must buy his wife with a bride-price, with cups and rings; Maxims I, 81–82a).25 The nature-human order is sometimes reversed, with observations about human behavior preceding natural truths, such as in Maxims I, in which the image of a man’s tempestuous mind introduces a similarly tumultuous sea, riven by storm-tossed waves.26 In much the same way, wisdom poetry often juxtaposes observations about animals with claims about human life and behavior, as in the Maxims II poet’s description of fowl, fish, rainstorms, and thieves in their natural environments:  Fugel uppe sceal lacan on lyfte. Leax sceal on wæle mid sceote scriðan. Scur sceal on heofenum, winde geblanden, in þas woruld cuman. Þeof sceal gangan þystrum wederum. (Maxims II, 38b–42a)27 [The fowl must be in the sky, flying through the air. The salmon must be in the pool, shooting with the trout. The rainstorm must be in the heavens, blending with the wind, coming into the world. A thief must go in the shadowy weather.]

Wisdom poetry’s insistent collocation of human beings, animals, plants, and the environment underscores the fact that all of these phenomena are part of the created world and thus subject to God’s might. Indeed, the Fortunes poet’s investment in exploring possible continuities between human beings and the natural world extends beyond animals to encom23

24 25

26

27

Carolyne Larrington, A Store of Common Sense: Gnomic Theme and Style in Old Icelandic and Old English Wisdom Poetry (Oxford, 1993), p. 134. Larrington, A Store of Common Sense, p. 125. George Philip Krapp and Elliott Van Kirk Dobbie (eds), Maxims I, in The Exeter Book (New York, 1936), pp. 157–163. ‘Styran sceal mon strongum mode. Storm oft holm gebringeþ, / geofen in grimmum sælum’ [A man must steer a strong mind (or ‘steer with a strong mind’). A storm often brings the sea, the ocean, into grim states.] (Maxims I, 50–51). Elliott Van Kirk Dobbie (ed.), Maxims II, in The Anglo-Saxon Minor Poems (New York, 1942), pp. 55–57, at p. 56.

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pass potential affinities between humans and plants. The tree-climber is described as being ‘no longer the fruit of the forest-tree’, much like fruit that naturally falls to the ground when ripe, and subsequently visualized as entangled with the tree’s roots and the earth in which they are fixed. Likewise, the limbs of the child who appears in Fortunes’ opening lines are compared to the branches of a tree, through the words ‘leomu’ and ‘leoþu’ (‘[tree] limbs’, ‘branches’; 5b, 6a).28 As Nicholas Howe contends: ‘the Fortunes poet attempted, in a brief, suggestive fashion, to implicate nature itself within the theological vision of the poem: that all living things created by God must meet their fates according to His apportioning.’29 Although the limitations of human understanding render these fates seemingly random and inequitable – one child becomes a successful hawk-tamer while another becomes food for wolves – wisdom poetry operates according to the premise that a single origin and purposive order underlies the observed variety of human experience and, further, that this order may be glimpsed through careful attention to the earthly world.30 As the poem teaches that the fundamental order that underlies the created universe may be discerned from careful attention to the properties and qualities of the natural world, it further suggests the place that poetic descriptions of that natural world take up within the matrix of creation. If paying careful attention to the distinctions between humans and birds reveals the boundaries of being, a poem like Fortunes acts as a mechanism to focus that attention. The second avian encounter in Fortunes – an eerie depiction of a man who not only seeks to fly like a bird but is also consumed by one – focuses these human powers of attention and observation on human-bird contact that offers a grim example of interaction and imitation.

Hanging with the Birds The tree-climbing scene in lines 21–26 of Fortunes occurs as part of a catalogue of thirteen unfortunate lots, or modes of misfortune, distributed by God among men, including hunger, storm, battle, and disability. The climber’s hapless imitation of bird flight, eighth in the catalogue, is fol28

29 30

For an excellent discussion of the comparison between human and tree in both Fortunes and in Maxims I as well as in the Old Norse Sonatorrek, see Larrington, A Store of Common Sense, pp. 140, 169–170, and 177. Howe, Old English Catalogue Poems, p. 121. For superb discussions of the ways in which both wisdom literature and catalogue poetry allow human beings to find order, meaning, and purpose amidst the apparent chaos of earthly life, see Hansen, The Solomon Complex, pp. 95–99, 164–170; and Howe, Old English Catalogue Poems, pp. 130–132. For a recent study of Fortunes as a poem that deploys the catalogue and poetic form more generally to forestall catastrophic thinking about mortality and to contain fear and uncertainty, see Renée R. Trilling, ‘Ordering Chaos in Old English Wisdom Poetry’, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (forthcoming).



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lowed by yet another, far darker, avian encounter that entails both bird imitation and interaction: the tenth fate, which features a hanged man who swings, airborne, on the gallows while being consumed by ravens. Sum sceal on geapum galgan ridan, seomian æt swylte, oþþæt sawl-hord, ban-cofa blodig, abrocen weorþeð. þær him hrefn nimeþ heafod-syne, sliteð salwig-pad sawelleasne; noþer he þy facne mæg folmum biwergan, laþum lyft-sceaþan, biþ his lif scæcen, ond he feleleas, feores orwena, blac on beame bideð wyrde, bewegen wæl-miste. Bið him werig noma! (Fortunes, 33–42) [One must ride on the steep gallows, sway in death until the soulhoard, the bloody bone-chamber, becomes broken. There the raven takes head-sight from him (i.e., pecks out his eyes). The dark-feathered one tears the soulless body. Nor can he protect himself from that crime with his hands, from the loathsome air-robber. His life is departed and he, without feeling, despairing of life, pale on the tree, endures fate concealed by the mist of death. His name is cursed!]

In this graphic account of torture, disfigurement, and bodily desecration, the possibility of ‘becoming one with the birds’ is reduced to a grim parody of human-avian interaction: the hanged man’s ghastly imitation of bird flight signals a criminality punishable by death, while his human flesh is ultimately transformed into bird food. Much like the earlier, tree-climbing scene, this zoomorphic simulacrum of bird behavior, featuring a man condemned to perpetual flight while his eyes are pecked out by ravens, bears remarkable parallels with ritual sacrifice undertaken by the Norse god Odin. Both the hanged man and Odin are depicted as one-eyed and suspended from a tree. Both men are also associated with ravens, though the body of the hanged man of Fortunes is at the complete mercy of the bird while Odin was alleged to have had two talking ravens, Huginn and Muninn (‘Thought’ and ‘Mind’), who flew all over the world, returning each night at dinner time to perch on his shoulder and deliver information. Odin’s ties to ravens were so strong that he became known as hrafnaguð, ‘raven-god’. Odin was the god of war and death, and it is possible that his association with the raven (along with the wolf and eagle) is linked to the ‘beasts of battle’ trope, a phrase coined in 1955 by Francis Peabody Magoun to describe the trio of animals found in Old English and Old Norse literature who appear in order to feast on the corpses of warriors slain in battle.31 The raven is the most frequently 31

See Francis P. Magoun, Jr, ‘The Theme of the Beasts of Battle in Anglo-Saxon Poetry’, Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, 56.2 (1955), 81–90, at 82–83; and M. S. Griffith, ‘Convention and Originality in the Old English “Beasts of Battle”

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depicted bird in Old English literature – the term hrefn occurs in eleven poetic texts and nineteen prose texts – and its presence typically heralded slaughter and human misfortune.32 The symbolic significance of ravens in early English poetry is matched by their importance in material culture. Ravens, along with other predatory birds like hawks and eagles, flourished as an ornament on early medieval English metalwork in the sixth and seventh centuries.33 Bird brooches, shield mounts, mounts used as belt buckles, plaques, appliqués, and coins have been recovered from English cemeteries in graves from this period.34 A host of raven banners are discussed in Old English historical documents, including the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which reports that King Alfred captured the Danish ‘Raven’ banner during their defeat in 878 (þær wæs se guðfana genumen ðe hi Hræfn hæton [There the war-standard which they called ‘Raven’ was captured]).35 The twelfth-century Annals of St Neots expands upon this reference, focusing on the banner’s supernatural powers: a flying raven on the banner augers victory, a still bird defeat. In quo etiam acceperunt illud uexillum quod Reafan nominant. Dicunt enim quod tres sorores Hynguari et Hubbe, filie uidelicet Lodebrochi, illud uexillum tex‘u’erunt et totum parauerunt illud uno meridiano tempore. Dicunt etiam quod, in omni bello ubi praecederet idem signum, si uictoriam adepturi essent, appareret in medio signi quasi coruus uiuus uolitans; si uero uincendi in futuro fuissent, penderet directe nichil mouens – et hoc sepe probatum est.36

32

33

34

35

36

Typescene’, Anglo-Saxon England, 22 (1993), 179–199. See also the classic discussion by Joseph Harris, ‘Beasts of Battle, South and North’, in Charles D. Wright, Frederick M. Biggs and Thomas N. Hall (eds), Source of Wisdom: Old English and Early Medieval Latin Studies in Honour of Thomas D. Hill (Toronto, 2007), pp. 3–25. For a thorough discussion of ravens in early medieval English literature, see Lacey, ‘Birds and Bird-Lore’, pp. 12–13, 43–60, 101–136, and 213–220. Lacey points out that in Bede’s Vita Sancti Cuthberti, ravens are depicted as model penitents, suggesting that redemption is possible for even the lowest and most depraved creatures, pp. 12–13. See also Sylvia Huntley Horowitz, ‘The Ravens in Beowulf’, JEGP, 80.4 (1981), 502–511. Carola Hicks, ‘The Birds on the Sutton Hoo Purse’, Anglo-Saxon England, 15 (1986), 153–165. Tania Dickinson argues that the predatory bird was the second-most frequent figural ornament in early medieval England, surpassed only by aquatic animals, and that animal ornamentation on sixth-century shields was apotropaic and designed to ward off evil and misfortune. Tania Dickinson, ‘Symbols of Protection: The Significance of Animal-Ornamented Shields in Early AngloSaxon England’, Medieval Archaeology, 49 (2005), 109–163, at 157–163. G. P. Cubbin (ed.), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition. Volume 6: MS D (Cambridge, 1996), p. 27. The statement is found in manuscripts B, C, D, and E. David Dumville and Michael Lapidge (eds), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition. Volume 17: The Annals of St Neots with Vita Prima Sancti Neoti (Cambridge, 1984), p. 78.



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[In that battle they took the banner which is called ‘Raven’. For they say that the three sisters of Inguar and Ubbe, that is, the daughters of Lodebroch, wove that banner and had it entirely prepared in one noon-tide. They also say that in every battle where this banner is carried, if they are to have the victory, there appears in the middle of the banner a raven flying like a living bird; but if they are to be defeated, it hangs down, motionless – and this has often been proved.]37

The Fortunes poet’s use of raven imagery draws on many of these conventions. The bird forecasts the hanged man’s death; it also draws an analogy between man and raven. The evil character of the laþum lyftsceaþan (loathsome air-robber; 39a), along with its supposed crimes (facne; 38a), are projected onto the hanged man, lending additional weight to the poet’s final claim that ‘Bið him werig noma’ (His name is cursed; 42). Man and bird are also both depicted as active, highly mobile figures. The raven tears apart the man’s corpse, depriving him of both eyesight and bodily integrity (hrefn nimeþ heafod-syne, / sliteð salwig-pad sawelleasne; 36–37). Likewise, the hanged man’s body sways relentlessly, ‘riding the gallows’ much as one might ride a horse (galgan ridan; 33b), unable to find rest even in death. In spite of their shared symbolic attributes, man and bird ultimately signify in very different ways. Whereas the raven’s sharp, purposeful movement effectively sunders human eyeball from flesh, emphasizing the separation of body from soul, the hanged man’s movement is aimless, unvarying to the point of dullness, and, quite literally, senseless (feleleas ‘without feeling’; 40a). The enduring quality of the man’s movement is matched by its impotence. The lifeless hanged man is powerless to fend off his avian attacker. If the unrelenting, end-driven aggressions of the raven in Fortunes recall the victorious high-flier on the Vikings’ raven-banner, the futile hand-flapping of the eye-less hanged man, unable to ‘protect himself with his hands’ (folmum biwergan; 38b) against the raven’s incursions, recalls the blind man who appears in the catalogue’s sixth fate, flailing about with his hands as if to fight off an imagined enemy: ‘Sum sceal leomena leas lifes neotan, / folmum ætfeohtan’ (One must make use of his life lacking light, fight about with his hands; 17–18a). The Fortunes poet’s emphasis on the hands of the two men lends additional pathos to their fates. In Old English poetry, hands are often used as synecdochical markers of humanity. Although both men are associated with criminality – blinding and hanging were common punishments for a host of crimes – the poet’s fascination with their hands implies that in spite of their debasement and lack of agency, they nevertheless were once human beings. The gallows scene raises difficult questions about human agency, guilt, and culpability. Who or what is responsible for the fate of the hanged man, 37

Eleanor Catherine Parker, ‘Anglo-Scandinavian Literature and the PostConquest Period’ (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oxford, 2013), p. 94. Parker discusses other raven banners on pp. 94–99.

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as well as for the other, similarly devastating fates that appear in Fortunes, and how does the natural world figure in the equation? The poem’s complex structure of witnessing lends immediate personal urgency to these questions. Fortunes begins with an image of two parents raising their young son, prompting readers to imagine that the ill-fated deaths described in the first catalogue are not only endured by their victims but also witnessed by grieving parents. Indeed, the hanged man and his raven attacker in Fortunes recall one of the most moving images of parenthood in Old English literature: the Beowulf poet’s account of the heartbroken Hreðel, who witnesses his son Herebeald killed by his brother Haeðcyn in an archery accident. This agonizing account of death left unavenged and parental grief unassuaged then segues rapidly into a more general discussion of an unnamed father’s lament for ‘his son who rides young on the gallows … as a comfort to ravens’ (his byre ride / giong on galgan … hrefne to hroðre; Beowulf 2445b-2448a), much like the hanged man in Fortunes.38 Thomas Hill argues that the gallows scene, along with most of the other bad fates in Fortunes, are ‘modes of death which cannot be avenged for one or another reason’ and thus ‘[touch] on the deep human problem of inexpiable guilt as it is experienced in history’.39 Yet despite Hill’s argument that these fates are violent, purposeless deaths, they do in fact convey meaning. Lindy Brady calls attention to the fact that ‘nearly every one of the darker fates depicted in the first half of The Fortunes of Men is linked to the landscape in some significant way’.40 As she explains, ‘Whether a man is eaten by a wolf on the moors, falls from a tree in the forest, is swept away by a storm, wanders the wilderness as an exile, or swings from the gallows while a raven plucks out his eyes; the natural world is represented as an active agent of either death or desecration of the body.’41 Brady makes a compelling case that the contrast in Fortunes between the alleged safety of the social world and the presumed dangers of an unforgiving natural landscape is an illusion meant to conceal the human agency and deeds of man that lie at the core of these grim fates. Although we know that only a human being could hang another man from the gallows, fault nevertheless appears to lie with the bird. Both the tree-climber and the hanged man are highly overdetermined figures. Their ill-fated efforts to negotiate heights beyond human warrant allude to the Fall associated with the Tree of Knowledge as well as to the

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Quotations from Beowulf refer to R. D. Fulk, Robert E. Bjork, and John D. Niles (eds), Klaeber’s Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, with a foreword by Helen Damico, 4th edn (Toronto, 2008). Thomas Hill, ‘Hæthcyn, Herebeald, and Archery’s Laws: Beowulf and the Leges Henrici Primi’, Medium Ævum, 81.2 (2012), 210–221, quotations at p. 214 and p. 219. Lindy Brady, ‘Death and the Landscape of The Fortunes of Men’, Neophilologus, 98 (2014), 325–336, with quotation at p. 327. Brady, ‘Death and the Landscape’, p. 327.



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Tower of Babel. Notably, both men meet their death on a beam (‘beam’; 21b; 24a; 41a), a freighted term that underscores humans’ ill-suitedness either to occupy trees or to fly and, by extension, the dangers of attempting to breach ontological boundaries. The fates of the two men dramatize the power of divine wyrd and subjection to its forces as a fundamental aspect of the human condition – so much so, that many scholars have interpreted Fortunes as a didactic text whose primary lesson is to teach stoic resignation in the face of the inexorable and incomprehensible workings of wyrd. As Thomas Shippey argues, ‘The whole poem invites the paraphrase: “These are the fortunes of men. There is nothing to be done about them”.’42 There is an emphasis here on the negative consequences of literally behaving like a bird: the tree-climber’s flight is cut short as he smashes into the flightlessness that marks his human reality, and the hanged man’s suspended body is defiled and consumed by an actual raven in a reaffirmation of strict ontological boundaries. This would appear to suggest that the attempt to imitate a bird is strictly off-limits. And yet, as I will argue in the next section of this essay, poetic elements of Fortunes mimic certain capacities of birds, demonstrating in the process that stoic resignation is not, in fact, the only possible response to fate.

Hawk Poetics The catalogue of grievous fates that appears in the first half of Fortunes (lines 10–57) is balanced in the poem’s second half by a catalogue of good fates distributed among humans by God (lines 64–98). These fates consist of selected occupations, gifts, and skills, which J. E. Cross has labeled the ‘talents’ of men and the Fortunes poet describes as the ‘crafts of men on this middle-earth’ (geond middan-geard monna cræftas; 94).43 Most of these crafts, including sword-play, dice, chess, throwing, shooting, and gold-smithing, are mentioned only briefly. However, two are developed at comparatively greater length: the falconer and the poet. The falconer is the final figure who appears in Fortunes. He is depicted as a young man taming a hawk: Sum sceal wildne fugel wloncne atemian, heafoc on honda, oþþæt seo heoro-swealwe wynsum weorþeð; deþ he wyrplas on, fedeþ swa on feterum fiþrum dealne, lepeþ lyft-swiftne lytlum gieflum, oþþæt se wælisca wædum ond dædum

42

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T. A. Shippey, Poems of Wisdom and Learning in Old English (Cambridge, 1976), p. 11. J. E. Cross, ‘The Old English Poetic Theme of “The Gifts of Men”’, Neophilologus, 46.1 (1962), 66–70, at p. 66.

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his æt-giefan eað-mod weorþeð ond to hago-stealdes honda gelæred. (The Fortunes of Men, 85–92) [One shall tame the arrogant wild fowl, the hawk on the hand, until the battle-swallow becomes gentle; he puts jesses (i.e., leather straps with footrings) on it, feeds the proud one, with its wings still in fetters, weakens the air-swift one with little morsels until the foreign/enslaved one (i.e., the bird) becomes humble in weeds (i.e., plumage) and deeds to his provider, trained at the hand of the young man.]

Hawking and falconry were royal and aristocratic pastimes in early medieval culture, practiced most often by young men of elite social status.44 Exeter Book Riddle 20 likens the hawk to a decorated and high-achieving warrior,45 while a letter contained in the eighth-century Boniface correspondence reports that Boniface sent one hawk and two falcons to King Æthelbald of Mercia; another letter claims that King Æthelbald of Kent requested two falcons be sent to him from Germany, since few good birds could be found locally.46 In the Vita Alfredi, Asser maintains that, in spite of the king’s many commitments, he always found time for instructing his falconer, hawkers, and dog-trainers – a comment that was likely inspired by Asser’s desire to underscore Alfred’s royal character and suitability for the throne.47 The association between hawking and elite social status made the hawk a ready symbol for materialism and consumption. The Fowler in Ælfric’s Colloquy claims that hawks were big eaters, quite literally,48 while Mercian and West Saxon charters from the eighth and ninth centuries point to a more metaphorical link between hawks and excessive consumption, suggesting that taxes on the royal hawks were high and at times a real strain on landlords, who were required to support the king’s entire hunting 44

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In The Battle of Maldon, the hawk owner is referred to as a cniht (line 9), a term that typically suggests youth and social status: The Battle of Maldon, in Dobbie (ed.), Anglo-Saxon Minor Poems, pp. 7–16, with the relevant passage on p. 7. ‘Riddle 20’, in Krapp and Dobbie (eds), The Exeter Book, pp. 190–191. This riddle may alternatively be solved as ‘sword’. For an argument on the mutual reinforcement of these solutions, see Marie Nelson, ‘Old English Riddle 18 (20): A Description of Ambivalence’, Neophilologus, 66.2 (1982), 291–300. For a comprehensive discussion of the debate over Riddle 20’s solutions, and the shared vocabulary between Riddle 20 and Fortunes that supports the ‘hawk’ solution, see Megan Cavell, ‘Commentary for Riddle 20’, The Riddle Ages (2014), . For a thorough discussion of early medieval hawking and its associations with royalty during this period, see Robin S. Oggins, ‘Falconry in Anglo-Saxon England’, Mediaevalia, 7 (1981), 173–208 (with discussion of Boniface’s letters at pp. 175–177). Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge (eds and trans), Alfred the Great: Asser’s Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources (London, 1983), ch. 76, p. 91. ‘Forþam ic nelle fedan hiʒ on sumera, forþamþe hiʒ þearle etaþ’ (I do not wish to feed them over the summer because they eat ravenously): G. N. Garmonsway (ed.), Ælfric’s Colloquy, rev. edn (Exeter, 1978), p. 32.



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retinue, including not only his servants, horses, and hounds, but also his hawks.49 Hawks, unlike, say, wolves or boars, were situated at the border of the natural and social worlds and able to cross between these different realms – an attribute that made them useful as poetic tools for exploring both the social world as well as the perceived freedoms that lay beyond it. For the Beowulf poet, the hawk symbolizes the social world in its entirety, as illustrated in the Lament of the Last Survivor, in which loss of the hawk (along with the harp and horse) is invoked as a sign of civilization’s demise.50 In the Battle of Maldon, by contrast, hawks signify the freedoms of youth and lack of responsibility to a larger social collective. When Offa’s kinsman releases his beloved hawk into the woods before the battle, this act points not only to the hawk’s liminal status at the threshold of nature and culture, but also to the young man’s own liminal status on the brink of adult masculinity as signified through his newfound willingness to relinquish personal attachments and a life of cultivated leisure for the greater good.51 The Fortunes poet capitalizes on the hawk’s associations with materialism and consumption, as well as on its intermediary status between the world of humans and animals, using the bird as a poetic tool for exploring socialization. The hawk is described as ‘se wealisca’, a reference to wealh-hafoc (wealh, foreigner + hafoc, hawk, i.e., the foreign or Welsh hawk).52 The Welsh hawk, also known as the peregrine falcon, is the fastest animal on earth. It was the largest falcon or hawk common to the Germanic world and was widely recognized as the best bird for falconry. The term wælisca

49

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52

The taxes for royal hawking must have been significant, for in 855 Burgred of Mercia granted immunity from this payment to Bishop Alhhum of Worcester for a payment of three hundred silver shillings. For this point, as well as for a host of information on hawking in early medieval England, I am indebted to C. J. Bond’s entry, ‘Hawking and Wildfowling’, in Michael Lapidge, John Blair, Simon Keynes, and Donald Scragg (eds), The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England, 2nd edn (Chichester, 2014), p. 236. ‘Næs hearpan wyn / gomen gleobeames, ne god hafoc / geond sæl swingeð’ (There was not the joy of the harp, the pleasure of the delightful wood, nor does the good hawk soar throughout the hall): Beowulf 2262b–2264a. ‘He let him þa of handon leofne fleogan / hafoc wið þæs holtes, and to þære hilde stop’ (Then he let the dear hawk fly from his hand to the wood, and advanced to the battle): The Battle of Maldon, in Dobbie (ed.), Anglo-Saxon Minor Poems, pp. 7–16, with the relevant text at p. 7, lines 5–10. See also Stephen Harris, ‘Oaths in The Battle of Maldon’, in Robin Waugh and James Weldon (eds), The Hero Recovered: Essays on Medieval Heroism in Honor of George Clark (Kalamazoo, 2010), pp. 85–109. For a thorough discussion of the etymology of wealhhafoc, see Philip A. Shaw, ‘Telling a Hawk from an Herodio: On the Origins and Development of the Old English Word Wealhhafoc and its Relatives’, Medium Ævum, 82.1 (2013), 1–22. Also useful is Charles Huntington Whitman, ‘The Birds of Old English Literature’, Journal of Germanic Philology, 2.2 (1898), 149–198, at p. 170; as well as the superb study of Peter R. Kitson, ‘Old English Bird-Names (ii)’, English Studies, 79.1 (1998), 2–22, at pp. 11–13.

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underscores the expense of the bird and, by extension, the hawk-tamer’s elite social status. Yet the secondary meaning of wealh as ‘slave’ also suggests that the taming of the wealisca is a process that entails acculturation into servitude. Socialization is depicted as synonymous with learned subjection, specifically the curbing of materialism and worldly appetites, symbolized by the newly humbled hawk as well as by the young child featured in the opening lines of Fortunes. As many scholars have noted, the hawk-tamer at the end of Fortunes echoes the poem’s opening depiction of a husband and wife raising their child.53 In both cases, socialization is conveyed through images of lavish clothing and ornamentation – be it the brightly colored garments in which the parents dress their child or the hawk’s proud plumage, which must be brought low so that the bird may become humble in ‘wædum ond dædum’ (weeds and deeds; 90b) and subservient to its provider. This emphasis on finery and public display underscores the strong connections that both rearing a child and hunting with hawks maintained to secular life and to worldly values such as materialism and pride. It is thus unsurprising that the training of these young, untamed beings is shown to rely upon unabashedly physical tactics, such as the provision or withholding of food or the careful oversight and control of limbs, be it the child’s legs as he learns to walk or the hawk’s legs, fettered in leather jesses. These grossly somatic training tactics reveal suffering as one of the darker undersides of socialization – suffering that is shown to extend beyond hawk or child to encompass the vicissitudes endured by all human beings in submitting to divine power. As Richard Dammers contends, ‘Symbolically, the submission of the hawk to the young man closely approximates the submission of men to the Deity … As the hawk submits to various training exercises, so man submits to the various sufferings imposed on him.’54 Or, as Robert DiNapoli avows, we are all, in effect, like the hawk, bound in its tresses, and ‘hobbled by circumstance’.55 The domestication of the hawk is registered as a form of violence that reveals the force behind teaching in its varied forms: from taming, to socialization, to the promulgation of wisdom. In her study of animals in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Lisa Kiser identifies what is arguably the single most important function that literary depictions of animals serve for human beings: as a means to explore pain.56 As Derrida memorably put it, ‘Mortality resides there, as the most 53

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Michael D. C. Drout, ‘The Fortunes of Men 4a: Reasons for Adopting a Very Old Emendation’, Modern Philology, 96.2 (1998), 184–187. Richard H. Dammers, ‘Unity and Artistry in The Fortunes of Men’, American Benedictine Review, 27 (1976), 461–469, at p. 468. Robert DiNapoli, ‘Close to the Edge: The Fortunes of Men and the Limits of Wisdom Literature’, in Chris Bishop (ed.), Text and Transmission in Medieval Europe (Newcastle, 2007), pp. 127–147, at p. 146. Lisa J. Kiser, ‘The Animals That Therefore They Were: Some Chaucerian



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radical means of thinking the finitude that we share with animals, … the possibility of sharing the possibility of this nonpower, … the anguish of this vulnerability and the vulnerability of this anguish.’57 The first half of Fortunes features a host of suffering humans, including figures such as the tree-climber and hanged man who imitate birds, while the second half of the poem trains the reader’s gaze upon a suffering hawk whose pain symbolizes human subjection at the hands of God. Vulnerability, pain, and suffering function here as points of interspecies connection, underscoring the shared status of all created beings as figures of finitude and ‘nonpower’. To put the point more simply, animals, including wolves, ravens, and hawks, along with humans behaving like animals, range freely across Fortunes, recalling Kiser’s claim that ‘when pain and the prospect of death are in view, the animal simply “comes to mind”’.58 In spite of the seemingly random and diverse nature of the pain and ‘nonpower’ depicted in Fortunes, the poem is, as I argue, interested in exploring a specific kind of pain: the pain of socialization and the inevitable hardship entailed in following one’s foreordained path on earth. Stanley Greenfield recognizes that Fortunes describes ‘the paths men follow in this world’.59 Yet the paths mandated for humans contrast sharply with those available to birds, a difference that Isidore of Seville explains through his signature logic of etymological determinism: ‘They are called birds (avis) because they do not have set paths (via), but travel by means of pathless (avia) ways.’60 Unlike Isidore’s pathless birds, humans, as the Fortunes poet insists, are destined to tread carefully scripted paths in fulfilling their own particular wyrd. In the first catalogue (of misfortunes), wyrd is manifested in the manner an individual is destined to exit the world; in the second catalogue (of good fortunes), it is defined as the specific talent or occupation that an individual is obligated to embrace while living in it. The parallels between the two catalogues, as well as between the animals and humans who populate them, demonstrate the inexorable pain attached to living in the world as well as leaving it and prescribe subjection to suffering as the lot of all ‘things of this earth’, from humans to hawks. Yet this suffering is not without compensation. ‘Riches’ (ead-welan; 67a), ‘bright fame’ (geogoþe glæd; 68a), ‘splendor’ (blæd; 68b), ‘glory’ (tiir; 70a), and ‘skill’ (cræft; 70b) are all attainable. The good fates listed at the end of

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Animal/Human Relationships’, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, 34 (2012), 311–317. Jacques Derrida, ‘The Animal That Therefore I Am (More to Follow)’, trans. David Wills, Critical Inquiry, 28.2 (2002), 369–418, with quotation at p. 396. Kiser, ‘The Animals That Therefore They Were’, p. 315. Stanley Greenfield, A Critical History of Old English Literature (New York, 1965), p. 201. Stephen A. Barney, W. J. Lewis, J. A. Beach, and Oliver Berghof (trans. with intro. and notes), The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville (Cambridge, 2006), XII.vii.3, p. 264.

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Fortunes stress the benefits of inhabiting one’s station and participating in the life assigned by socialization: the goldsmith receives ‘broad land’ (brad … lond; 75b–76a) for the work he gives the king, and the harpist ‘receives wealth’ (feoh þicgan; 81b) as he sits ‘at his lord’s feet’ (æt his hlafordes / fotum; 80b–81a). As Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe has demonstrated, agency may be generated from within the strictures of obedience: ‘If obedience was understood as the sacrifice of personal freedom (a sacrifice understood to lead to spiritual freedom), obedience was also understood as the product of choice.’ Within the context of Fortunes, where subjection to the social order reveals the shape of God’s divine order as it is followed, socialization becomes an opportunity to practice such ‘sacrificial obedience’.61 And indeed, despite the limits of their social roles, the goldsmith and the harpist act creatively within them. Even when subjugation is painful, it may provide a powerful nexus for interspecies alliances through shared affective experiences. But it is not the only means to generate such affiliations. Another, arguably less arduous, route for empathetic interspecies listening and bridging ontological divides lies in tuning one’s ear to the music of Old English verse, the human ‘birdsong’ exemplified in the formal ‘refrains’ so pervasive in early medieval wisdom poetry. The idea that music, particularly birdsong, might enable an enlarging of subjective and cognitive categories and foster ethical attunement to voices that differ from one’s own occupies a special place in Deleuze and Guattari’s thinking. Inspired largely by the French composer and ornithologist Olivier Messiaen, who notated birdsongs worldwide and incorporated them into his music, Deleuze and Guattari argue that ‘All of music is pervaded by bird songs in a thousand different ways.’62 Part of the reason that birdsong is so powerful for Deleuze and Guattari is that it offers a route to ‘becoming’ rather than simply being. This ‘becoming’ is a process that is enabled through musical refrains that allow the bird to assert its own particular ‘bird territory’ while simultaneously opening itself to the environmental loops of other species, both human and nonhuman – a process characterized in A Thousand Plateaus as ‘deterritorializing the refrain’.63 This process of deterritorialization is often held to be inimical to conventional kinds of representation. Deleuze and Guattari’s theories are often invoked within animal studies as a foil to a human obsession with language, usually characterized in the terms of structuralism and poststructuralism’s linguistic turn. In this reading, animals and linguistic representation are figured as antagonistic to one another, and animal 61

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Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, Stealing Obedience: Narratives of Agency and Identity in Later Anglo-Saxon England (Toronto, 2012), p. 7. Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p. 300. Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p. 300. For a lucid overview of birdsong in Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, see Ellard, ‘Going Interspecies’, pp. 271–273.



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studies becomes a key player in ‘a counterlinguistic turn and effort either to lay claim to what lies outside language or to destroy language and the meaningful relations it enables’.64 Deleuze and Guattari’s ‘becoming-animal’ is, then, a manifestation of their desire to ‘free humans and animals from meaning altogether and thus undo the very identities that confirm a distinction between human and animal’.65 While Deleuze and Guattari undoubtedly approve of such a liberatory movement, they also offer techniques for analyzing the systems of representation that they long to push aside: the ways that representation is historically determined, and the means by which it might be dissolved.66 Rather than necessarily finding ‘becoming-animal’ in Fortunes, I uncover the interplay between ontological boundaries and blurrings created by the poetics of Fortunes, and the resulting consequences for early medieval English understandings of the relationship between human representation and divine ontology. The refrain, the dominant structural device in Fortunes, offers the key to the ontological workings of the poem. It takes two main forms. The first is the ‘sum sceal’ (‘one shall’, or ‘must’) formula that is used to introduce all of the different fates in Fortunes, both good and bad. The sum sceal refrain is so prevalent in Fortunes’ two catalogues that they, and other catalogues like them, are commonly referred to as ‘sum catalogues’. Scholars such as J. E. Cross and Geoffrey Russom have debated whether the sum-catalogue can be traced to Latin sources, as suggested by Gregory’s use of the equivalent alius construction in Homilia IX in Evangelia,67 or, conversely, whether these catalogues point to a shared Germanic tradition. ‘[The] coordinating sum’, as Russom points out, ‘is connected with gifts or misfortunes in four of six instances [in the Eddic corpus].’68 The difficulty of identifying an exact source for the sum-catalogue ought not, however, to prevent us from recognizing the power of the incantatory refrain that gives it its name. As Larrington explains, ‘Sceal is employed in human gnomes to recommend a course of action for humans in their social environment, often with a strong implication of obligation.’69 The sum seal refrain in Fortunes links its two catalogues of bad and good fortunes, asserting obligation as the 64 65 66

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Weil, ‘A Report on the Animal Turn’, p. 12. Weil, ‘A Report on the Animal Turn’, p. 12. Criticisms of Deleuze and Guattari’s idea of ‘becoming-animal’ often focus on its viability and its negligible relationship to real animals. Donna Haraway, for instance, levels a flurry of critiques, including ‘misogyny, fear of aging, incuriosity about animals, and horror at the ordinariness of flesh’, at A Thousand Plateaus: Donna Haraway, When Species Meet (Minneapolis, 2008), p. 30. J. E. Cross, ‘The Old English Poetic Theme of The Gifts of Men’, Neophilologus, 46.1 (1962), 66–70, at pp. 67–68. His case is not conclusive, however. For one counterargument to Cross’s view, see Geoffrey R. Russom, ‘A Germanic Concept of Nobility in The Gifts of Men and Beowulf’, Speculum, 53 (1978), 1–15, at pp. 2–4. Russom, ‘A Germanic Concept of Nobility’, p. 4. Larrington, A Store of Common Sense, p. 163.

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common lot of all humans, regardless of their particular fate. The sense of obligation attached to the auxiliary sceal extends to animals, who are similarly compelled to take up their rightful place in the world. Much as the hawk-tamer must tame the hawk, so too the hawk must dwell on the falconer’s glove. As the Maxims II poet asserts, ‘Hafuc sceal on glofe / wilde gewunian’ (The hawk, a wild creature, must remain on a glove).70 Yet the glove itself, a thick leather garment designed to protect the falconer from the bird’s sharp talons, highlights the tension between the hawk’s wildness and its tamed stance, thereby underscoring the tenuousness of socialization as well as the incredible forces required to keep the hawk in its place. The sum sceal refrain typically introduces the numerous stock or conventional figures, who are used in Fortunes to represent the diversity of human experience. Sum sceal (one must) fall from a tall tree; sum sceal (another must) tame a wild bird. These conventions function as another kind of refrain, this time intertextual, creating resonances and echoes between different poetic voices, both living and dead. The tree-climber who appears in Fortunes lines 21–26 is also found in Christ lines 678b–679a, while the Fortunes falconer (lines 85–92) finds fellow birds-men in Gifts of Men lines 80b–81, as well as in Ælfric’s Colloquy on the Occupations. As Nicholas Howe observes, figures such as the treeclimber, hawk-tamer, harp-player, helmsman, and hanged man were literary conventions and would have been readily recognizable to early English readers from other poems.71 Although these images are familiar, they are far from static. Much like Deleuze and Guattari’s yellow-feathered stagemaker, the ‘magic bird or bird of the opera’, whose song interweaves species-specific notes with the sounds of other birds, forcing an endless reconsideration of species identity, conventions in Fortunes, such as the hawk-tamer, tree-climber, and poet, resonate with their guilded counterparts in other texts, forming a kind of Deleuzo-Guattarian assemblage that decenters and reorganizes perceptions of these occupations as well as of the humans and animals engaged in them. As Deleuze and Guattari put it: ‘Profession, trade, and specialty imply territorialized activities, but they can also take wing from the territory, building a new assemblage around themselves, and between professions.’72 For example, the Fowler in Ælfric’s Colloquy boasts that he releases his hawks to the woods every spring because he is able to catch and tame new ones with ease.73 Yet the Fortunes poet’s insistence that a once-proud and feral bird is effectively tamed by being fed only ‘lytlum gieflum’ (little morsels; 89b) or immobilized by leather jesses, reveals the 70

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Dobbie (ed.), Maxims II, in Anglo-Saxon Minor Poems, pp. 55–57, with quotation at p. 56, lines 17b–18a. Howe, Old English Catalogue Poems, pp. 104–105. Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p. 331. Garmonsway (ed.), Ælfric’s Colloquy, p. 32.



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anthropocentrism underlying the cavalier claims of Ælfric’s Fowler; ease resides with the human hawk-tamer alone. The Old English Gifts of Men adds yet another ‘undersong’ to this hawk-taming assemblage. ‘Sum bið fugelbona, hafeces cræftig’ (One is a fowler [lit. bird-killer], skilled with a hawk, 80b–81a),74 a claim that underscores the violence of falconry – a violence in which both hawk-tamer and hawk are implicated. Hawks are avivores whose diet consists primarily of medium-sized birds. The poet’s reference to the fugelbona [lit. bird-killer] points not only to falconry’s investment in killing for sport but also to the fiction of unity under the rubric of shared finitude. As these moments remind us, hierarchies – in which hawks kill other birds, and humans subjugate hawks to taming – adjudicate degrees of suffering so that some humans and animals have more finitude – and less agency – than others. The two types of formal refrains in Fortunes that I have been reading as analogous to Deleuzo-Guattarian birdsong – the sum sceal formula and the convention – function in somewhat different ways. The former is used primarily as an intratextual device that fosters interspecies sympathies by highlighting the shared pain and suffering to which all created beings, both human and animal, are subject. The latter is used mainly as an intertextual device to forge connections between different poets, both living and dead, and to urge ongoing reconsideration of different occupations, as well as of their human and animal participants. Yet both types of refrains offer a means of gathering together human diversity and of organizing seemingly random and inequitable human experience into meaningful categories that reflect God’s just and orderly design. Formal poetic structures such as repetition, formulaic phrases, and conventional images that I have been grouping under the rubric of the ‘refrain’ thus offer human beings the opportunity to reproduce divine order and to mimic God’s creative powers. These refrains, perhaps best conceptualized as the human birdsong of the poem, thereby enable humans to bridge, paradoxically, the divide between human and nonhuman animals as well as between humans and God. The two kinds of refrain operating in the poem acting as a kind of birdsong introduces a complication: why does the Fortunes poet condemn the attempt to act like a bird while, in fact, acting like a bird? This apparent paradox reveals the precise limits of blurring ontological boundaries in the poem. When the tree-climber and the hanged man act out their avian resemblances, they are consequently marked with a soullessness that puts them in the realm of the animal, the vegetal, or even the bare mineral earth: one is ‘bereft of a soul’ (sawle bireafod) and the other ‘soulless’ (sawelleas). These men lose the marker of their humanity – their soul – by acting like animals. The Fortunes poet, however, confines his ontological play to the realm of representation. The analogy between birdsong and poetry as 74

The Gifts of Men, in Krapp and Dobbie (eds), The Exeter Book, pp. 137–140, at p. 139.

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deployed in Fortunes in fact reinforces the distinctions between human and animal, because this representational capacity, and the rational mind it betokens, is a fundamental aspect of humanity. Thus, representing humans trying to act as birds – and the gruesome fates that befall them – and using the techniques of birdsong to perform that representation doubly reinforce ontological boundaries by enacting a human skill unavailable to animals in order to set out the consequences of ontological crossings. Poetry becomes a specially sanctioned space where imitation, of either animals or the divine, does not blur but rather enforces the divisions of being.

Analogy In the first half of Fortunes, we meet two unfortunate figures – the treeclimber and the hanged criminal – whose inability to soar freely through the skies highlights the difference between humans and birds. Yet the poem ends with a memorable image of hawk-taming that lingers on the possibilities of both cross-species affinity and interaction. Hawk-taming is portrayed as analogous to human socialization, and both bird and man, like all of God’s creatures, are shown to be subject to his power. It would seem, then, that for the Fortunes poet, birds are both like and unlike humans. The Fortunes poet’s double stance toward human-bird affinities is shared by many scholars. As Levi-Strauss eloquently summarizes: Birds … can be permitted to resemble men for the very reason that they are so different. They are feathered, winged, oviparous and they are also physically separated from human society by the element in which it is their privilege to move. As a result of this fact, they form a community which is independent of our own but, precisely because of this independence, appears to us like another society, homologous to that in which we live: birds love freedom; they build themselves homes in which they live a family life and nurture their young; they often engage in social relations with other members of their species; and they communicate with them by acoustic means recalling articulate language. Consequently, everything objective conspires to make us think of the bird world as a metaphorical human society.75

It is this same tension between likeness and difference that leads Macdonald to spend a year filling her freezer with hawk food and her life with every conceivable aspect of ‘hawkness’ only to conclude that ‘what they do has nothing to do with us at all’.76 My study of avian imagery 75

76

Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind, trans. George Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd (Chicago, 1966), p. 204. Macdonald, H is for Hawk, p. 275.



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in Fortunes has been guided largely by analogical inquiry. I have sought to trace, for example, the extent to which figures such as the tree-climber and hanged man are able to approximate bird flight, and to investigate the refrains in Old English wisdom poetry as analogous to birdsong. Yet as animal studies scholars have recognized, it remains unclear whether efforts to see parallels between human beings and animals are, in fact, helpful in fostering cross-species empathy or simply further encouraging of anthropomorphism. When asked whether animals receive enough attention in medieval scholarship, Michael Warren responded: ‘I think it’s more a question of do they receive the right sort of attention.’77 Many scholars have identified analogy as precisely the wrong sort – an ethically compromised logic that ought to be abandoned in favor of alternative approaches that offer greater potential for decentering long-standing hierarchies between humans and animals. As Donna Beth Ellard contends, it is by ‘closing the door to … analogy and opening a window towards entrainment and attunement, musical communication, and alternative ethical postures’ that we might allow dialogic partnerships to emerge between species.78 In spite of analogy’s many shortcomings, I am nevertheless reluctant to abandon it as a methodological rubric for exploring the animal fictions in Fortunes. Fortunes holds humans and animals (as well as the natural world, more broadly) alongside one another, urging readers to consider a featherless man’s attempt at bird flight, a criminal who becomes (quite literally) one with ravens, a child and hawk tamed by similar methods, a human body as the fruit of a tree, and a child’s limbs as its branches. Such comparisons testify, in part, to the powerful taxonomic impulse underlying Fortunes, as well as the genre to which it belongs. Analogy, repetition, lists, catalogues, comparisons, binaries, cause and effect, and envelope patterns are the primary formal components of wisdom poetry.79 These poetic structures offered early medieval writers a means of organizing and ordering a seemingly chaotic world or, to put this from a slightly different perspective, of revealing the underlying unity and order characteristic of God’s design. By imitating formally the workings of God, catalogue poems such as Fortunes, as Nicholas Howe writes, ‘demonstrate the presence and efficacy of divine order in the lives of men’.80 Olivier Messiaen, whose ideas inspired Deleuze and Guattari’s views on birdsong, asks us to remember that ‘music is a part of time, a fraction of time, as is our own life’, and that while there are ‘a thousand ways of probing the future’, the natural world is ‘the supreme resource’ for the 77

78 79

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Michael J. Warren, interview, Medieval Herald Newsletter, Boydell and Brewer, . Ellard, ‘Communicating Between Species’, p. 305. See Nigel F. Barley, ‘Structure in the Cotton Gnomes’, Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, 78 (1977), 244–249, at p. 245. Howe, Old English Catalogue Poems, p. 104.

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composer. Messiaen’s Nature is ‘an inextinguishable treasure-house of sounds and colours, forms and rhythms, the unequalled model for total development and perpetual variation’.81 It is this very partial, futuredriven, inexhaustible music – music that is felt in the ever-renewing rhythm of the sum sceal refrain that introduces a host of different fates in Fortunes or in the poem’s numerous stock and yet ever-so-slightly varying images and conventions – that medieval poets believed was capable of both mimicking and manifesting divine design. Animals were one such ‘supreme resource’ and ‘unequalled model’ available for creating and experiencing such music: as co-inhabitants of the created world, their affinities to human beings offered an opportunity, as Morton Bloomfield puts it, to ‘associate humanity with the fundamental rhythms of nature’.82 The supreme mobility of birds, as well as their proximity to a celestial realm denied to human access, suggested that they repaid particularly close attention.83

81 82

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Olivier Messiaen, Conférence de Bruxelles en 1958 (Paris, 1960), p. 14. Morton W. Bloomfield, ‘Understanding Old English Poetry’, Annuale Mediaevale, 9 (1968), 5–25, at p. 17. My essay has benefitted greatly from the astute suggestions of Danielle Allor, Lynn Festa, Fiona Griffiths, Heather Maring, Erik Wade, and Jonathan Wilcox. I am also grateful to Jacqueline Fay, Rebecca Stephenson, and Renée Trilling for their insightful feedback and careful editing, and to Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, to whom this volume is dedicated, for her inspiring research.

PART TWO SOVEREIGNTY, POWER, AND ENGLISH TEXTUAL IDENTITIES

6 A Taste for the Law: The Preface to Alfred’s Law Code and Hannah Arendt’s Reading of Kant Emily V. Thornbury

L

ike many of the works associated with Alfred of Wessex and his court, the law code issued in the king’s name comes equipped with a long and complicated preface laying out the text’s intellectual goals.1 In the case of the law code, this is nothing less than the sacred history of written law. The prologue begins with the Ten Commandments and proceeds to excerpts from Deuteronomy, and then to the New Testament. Tellingly, as it turns to the new dispensation, the text cites Jesus’s confirmation of the written Law in Matthew 5:17 – rather than, say, the Great Commandment, or the many other spoken injunctions in the Sermon on the Mount which constitutes the whole of Matthew 5.2 It then continues on to the letter sent by the apostles in Acts 15, as the first written regulation of the new church among the Gentiles, appending to it a version of the Golden Rule; and then turns its attention outward, to the ‘monega seonoðas’ [‘many synods’] 1

2

At present, the standard edition of Alfred’s law code (and the other early law codes) remains F. Liebermann, Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen (3 vols, Tübingen, 1902–1916; repr. 1960), vol. 1, pp. 15–89, though a new edition is in preparation. For a convenient translated collection of the most important Alfredian material, with invaluable notes, see Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge (eds and trans.), Alfred the Great: Asser’s Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources (Harmondsworth, 1983). The scholarly literature on Alfred, his times, and the intellectual culture of England in the late ninth and early tenth century is vast, but Nicole Guenther Discenza and Paul A. Szarmach (eds), A Companion to Alfred the Great (Leiden, 2015), provides a valuable entry point. For a synthetic account of the Alfredian intellectual program, see David Pratt, The Political Thought of King Alfred the Great (Cambridge, 2007). To attribute authorship of any text to Alfred as a historical individual is, at the moment, a polemical gesture. It will, I hope, become clear in this essay why I believe the debate over whether Alfred of Wessex did or did not compose any surviving Old English text rests on anachronistic premises about the definition of the individual (see further n. 28 below). Suffice it at present to say that anyone who wishes to put quotation marks around ‘Alfred’ in this piece can do so without substantially distorting the argument. Liebermann, Gesetze, vol. 1, pp. 42–43. Comparisons with the Vulgate drawn from Robert Weber et al. (eds), Biblia sacra iuxta vulgatam versionem (Stuttgart, 1994).

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assembled throughout the various Christian nations, whose judgments were duly recorded ‘on monega senoðbec’ [‘in many synod-books’].3 The narrative of the prologue, in other words, seems to portray the growth of law as like that of a tree: retaining, while it expands ever outward, an unchanging core within, so that it includes and is supported by its own prior state. This majestic image, however, is disrupted by the prologue’s final paragraphs. Written in the voice of the king, this section seems to offer a startlingly arbitrary approach to the secular law of the English kingdoms: Ic ða Ælfred cyning þas togædere gegaderode ⁊ awritan het, monege þara þe ure foregengan heoldon, ða ðe me licodon; ⁊ manege þare þe me ne licodon ic awearp mid minra witena geðeahte, ⁊ on oðre wisan bebead to healdanne. Forðam ic ne dorste geðristlæcan þara minra awuht fela on gewrit settan, forðam me wæs uncuð, hwæt þas ðam lician wolde ðe æfter us wæren. Ac ða ðe ic gemette awðer oððe on Ines dæge mines mæges, oððe on Offan Mercna cyninges oððe on Æþelbryhtes, þe ærest fulluhte onfeng on Angelcynne, þa ðe me ryhtoste ðuhton, ic þa heron gegaderode, ⁊ þa oðre forlet. Ic ða Ælfred Westseaxna cyning eallum minum witum þas geeowde, ⁊ hie ða cwædon, þæt him þæt licode eallum to healdanne.4 [Then I, King Alfred, gathered together and commanded to be written down many of those [decrees] that our predecessors observed, those which pleased me; and many of them which did not please me I cast aside with the consent of my counselors, and ordered that they be observed in a different way. For this reason I dared not presume to set down many at all of my own in writing, because it was unknown to me which would be pleasing to those who should come after us. But those which I came across either in the time of Ine my kinsman, or in that of Offa king of the Mercians, or of Æthelbryht 3

4

While the lengthy theoretical prologue founded in biblical history was unique among the early English vernacular law codes, turning to the Bible as precedent for secular law was a recurrent phenomenon in early medieval Europe. For the ideology shaping the use of biblical history as a legal model on the continent, see Gerda Heydemann, ‘The People of God and the Law: Biblical Models in Carolingian Legislation’, Speculum, 95 (2020), 89–131; and for Alfred’s preface as connected to continental thought, see Pratt, Political Thought, 222–232, and Patrick Wormald, The Making of English Law: King Alfred to the Twelfth Century. I: Legislation and its Limits (Oxford, 2001), pp. 418–429. For arguments that the antecedents of Alfred’s preface were primarily Welsh or Irish, see Kristen Carella, ‘Asser’s Bible and the Prologue to the Laws of Alfred’, Anglia, 130 (2012), 195–206, and ‘The Source of the Prologue to the Laws of Alfred’, Peritia, 19 (2005), 91–118. Liebermann, Gesetze, vol. 1, p. 46. Text is that of Liebermann’s MS E (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, 173), whose differences from H (the Textus Roffensis, Rochester, Cathedral Library, A.3.5) are orthographic. All translations are my own unless otherwise noted. For the language of this part of the code as evidence for its compositional method and date, see E. G. Stanley, ‘On the Laws of King Alfred: the End of the Preface and the Beginning of the Laws’, in Jane Roberts and Janet L. Nelson with Malcolm Godden (eds), Alfred the Wise: Studies in Honour of Janet Bately on the Occasion of her Sixty-Fifth Birthday (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 211–221.



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who first received baptism in the English people, those which seemed most just to me I gathered herein, and left the others aside. Then I, Alfred king of the West Saxons, showed these to all my counselors, and they said that it pleased them all to observe them.]

The idea of the king choosing among the laws of his predecessors and promulgating those which he considers best and most just is, as Patrick Wormald observes, a commonplace in the self-framing of medieval legal codes.5 But the parallels Wormald cites differ from Alfred’s prologue in a crucial way: they do not invoke the idea that the law should be ‘pleasing’, or that this pleasing quality is a legitimate ground for retaining or discarding certain judgments. While such a notion is indeed ‘arbitrary’ in a strictly etymological sense, judgment based on taste is in itself neither necessarily whimsical nor hopelessly indisputable. In her posthumously published lectures on Kant’s political philosophy, Hannah Arendt argued that the sensus communis, introduced in the Critique of Judgment as the basis for ‘taste’ as aesthetic judgment, entailed a mental reaching-out that also formed the basis for a concept of the commonwealth.6 Arendt’s views help us perceive a congruent political theory in Alfred’s preface, along with a remarkably ‘un-medieval’ view of historical change. The word used here for ‘to be pleasing’ is lician, a Class 2 weak verb which takes a dative object. In this it corresponds to the Latin placere, which it often glosses.7 While lician is the ancestor of the modern English to like, the verb’s modern syntax seems not to have developed until the later twelfth century; the first attested use of like with a direct object is in the early Middle English Trinity Homilies.8 So while speakers of modern (and, quite often, Middle) English are, so to speak, the agents of their own liking in actively finding certain things pleasing, in Old English – as in

5 6

7

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Wormald, Making of English Law, pp. 277–279. This was intended to become part of Judging, the planned third volume of her ‘Life of the Mind’ project, but she died before this work could be completed: see the analysis in Hannah Arendt, Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy, ed. and with an interpretative essay by Ronald Beiner (Chicago, 1992). For Kant’s exposition of the term, see Immanuel Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment, ed. Paul Guyer, trans. Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews (Cambridge, 2000), §20–22, pp. 122–124. Ælfric consistently uses lician to translate placere in his bilingual grammatical texts: Julius Zupitza (ed.), Ælfric’s Grammatik und Glossar (Berlin, 1880), pp. 96, 207, 263. Lician or gelician is also the preferred translation for placebit in Psalm 68:32; this is most easily seen in a search of the Dictionary of Old English Web Corpus, compiled Angus Cameron, Ashley Crandell Amos, Antonette diPaolo Healey et al. (eds), Dictionary of Old English: A to I online (Toronto, Dictionary of Old English Project, 2018), . The early twelfth-century Latin version of the Laws in the Quadripartitus uses placere to translate lician: Liebermann, Gesetze, vol. 1, p. 47. Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edn, s.v. like (1), II.4.a; entry updated 2016 .

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Latin and many other modern languages like Spanish and Russian – the pleasing thing is the agent of its pleasingness. That this is not an empty distinction is made clear by the way homiletic writers used lician. In the First Series of Catholic Homilies, for instance, Ælfric writes that: Se hæfð bilewites cildes unscæððignysse þe him sylfum mislicað to ðy þæt he gode gelicige ⁊ he bið swa miccle wlitegra ætforan godes gesihðe. swa he swiþor ætforan him sylfum eadmodre bið.9 [He has the innocence of a meek child who is displeasing to himself so that he might be pleasing to God; and he shall be so much the more beautiful in God’s sight, the humbler he is in his own.]

Here, the cultivation of humility is what makes the humble person pleasing to God: by not doing or being what he himself would most enjoy, he conversely becomes something more to God’s taste. On the other hand, the verb lufian [‘to love’], which can be and often is also used to express preferences, is active with an accusative object. Lufian is expressive of an action, rather than a quality, of the subject: as in modern English, one may love without respect to the nature of the object. Choosing to love a difficult and disagreeable object can even be a virtue, as Ælfric argues in his Second Series homily on martyrdom: Eft se ðe forberð ðurh geðyld hosp and teonan, and ðone lufað þe hine hatað, and his agene unlustas and þæs ungesewenlican deofles tihtinge forsihð, se bið untwylice martyr on digelre dæde.10 [And likewise he who with patience endures reproach and calumny, and loves the one who hates him, and despises his own wrongful desires and the prompting of the unseen devil, he is undoubtedly a martyr in his secret act.]

While the Old English corpus makes clear that the act expressed by lufian is – as one would logically expect – easiest and most common when its object is good or otherwise desirable, those qualities are not necessary for something to be an object of the verb lufian.11 One can lufian something that is not pleasing, then; but when something licað, it must in itself be pleasing – to its object, anyway. Lician thus necessarily encodes a judgment of taste in a way that lufian can, but does not have to.

9

10

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Ælfric, III. Kalendas Octobris: Dedicatio ecclesie sancti Michahelis archangeli, in Peter Clemoes (ed.), Ælfric’s Catholic Homilies: The First Series Text, Early English Text Society Supplementary Series, 17 (London, 1997), pp. 465–475 at 471–472. Ælfric, In natale sanctorum martirum, in Malcolm Godden (ed.), Ælfric’s Catholic Homilies: The Second Series Text, EETS SS, 5 (London, 1979), pp. 310–317 at p. 314. Statements about Old English usages are based on searches of the Dictionary of Old English Web Corpus, ed. Healey et al.



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The Latin placere recurs regularly in early legal and documentary texts. Often, it is used to signal the arbitrary: that is, the unconstrained exercise of individual will. This is clearest in the formulaic conclusions found in many charters of Charlemagne and his successors, granting property to be used or disposed of by its owners in ‘whatsoever way shall have been pleasing to them’, as we see expressed, for instance, in this charter of Otto I: […] nostrae dilectę coniugi Adelheidę imperatrici regnorumque nostrorum consorti in integrum donavimus, ut iure hereditario habeat teneat firmiterque possideat habeatque potestatem tenendi donandi vendendi commutandi vel quicquid ei exinde placuerit faciendi, omnium hominum contradictione remota.12 [[…] that we have given [the property] in its entirety to Empress Adelaide, our beloved spouse and consort of our rulership, that she may have, retain, and possess [it] as lawful patrimony, and shall have the power of retaining, giving, selling, exchanging, or doing whatsoever it shall subsequently have pleased her to do, free from all people’s objection.]

Here, the judgments of others are addressed by exclusion, as ownership is defined as freedom from any constraint which others might wish to impose on one’s use of the property. The deliberately sweeping ambiguity of quicquid ei exinde placuerit faciendi leaves room for actions that are foolish or unjust: the contradictiones envisioned in the final clause might be founded in reason, but that would make them no more legally valid. In charters like these, then, the verb placere imagines a space of pure agency, set apart from moral implications or community standards. The view of taste captured in these charters by placuerit is potentially capricious and unpredictable: the kind summed up in the proverb ‘to each one’s own’. This sense of the word is the only one attested in the Liber ex lege Moysi, an Irish compilation of Old Testament law which is often cited as a possible source for the preface to Alfred’s laws.13 In a passage quoting Exodus 21, an enslaved woman is permitted to be repudiated si displicuerit oculis domini sui ‘if she is displeasing in the eyes of her master’; here, the text likewise vindicates the arbitrary disposition of property, though it protects the woman’s religion – which, here, amounts to God’s interest in her – by forbidding her sale to foreigners.14 12

13

14

Theodor Sickel (ed.), Conradi I, Heinrici I et Ottonis I diplomata, Monumenta Germania Historicae Diplomata regum et imperatorum Germaniae, vol. 1 (Hannover, 1879–1884), no. 369, pp. 506–507 at p. 507. The formula recurs in a wide range of property transactions, including several of those described in the ‘Chronicles of Lorsch’, and seems to have persisted from the late eighth century into the eleventh. Statements about medieval legal documents are primarily based on searches of the eMGH, accessed via Brepols’ web portal. Sven Meeder, ‘The “Liber ex lege Moysi”: Notes and Text’, Journal of Medieval Latin, 19 (2009), 173–218; see also Carella, ‘Source of the Prologue’. Meeder, ‘Liber ex lege Moysi’, p. 193. No other form or derivative of placere occurs in the text.

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Unsurprisingly, perhaps, continental law codes tend to imply a more constrained sense of the pleasing when dealing with matters beyond property rights, one which seems to lie closer to Alfred’s use of lician. The verb is not especially common, but writers seem to have found it useful to signal (or describe) moments at which decisions become law. In a few instances, placere is used to indicate communal assent, as in the Capitulare Saxonicum: III. Item placuit omnibus Saxonibus, ut ubicumque Franci secundum legem solidos XV solvere debent, ibi nobiliores Saxones solidos XII, ingenui V, liti IIII conponant.15 [III. Likewise it was pleasing to all the Saxons, that wherever Franks were lawfully released with fifteen solidi, in those instances Saxon nobles should be redeemed with twelve solidi, freemen with five, and bondsmen with four.]

Given the context of the forcible imposition of Frankish rule, unconstrained choice is clearly not what is implied here by placere.16 At the same time, however, this clause indicates that the Saxons collectively assented to – which is to say, chose to consider acceptable – the structure of legal payments listed in the code, along with the social structure described or imposed by the monetary gradations. The capitulary may well have been ‘pleasing’ to the Saxons in the same coercive, comparative sense that a plea-bargain agreement is pleasing to a defendant without means; but it represents, at least, a group’s judgment about its own interests. As recorded in the capitulary, that judgment effectively ratifies the statute, indicating that ‘it was pleasing’ to the Saxons to regard it as law. Most commonly, however, the decision indicated by placere is that of the sovereign, as in the capitulary of Pippin issued around 790: 10. Placuit nobis inserere: ubi lex est, praecellat consuetudinem, et nulla consuetudo superponatur legi.17 [10. It pleased us to insert: where there is a law, it shall have precedence over custom, and no custom shall be set above a law.]

In the context of Alfred’s code, this example is particularly interesting because it, too, represents itself as a conscious intervention in legal history. 15

16

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Claudius Freiherrn von Schwerin (ed.), Leges Saxonum und Lex Thuringorum, MGH Fontes iuris Germanici antiqua, vol. 4 (Hannover, 1918), p. 46. On the wholesale cultural transformation of the continental Saxons following their conquest and forced conversion under Charlemagne, see the essays in Dennis H. Green and Frank Siegmund (eds), The Continental Saxons from the Migration Period to the Tenth Century: An Ethnographic Perspective (Woodbridge, 2003). Pippini Capitulare, in Capitularia regum Francorum, Alfred Boretius (ed.), MGH (2 vols, Hannover, 1883), vol. 1, pp. 200–201 at p. 201.



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But where Alfred’s preface represented the sovereign judging and largely preserving the laws of his predecessors according to his taste, Pippin’s code uses placere to justify a twofold rupture. First, the statute itself is described as ‘inserted’ into a code attributed to his father, self-consciously indicating that legal texts should ordinarily be imagined as integral and immutable. At the same time, the new decree effectively demotes an entire body of what had previously had the force of law to the status of ‘custom’, without sifting it or indicating that judgment might be required to differentiate the two. The novelty of this statute is presented as requiring justification; the justification given for it is the will of the sovereign, which constitutes it as law. The theory that makes such decrees valid is stated perhaps most explicitly in Book I of Justinian’s Digesta, which, like Alfred’s preface, lays out the history and nature of written law. In the section dealing with the decrees of rulers, the compiler begins by quoting Ulpian: Quod principi placuit, legis habet vigorem: utpote cum lege regia, quae de imperio eius lata est, populus ei et in eum omne suum imperium et potestatem conferat.18 [That which is pleasing to the ruler has the force of law: for through the lex regia, which is manifested in his sovereignty, the people vest in him all their sovereignty and power.]

Thus, although imperial letters and decrees would appear to be the arbitrary decisions of one man, they properly function as law – while those of others do not – because in the emperor alone resides the authority of the populace. His will is law because it is indistinguishable from theirs. Roman history makes clear that opinions – to put it mildly – differed as to what this meant in practice. The stories of tyrants in Suetonius’s Lives of the Twelve Caesars, for example, demonstrate that bad emperors tended to conclude that, because their will was law, anyone who dissented from even the wildest of their whims was ipso facto a traitor: if you did not want the emperor to have what he wanted, you could not be a part of the Roman people.19 Good emperors, conversely, did not enslave the people to their own personal impulses, but vindicated the lex regia by preferring actions that were in the people’s best interest. As with Alfred in the preface to the law code, a good emperor’s taste – his sense of what 18

19

Justinian, Digesta I.iv.1, in Iustiniani Augusti Digesta seu Pandectae/Digesti o pandette dell’imperatore Giustiniano: Testo e traduzione, eds and trans Sandro Schipani with Lelio Lantella et al. (3 vols, Milan, 2005), vol. 1, p. 98. See especially the lives of Caligula and Nero: C. Suetoni Tranquilli, De vita Caesarum libros VIII et de grammaticis et rhetoribus librum, ed. R. A. Kaster (Oxford, 2016), esp. at pp. 220–229, and 314–316. The stories of their various perversions would thus not have been included (purely) as titillating gossip, but as proofs that they were not legitimate bearers of the lex regia. By contrast, see the paradigmatic life of Augustus, esp. at pp. 110–111.

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was pleasing – allowed him to discern a right course of action, which was in harmony with what was pleasing to the people. The verb placere thus bore a great deal of functional and ideological weight in Roman law, and in the law of the new empire instituted by Charlemagne. For private individuals, being able to do quicquid placuit was emblematic of personal freedom, especially as property owners. For communities, and especially for sovereigns, the situation was more complicated. A group of people might be described as ‘pleased’ by a situation that was far from pleasing to any individual. Yet the act of being pleased seems nonetheless to have been crucial to a community’s status as lawful; their willing acceptance of the law both ratified the law itself, and validated their own will as capable of conferring lawfulness. The ruler, ideally, was in a reciprocal and complementary position. What pleased him became law because it pleased him; but this was so because what pleased him also pleased the people. In a stable and just society, then, the ruler was able to legislate for the populace because they shared the same taste in the law. The preface to Alfred’s law code thus concisely expresses something akin to a theory found diffused across a very large corpus of Latin legal texts. Yet many of these – Justinian’s Digesta, for instance – were almost certainly not available in England during Alfred’s lifetime, so direct influence seems unlikely; though Alfred’s continental advisors John the Old Saxon and Grimbold of Saint-Bertin may have brought with them knowledge of Carolingian legal theory and language.20 Nor do the other surviving English-language law codes contain any passage similar to the final section of Alfred’s preface. We are left, then, with the question of how to explain the preface’s unique emphasis on the pleasingness of the law, and its use of taste to justify legislation. Whatever the preface’s precise lineage, the clearest expression of the philosophy that seems to underlie it occurs more than a thousand years later, in Hannah Arendt’s novel exposition of Kant’s Critique of Judgment as the basis for a political theory.21 This would seem a highly counterintuitive argument, since Kant’s Third Critique is nominally concerned with the nature and function of human aesthetic capacities; his Critique of Practical Reason, which deals with moral philosophy, would appear to be the more likely foundation for a political philosophy. Arendt, however, argues that the faculties Kant portrays as enabling aesthetic judgments are also those which enable moral judgments and, ultimately, participation 20

21

No manuscripts or fragments of the Digesta seem to survive from pre-Conquest England; but legal texts frequently circulated in excerpted collections. For Grimbold, especially, as a potential conduit for legal thought from the continent to Alfred’s court, see Wormald, Making of English Law, pp. 423–426; on the circumstances that led to his coming to England, see Janet L. Nelson, ‘… sicut olim gens Francorum … nunc gens Anglorum’, in Roberts et al. (eds), Alfred the Wise, pp. 135–144. Arendt, Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy.



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in a society: imagination, whereby other people can be made present to a person engaged in solitary reflection; and the sensus communis.22 The latter is not ‘common sense’ as English-speakers normally use the term; rather, it is a kind of sense arising from a mental model: an understanding of what others’ minds are like, what and how they think, which gives rise to a way of discerning that which is shared by one’s fellows, and can be communicated to them.23 As Arendt puts it: This sensus communis is what judgment appeals to in everyone, and it is this possible appeal that gives judgments their special validity. The it-pleases-or-displeases-me, which as a feeling seems so utterly private and noncommunicative, is actually rooted in this community sense and is therefore open to communication once it has been transformed by reflection […] In other words, when one judges, one judges as a member of a community.24

Her conclusion is that Kant’s theory of judgment allows people to ascertain not merely that which is beautiful or ugly, but that which is socially beneficial or harmful, in a way that will be valid: which is to say, broadly accepted by one’s community.25 The development and exercise of taste is thus unexpectedly revealed to be the foundation for life in a commonwealth. The harmony between Arendt’s exposition of Kant and Alfred’s account of the creation of his law code is obviously not the result of direct influence, but neither is it pure coincidence. It is, rather, something like convergent evolution, as thinkers at very different moments in Western history pieced together a way to understand how people might, despite their differences, live together in the world as a matter of choice, not coercion. The powerful valence of the term placere in Roman and medieval law moreover suggests that these accounts were independent flowerings borne by deep and widespread roots. Arendt’s social vision was not like Alfred’s, of course. While she developed a theory designed to cultivate a society of free and equal individuals, Alfred’s code – like virtually all premodern laws – presupposed and quantified human inequality. Moreover, Alfred’s code did not simply assume the existence of a ruler; it made obedience to the ruler a spiritual as well as practical imperative.26 It is not a proto-Enlightenment document. Yet Arendt’s argument for the political function of taste allows us to understand how Alfred and his contemporaries could understand even an increasingly absolutist kingship as something other than tyranny. A ruler whose sensus communis aligned his personal judgments with those of his subjects would be capable of legislating in a way that was acceptable

22 23 24 25 26

Arendt, Lectures, esp. at pp. 66–77. Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment, pp. 122–124. Arendt, Lectures, p. 72. Arendt, Lectures, pp. 74–75. See Pratt, Political Thought, pp. 232–238.

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to all, even without broad consultation. As it happens, however, the fact of consultation seems to have been important in the early Middle Ages, as witnessed by the frequency with which the advice of the royal witan is mentioned in legal texts and documents.27 The final sentence of Alfred’s preface, describing the witan’s verbal affirmation ‘þæt him þæt licode eallum to healdanne’ [‘that it pleased them all to observe [these laws]’], is thus far from a perfunctory, conventional gesture. Rather, it demonstrates the integrity of the bond between the king and his people, forged and embodied in their sensus communis. Alfred’s taste in law is shared by his counselors: that which pleases him likewise pleases them. In stating this, they not only ratify the laws themselves, but reaffirm the justice of Alfred’s kingship. This does not, of course, make Alfred or any other medieval ruler the equivalent of an elected representative in the way that modern democracies understand the term. It does, however, mean that the king nonetheless was imagined as a kind of representative, and that his right to rule his people depended on his ability to align his tastes with theirs.28 Even as the preface affirms the validity of Alfred’s sensus communis, however, it represents that sense as historically bounded. He will not presume to legislate for future generations, ‘forðam me wæs uncuð, hwæt þas ðam lician wolde ðe æfter us wæren’ [‘because it was unknown to me, what would be pleasing to those who would come after us’]. Tastes, it seems, were subject to change in unpredictable ways. This idea of the unknowability of the future seems to have permeated Alfred’s understanding of history, which is perhaps most fully and famously developed in the preface to the Old English translation of Gregory’s Pastoral

27

28

Levi Roach, Kingship and Consent in Anglo-Saxon England, 871–978: Assemblies and the State in the Early Middle Ages (Cambridge, 2013), pp. 107–112. Though he does not use the term, Roach’s study provides a remarkable account of, in effect, the cultivation of a sensus communis among the royalty and aristocracy as a policy and mechanism of the West Saxon kingship, as Alfred and his descendants consolidated their power across England. Roach concludes that ‘royal power rested at least in part in places where it has seldom been sought: in the ability of kings and other figures to mobilize consent and support, making use of the “informal” and “horizontal” bonds of friendship, family and community’, p. 227. It is in part for this reason that I believe the Alfredian authorship question to be irresolvable on modern terms (i.e., reducible to the sole contribution of a single named individual), especially when involving public figures like kings, royal officials, and major clerics, since – as Roach’s work indicates – the process of formation as a political subject was geared toward training the mind to communal consensus. When a group sees the possession of a strong and accurate sensus communis as a basic criterion for public life, the idiosyncracies of thought and language that, to us, constitute the individual voice are likely to have a very different valence; but there is not space to fully explore this question here. For programmatic statements of the contours of the modern debate, see M. R. Godden, ‘Did King Alfred Write Anything?’, Medium Ævum, 76 (2007), 1–23, vs. Janet Bately, ‘Did King Alfred Actually Translate Anything? The Integrity of the Alfredian Canon Revisited’, Medium Ævum, 78 (2009), 189–215.



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Care.29 Framed as a personal letter to the bishops to whom copies of the new books were to be sent, this text is, like the final section of the law code, in the king’s own voice.30 After describing a lost golden age of prosperity and learning, Alfred considers the factors that caused the country’s decline. While the prosperity itself may have been destroyed by foreign invaders, this was a sequel – and, he implies, an inevitable consequence – to the neglect of Latin learning in southern England. After ventriloquizing the self-accusing lament of one of these indolent predecessors, Alfred turns his attention further back, to the golden age itself: Ða ic ða ðis eall gemunde, ða wundrade ic swiðe swiðe ðara godena wiotena ðe giu wæron giond Angelcynn, ⁊ ða bec ealla be fullan geliornod hæfdon, ðæt hie hiora ða nænne dæl noldon on hiora agen geðiode wendan. Ac ic ða sona eft me selfum andwyrde, ond cwæð: Hie ne wendon ðætt[e] æfre menn sceolden swæ reccelease weorðan ⁊ sio lar swæ oðfeallan; for ðære wilnunga hie hit forleton, ⁊ woldon ðæt her ðy mara wisdom on londe wære ðy we ma geðeoda cuðon.31 [Once I had recollected all this, then I wondered very greatly at the good wise men who were formerly throughout England, and had learned all these books in their entirety, that they did not choose to translate any part of them into their own language. But I then immediately answered myself, and said: They did not expect that people should ever become so careless, and that learning should thus fall into oblivion: they refrained from it deliberately, and wanted that there should be the more wisdom in this country, inasmuch as we knew more languages.]

While Alfred’s imaginative reconstruction is primarily an indictment of his own immediate predecessors, whose negligence was literally unthinkable to the learned men of years past, he nonetheless shows that the ‘good wise men’ of yore were mistaken twice over: first, in thinking that the people of generations to come would be their own equals in learning and diligence; and second, in refraining from action in the belief that this would compel their successors to be like themselves. However good the intention, the outcome was disastrous. 29

30

31

The standard edition remains Henry Sweet (ed.), King Alfred’s West-Saxon Version of Gregory’s Pastoral Care, EETS OS, 45, 50 (2 vols, London, 1871). The preface is at pp. 2–9. I have quoted the text from the Hatton manuscript (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Hatton 20), which was that sent to Wærferth, bishop of Worcester. On the complex phenomenon of voice in the Alfredian prefaces, see Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Listening to the Scenes of Reading: King Alfred’s Talking Prefaces’, in Mark Chinca and Christopher Young (eds), Orality and Literacy in the Middle Ages: Essays on a Conjunction and its Consequences (Turnhout, 2005), pp. 17–36. For a proposed continental background to the preface (including the use of the king’s voice), see Malcolm Godden, ‘Prologues and Epilogues in the Old English Pastoral Care, and their Carolingian Models’, JEGP, 110 (2011), 441–473. Sweet (ed.), Pastoral Care, p. 5.

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The program of English-language literacy which Alfred lays out as a response to this failure to anticipate the actions of future generations is a curious blend of optimism and pessimism. His injunction to the bishops to translate books into English, and to ensure that boys learned to read them, suggests a belief that humanity was not shackled to its own inevitable decline: that progress, in other words, was possible through effective action. Yet he presents that progress less as a guarantee of a bright future than as a possible bulwark against future decline. After enumerating the value of the (to us) mysterious æstel attached to each copy of the Pastoral Care, the letter concludes: Ond ic bebiode on godes naman ðæt nan mon ðone æstel from ðære bec ne do, ne ða boc from ðæm mynstre: uncuð hu longe ðær swæ gelærede biscepas sien, swæ swæ nu Gode ðonc welhwær siendon. Forðy ic wolde ðæt[te] hie ealneg æt ðære stowe wæren, buton se biscep hie mid him habban wille oððe hio hwær to læne sie, oððe hwa oðre biwrite.32 [And I command in God’s name that no man should remove the æstel from the book, or the book from the cathedral; it is unknown how long there might be such learned bishops there, as are now (thanks be to God) found everywhere. Therefore I desire that they should be in that place, unless the bishop wants to have it with him, or it is somewhere on loan, or someone is copying it.]

The phrase ‘uncuð hu longe ðær swæ gelærede biscepas sien’ [‘it is unknown how long there might be such learned bishops there’] shows that the mistake of the ‘good wise men’ of the past has been taken to heart. Interestingly, even after expressing skepticism – or, at least, anxiety – about the survival of Latin literacy in the future, the king seems to believe in the persistence of two constants: a love of treasure, and the use of the vernacular. His gift exploits both to create a form of insurance for English bishoprics. The attached æstel invests the physical books with value that will necessarily be visible even to the worldly and unlearned, while the use of English will open the text even if Latin learning once again disappears. Marked as a treasure and fixed permanently in the cathedral, the English Pastoral Care will make the possibility, at least, of decent church governance available to future generations, and suggests the belief that, even if some of those to come fail, yet another revival of learning is still possible. The gift of the book is thus revealed as a pragmatic attempt at shaping an unknowable future. Arendt’s lectures on Kant help us perceive one further, crucial feature of Alfred’s governance: his reliance on imagination to work through social problems. As Kant primarily uses the term in the Critique of Judgment, imagination is crucial to judgment because it allows one to have a sensory

32

Sweet (ed.), Pastoral Care, p. 9.



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experience even at a critical remove: it sets the stage and scene for the play of aesthetic judgment. As Arendt puts it, Imagination, that is, the faculty of having present what is absent, transforms an object into something I do not have to be directly confronted with but that I have in some sense internalized, so that I now can be affected by it as though it were given to me by a nonobjective sense.33

But imagination is not simply a way of contemplating a beautiful object without having it physically before one. It is also central to the development of the sensus communis, because imagination allows one to have other people, and their thoughts and feelings, present at all times: so critical thinking […] goes on in isolation, but by the force of imagination it makes the others present and thus moves in a space that is potentially public, open to all sides […] To think with an enlarged mentality means that one trains one’s imagination to go visiting.34

In the Pastoral Care preface, Alfred’s imagination ‘goes visiting’ deep into the past, as he sifts through the likely motivations of his predecessors and works out precisely where they went wrong. But as he looks forward, his imagination pulls up short. He can project some features of English society forward, contemplating cathedrals of times to come inhabited by illiterati who speak English and would probably like æstels. But how far he is separated from these inadequate future bishops is uncuð. So, even more interestingly, is the legal sensibility of these times to come. In the preface to the law code, Alfred describes himself as having applied a critical sensibility to the laws of his predecessors Ine, Offa, and Æthelberht, and selected ‘þa ðe me ryhtoste ðuhton’ [‘those that seemed to me most just’].35 The invocation of great former kings of Wessex, Mercia, and Kent may well have helped reinforce Alfred’s claim to hegemony over all three regions, not least by indicating that he was able to appreciate the virtues of non-West Saxons.36 But his attribution of his choice to taste immediately places Alfred, and by extension his people, into a complex relation to the past. He does not, after all, say that the laws he selected were most just, but that they ‘seemed to him’ [‘me … ðuhton’] that way. As we have seen, Alfred’s judgment of taste involves the application of his sensus communis, his internal representation of his people’s views. These views, it seems, do not coincide perfectly with those of people in the eighth century. His solution is not to reform the populace by imposing the old laws, but to

33 34 35 36

Arendt, Lectures, pp. 66–67. Arendt, Lectures, p. 43. Liebermann, Gesetze, vol. 1, p. 46 (see pp. 136–137 above). For indication that this was more a rhetorical position than a statement of compositional method, see Wormald, Making of English Law, pp. 279–280.

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reform the laws by adapting them to England’s present. Two further choices, however, indicate that the evolution of taste is not imagined as simple, linear progress. One, as we have seen, is the expressed belief that the future would judge according to altered standards: ‘me wæs uncuð, hwæt þas ðam lician wolde ðe æfter us wæren’ [‘it was unknown to me, which [laws] would please those who came after us’].37 The other is the decision to preserve Ine’s law code.38 As the preface to the Pastoral Care makes clear, Alfred was evidently under no illusion that each successive generation would improve upon the last; society has degenerated before, and might again. At the same time, the very fact of the law code indicates a belief that he and his advisors can improve upon the past. But despite the expressed confidence in his judgment, which is confirmed by his witan, Alfred evidently has not taken steps to obliterate the laws of his predecessor by, for instance, having exemplars destroyed. Instead, Ine’s laws remain in full, presumably so that future rulers can work out their own relation to the past: can, in other words, judge for themselves. As with the Pastoral Care preface, then, the attitude toward history that underlies the preface to the law code cannot be reduced to a linear trajectory of either progress or decline. This does not mean that Alfred did not see some times as better than others: the prosperous golden age of English learning was, the Pastoral Care preface makes clear, objectively better than the era of neglect that led into the Viking age. But it was better because of the actions of the people who inhabited it, not simply because it was in the past. And in his contemplation in the law code’s preface of the changing tastes of successive kings and their peoples, Alfred seems to envision both pasts and futures that are neither better nor worse than the present, but simply different: possessed of other sensibilities. The taste of our own time might well find Alfred’s own historical sensibility more to its liking than Kant’s faith in the inevitable progress of human society.39 It seems to have enabled him to imagine the people of the past as knowable others, whom one could learn from without being obliged to imitate in all things; and to look forward to the future with humility as well as pragmatism, imagining generations to come as human beings capable of both success and failure, but likewise different in ways that he could not know. Through the lens of Hannah Arendt’s brilliant re-reading of Kant, we can perceive that the preface to Alfred’s law code encapsulates a theory of law predicated on a radically permea37 38

39

Liebermann, Gesetze, vol. 1, p. 46 (see pp. 136–137 above). For Ine’s laws, see Liebermann, Gesetze, vol. 1, pp. 88–123. Because there is some contradiction between Ine’s laws and Alfred’s, it has been argued that their text is a later accretion to Alfred’s code. However, for evidence that Ine’s laws were intended as an integral part of Alfred’s law code, see Wormald, Making of English Law, pp. 268–269. On which see Arendt, Lectures, p. 50.



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ble idea of the individual. That is to say, the ruler best capable of establishing just laws was not a solitary figure of unique and unparalleled gifts, but one who could, in imagination, bring an entire kingdom into his mind to judge with him. Good taste in law would thus have been a sign of enlightened kingship.40

40

With thanks to the editors of this collection, and above all to Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, for far more than a note can ever convey.

7 The Bodies Politic: Conflict, Consent, and English Identity During Godwin’s Exile Jacob Hobson

T

he 1051 exile of Earl Godwin threw King Edward and his nobility into an especially acute, if not altogether unusual, political crisis. Godwin had come to power during the Danish conqueror Cnut’s reign, and he was by many accounts the second-most powerful person in England at the time of his exile.1 In March of that year, Edward had chosen the Norman Robert of Jumièges to be archbishop of Canterbury over Godwin’s kinsman Ælric. Soon after his elevation, Robert took Godwin to court, alleging that he had infringed upon church lands. As the conflict intensified, Robert formally accused him of having murdered Edward’s brother Alfred fifteen years before. Although some of Edward’s witan [council] intervened on Godwin’s behalf, Edward refused to hold normal legal proceedings that might establish Godwin’s guilt or innocence and instead banned the earl from England. Godwin returned to the kingdom a year later in spite of military opposition. He performed a ritual submission to Edward, and the crisis passed as suddenly as it had begun.2 Godwin’s exile stages with unusual clarity and detail the nature and limits of royal power during Edward’s reign. As I argue in this article, his exile both illuminates the discordant coalition politics behind Edward’s royal power and reveals how these politics constantly negotiated the question of what it meant to be English in the decades before the Conquest. While much important work has shown how the politics of early English kingship were built around counsel and consent, this article contends that they were at the same time inherently conflictual.3 Consent and 1

2

3

In fact, Robin Fleming argues that the Godwinesons’ holdings were more valuable than Edward’s: Kings and Lords in Conquest England (Cambridge, 1991), pp. 55–91. J. L. Grassi challenges her conclusions in ‘The Lands and Revenues of Edward the Confessor’, English Historical Review, 117 (2002), 251–283. For scholarly accounts of the exile and reconciliation, see Frank Barlow, The English Church 1000-1066: A Constitutional History (London, 1966), pp. 47–51; Barlow, Edward the Confessor (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1970), pp. 109–125; and J. R. Maddicott, The Origins of the English Parliament, 924-1327 (Oxford, 2010), pp. 45–47. I invoke here the political theory of Chantal Mouffe, The Democratic Paradox (London, 2000); and On the Political (London, 2005).



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conflict were a tension intrinsic to royal and conciliar politics. Traditional studies of medieval kingship explain the nature and development of the office, often taking an approach broadly rooted in intellectual history.4 Current work, on the other hand, emphasizes kingship as a political practice, one effected principally through royal assemblies.5 According to Timothy Reuter, ‘it was mainly at assemblies that early and high medieval polities were able to act and indeed to exist.’6 The English kings, who had always been peripatetic, held assemblies at strategic locations that facilitated communication among the kingdom’s leading administrators.7 It is telling of the assembly’s importance, for instance, that charters were drawn up and land granted at assemblies.8 The success of an assembly must have relied to a large degree on the king’s personal involvement,9 but it also required the cooperation of the kingdom’s ruling class. John Edward Damon, Alice Sheppard, and Courtnay Konshuh underline this point when they argue that for King Æthelred to have been unræd [ill-counseled] one must look, as Konshuh writes, not to ‘the office of the king, but rather … failing lordship bonds’.10 Such arguments offer compel-

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

See the fundamental studies of Ernst H. Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies: A Study in Mediaeval Political Theology (Princeton, 1957); J. M. Wallace-Hadrill, Early Germanic Kingship in England and on the Continent: The Ford Lectures Delivered in the University of Oxford in the Hilary Term 1970 (Oxford, 1971); and Eugen Ewig, ‘Zum christlichen Königsgedanken im Frühmittelalter’, Spätantikes und fränkisches Gallien: Gesammelte Schriften (1952-73) (Zurich and Munich, 1976–1979), vol. 1, pp. 3–71. Levi Roach’s monograph is ground-breaking: Kingship and Consent in AngloSaxon England, 871-978: Assemblies and the State in the Early Middle Ages (Cambridge, 2013). Timothy Reuter, ‘Assembly Politics in Western Europe from the Eighth Century to the Twelfth’, in Janet L. Nelson (ed.), Medieval Polities and Modern Mentalities (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 193–216, at p. 193. Roach, Kingship and Consent, pp. 45–47. On the development of assemblies in late Anglo-Saxon England, see further Maddicott, Origins of the English Parliament, pp. 1–56. Simon Keynes, ‘Church Councils, Royal Assemblies, and Anglo-Saxon Royal Assemblies’, in Gale R. Owen-Crocker and Brian W. Schneider (eds), Kingship, Legislation, and Power in Anglo-Saxon England (Woodbridge, 2013), pp. 17–180. See also Charles Insley, ‘Assemblies and Charters in Late Anglo-Saxon England’, in P. S. Barnwell and Marco Mostert (eds), Political Assemblies in the Earlier Middle Ages (Turnhout, 2003), pp. 47–59. See particularly Keynes, ‘Church Councils’, but also Levi Roach, ‘Hosting the King: Hospitality and the Royal iter in Tenth-Century England’, Journal of Medieval History, 37:1 (2011), 34–46. John Edward Damon, ‘Advisors for Peace in the Reign of Æthelred Unræd’, in Diane Wolfthal (ed.), Peace and Negotiation: Strategies for Coexistence in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (Turnhout, 2000), pp. 57–78; Courtnay Konshuh, ‘Anræd in their Unræd: The Æthelredian Annals (983-1016) and their Presentation of King and Advisors’, English Studies, 97:2 (2016), 140–162, at p. 141. See also Alice Sheppard, Families of the King: Writing Identity in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Toronto, 2004).

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ling insights into Æthelred’s reign, and the larger body of scholarship on late Anglo-Saxon kingship gestures productively toward this corporate aspect of royal power. However, ruling eleventh-century England was not only about maintaining lordship bonds and holding assemblies. It was also, as Godwin’s exile powerfully shows, about building coalitions and struggling to legitimate and enforce one’s own vision of the kingdom. The question of what it meant to be English was a focal point of the Machtpolitik enacted through Godwin’s exile and return. Edward took the throne in a kingdom whose power structure was at once Anglo-Danish and Anglo-Norman. The Encomium Emmae Reginae, a text written to glorify Cnut’s Anglo-Danish dynasty and rewritten to extend that dynasty’s legitimacy to Edward himself, articulates how this multi-ethnic identity had been shaped at the start of his reign.11 As I discuss below, an entrenched Anglo-Danish power bloc in the witan confronted Edward throughout his reign, and he attempted to build an Anglo-Norman coalition in response. These national-ethnic divisions shaped every step of Godwin’s exile and return. The conflict speaks moreover to the extent of royal power and the character of the English ‘state’ during Edward’s reign, suggesting that relatively autonomous regional and local powers were an important element of any larger state apparatus.12 Royal politics during Edward’s reign always framed an understanding of English identity that necessarily included those regional and local powers, constructing an identity no less conflictual and negotiated than the kingship itself.

The Sources While the sources describing Godwin’s exile allow a multidimensional view of the affair, they all locate royal power doubly between the king and his witan. The Uita Ædwardi regis offers the fullest narrative account of Godwin’s exile and the events leading up to it.13 A Flemish monk, perhaps Folcard, composed this account in the years 1065–1067 in honor

11

12

13

Jacob Hobson, ‘National-Ethnic Narratives in Eleventh-Century Literary Representations of Cnut’, Anglo-Saxon England, 43 (2014), 267–295, at pp. 282–289. The character and centralization of the Anglo-Saxon government have been the subject of intense study. For the contours of the discussion, see James Campbell, ‘The Late Anglo-Saxon State: A Maximum View’, Proceedings of the British Academy, 87 (1994), 39–65; Paul Hyams, ‘Feud and the State in Late Anglo-Saxon England’, Journal of British Studies, 40:1 (2001), 1–43; and Patrick Wormald, ‘Germanic Power Structures: The Early English Experience’, in Len Scales and Oliver Zimmer (eds), Power and Nation in European History (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 105–124. Frank Barlow (ed. and trans.), The Life of King Edward Who Rests at Westminster Attributed to a Monk of Saint-Bertin, 2nd edn (Oxford, 1992).



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of Queen Edith and her family.14 Book I, written before the Conquest, gives a prosimetric account of Edward’s reign, including Godwin’s exile.15 This book, which narrates the exile, casts a sympathetic eye on Edith’s father Godwin, portraying him as an innocent caught on the wrong side of court intrigues conducted by Edward’s favorite, the Norman Archbishop Robert. Book II, written after the Conquest, is a royal hagiography. The other narrative sources for Godwin’s exile are the C-, D-, and E-Texts of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Written in different parts of the kingdom, they offer different perspectives on the same events despite the apparent self-similarity of their annalistic form.16 The location of the C-Text’s production is unclear, although it was likely written in Mercia and has traditionally been associated with Abingdon.17 The D-Text, a local revision of the archetype of the C- and E-Texts that was perhaps produced in Worcester or York, gives a fuller version of events than the C-Text, its closest extant relative during these years.18 The E-Text was written at St Augustine’s, Canterbury during the mid-eleventh century.19 Comprising the ‘Northern Recension’ of the Chronicle, the C-, D-, and E-texts show particular knowledge about Mercian affairs and are broadly aligned with the Leofwinesons.20 This essay draws on all of these sources to show how they figure Godwin’s exile as a contest for both political authority and national-ethnic legitimacy. 14

15

16

17

18

19

20

Although both the date and the authorship of this text have long been contested points, see Tom Licence, ‘The Date and Authorship of the Vita Ædwardi regis’, Anglo-Saxon England, 44 (2015), 259–285. On this text’s place in the literature of Edward’s court, see Elizabeth M. Tyler, ‘German Imperial Bishops and Anglo-Saxon Literary Culture on the Eve of the Conquest: The Cambridge Songs and Leofric’s Exeter Book’, in Rebecca Stephenson and Emily V. Thornbury (eds), Latinity and Identity in Anglo-Saxon Literature (Toronto, 2016), pp. 177–201, at pp. 181–190. On its relationship to the Encomium Emmae Reginae, see Simon Keynes and Rosalind Love, ‘Earl Godwine’s Ship’, Anglo-Saxon England, 38 (2009), 185–223, at pp. 199–202. For an overview, see Simon Keynes, ‘Manuscripts of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle’, in Richard Gameson (ed.), The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain: Volume I c. 400-1100 (Cambridge, 2012), pp. 537–552, at pp. 545–548. However, Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe argues that the attribution to Abingdon rests on shaky ground: Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe (ed.), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition: MS C (Cambridge, 2001), pp. lxxiv–xcii. See G. P. Cubbin (ed.), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition: MS D (Cambridge, 1996), pp. xlviii–lxxix. On the formation of this manuscript and its association with Ealdred, archbishop of York and bishop of Worcester, see Pauline Stafford, ‘Archbishop Ealdred and the D Chronicle’, in David Crouch and Kathleen Thompson (eds), Normandy and its Neighbours, 900-1250: Essays for David Bates (Turnhout, 2011), pp. 135–156. David Dumville, ‘Some Aspects of Annalistic Writing at Canterbury in the Eleventh and Early Twelfth Centuries’, Peritia, 2 (1983), 23–57, at 24–31. On the textual history of these annals, see Susan Irvine (ed.), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition: MS E (Cambridge, 2004), pp. lxxv–lxxxii. Stephen Baxter, ‘MS C of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Politics of MidEleventh-Century England’, EHR, 122 (2007), 1189–1227.

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1 Jacob Hobson Godwin Outlawed: The Workings of English Authority

Outlawry served as an important vector of conflict and consent during Edward’s reign. Indeed, if Godwin’s exile showed Edward’s sovereign ability to master the witan on whose support and legitimation his rule ultimately depended, the fact of outlawry was practically mundane. Osgod Clapa, for instance, was exiled for unknown reasons in 1046. He had been an important part of the witan for many years, present at many of Cnut’s assemblies and apparently sharing some administrative duties with Robert.21 Perhaps of Danish descent,22 he also attested numerous charters during the early years of Edward’s reign before his expulsion.23 Many outlaws were still more prominent members of the witan than Osgod. Like Godwin, Earl Ælfgar of East Anglia would be outlawed in 1055 on charges of treason, but according to the C-Text of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he suffered this punishment ‘butan ælcan gylte’24 [‘without any guilt’]. After fleeing to Ireland, he raised troops and invaded the earldom of Hereford, held by the Norman Ralph, with the help of the Welsh king Gruffudd ap Llywelyn. He ravaged the territory, killing four or five hundred English soldiers and burning down St Æthelberht’s minster before Harold Godwineson stopped him with a levy mustered from nearly all of England. Ælfgar made peace in the same year; he regained his old position and was formally brought back into the law (‘geinlagode’).25 He succeeded his father Leofric as earl of Mercia two years later in 1057.26 These outlawries exemplify the paradoxical power and insecurity that Stephen Baxter has shown to be a part of the English earl’s position.27 But even Edward himself had been exiled during Cnut’s reign. The connections he formed during exile may in fact have paid dividends later in his career. Norman abbots had been among his supporters when he returned to England,28 and the English royal house had

21

22

23 24

25 26 27

28

S 962–964, S 967–970, S 972, S 975–976, and S 979. For evidence that he at least occasionally worked alongside Robert, see S 1121. Charters can be found at Peter Sawyer, et al. (eds), The Electronic Sawyer (2007), [accessed 23 June 2021]. On his ancestry, see Ann Williams, ‘Osgod Clapa (d.1054), Landowner and Exile’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004), [accessed 31 January 2017]. S 999, S 1001–1008, S 1010, S 1012–1013, S 1044, and S 1531. O’Brien O’Keeffe (ed.), MS C, s.a. 1055, p. 115. See also Cubbin (ed.), MS D, s.a. 1055, p. 74. For the charge of treason, see Irvine (ed.), MS E, s.a. 1055, p. 85. All translations of the Chronicle are my own. O’Brien O’Keeffe (ed.), MS C, s.a. 1055, p. 116. Irvine (ed.), MS E, s.a. 1057, p. 85. Stephen Baxter, The Earls of Mercia: Lordship and Power in Late Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 2007). Elisabeth van Houts, ‘Edward and Normandy’, in Richard Mortimer (ed.),



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a long-standing relationship with their counterparts, who were often also their relatives, in Normandy.29 Godwin’s exile thus shows in high relief an important aspect of the projection and enforcement of royal power in mid-eleventh-century England. His exile is narrated in more detail than that of any other in this period, but exile, and the power to outlaw and to pardon that went with it, was fundamental to Edward’s dominion over the kingdom. Although the rift that led to Godwin’s exile manifested itself in various ways, the question of what it meant to be English lay behind all of them. The political particulars can be traced back to the division between the Anglo-Danish earls and Edward’s Norman clique. The established AngloDanish leaders had coexisted since the time of Cnut’s reign. The allegiances these men had formed over decades of rule and political maneuvering also took priority over peer connections of office. The Anglo-Danish earls Siward, Leofric, and Ælfgar apparently took sides against the Norman Ralph, and the native Bishop Stigand opposed the immigrant Robert. To some degree, these national-ethnic lines also took priority over family. The Godewinsons and the Leofwinesons each presented a united front as a family, but Edward effectively rejected his affine kinship with the Godwinesons. Pauline Stafford suggests that Edward and Edith’s childlessness factored into Edward’s break with the Godewinsons, arguing that he took the opportunity to attempt a divorce.30 Earl Godwin had risen to power at the beginning of Cnut’s reign, although little is known of the early background of Godwin’s family. He married Cnut’s sister-inlaw Gytha and helped him put down a rebellion in Denmark.31 Edward in turn married Godwin’s daughter Edith on 23 January 1045, an act that allowed Godwin and Edward to shore up their respective political positions. Leofric, who had likewise come to power during the reign of Cnut, remained earl of Mercia until his death in 1057.32 His son Ælfgar had married Ælfgifu, who was related to Cnut’s first wife Ælfgifu of Northampton, in the late 1020s. Ælfgar served as earl of East Anglia prior to his father’s death.33 Despite their differences, Edward’s earls relied

29

30

31

32 33

Edward the Confessor: The Man and the Legend (Woodbridge, 2009), pp. 63–76, at pp. 68–70. Simon Keynes, ‘The Æthelings in Normandy’, Anglo-Norman Studies, 13 (1990), 173–205. Pauline Stafford, Queen Emma and Queen Edith: Queenship and Women’s Power in Eleventh-Century England (Malden, 1997), p. 264. Simon Keynes, ‘Cnut’s Earls’, in Alexander R. Rumble (ed.), The Reign of Cnut: King of England, Denmark and Norway (London, 1994), pp. 43–88, at pp. 70–74. On Godwin’s part in the Danish campaign, see Barlow (ed.), Uita Ædwardi, pp. 8–10. Concerning Gytha, see Ann Williams, ‘Godwine, earl of Wessex (d. 1053)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004), [accessed 30 January 2017]. Keynes, ‘Cnut’s Earls’, pp. 77–78. Ann Williams, ‘Ælfgar, Earl of Mercia (d. 1062?)’, Oxford Dictionary of National

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in some ways on the king for their power, and he had powers that they did not, such as issuing charters and minting coins.34 However, Edward relied on them too, and many of his Anglo-Danish earls had been important power brokers in England long before his reign. They did not relinquish their power when Edward returned to the kingdom after Cnut’s line ended. Filling his witan with Normans would therefore have been a matter of political self-interest or perhaps even self-preservation for Edward. Edward established his Norman circle when he returned to England from Francia, where he had been exiled during the reign of Harthacnut, his half-Danish half-brother. The Uita notes that he brought a number of Frankish nobles back with him, including Robert: ‘utpote compos totius regni, ordinariosque constituit secretorum consilii sui, et rectores rerum regalis palatii’ [‘since he was master of the whole kingdom, he kept them with him, enriched them with many honors, and made them his privy counselors and administrators of the royal palace’].35 Tensions inherent in the composition of Edward’s witan must have been an important aspect of not only his assemblies but also his plans of action in the kingdom’s politics. These shifting and uneasy allegiances underlie the sources’ apparently straightforward accounts of Edward’s Norman appointments. The division between Edward’s Norman counselors and his AngloDanish ones began to show itself openly when the office of archbishop of Canterbury became available. This moment marked a high point in Robert’s career and a setback for established interests within the English power structure. Both Robert and Ælric, Godwin’s kinsman, were candidates for the position, and factions formed in support of each. As the Uita explains, Ælric ‘adoleuerat in eadem Christi ęcclesia, a tenero ungue monasticis educatus disciplinis’ [‘had grown up, however, in that Church of Christ, from childhood educated in the monastic discipline’].36 In addition to being the likely internal hire, Ælric was, according to the Uita, a man active in secular matters. The ecclesiastics of Christ Church supported him fully for the position, and Godwin advanced their support to King Edward. But Edward, who trusted his Norman counselors more than his English ones, appointed Robert over their protestations.37 This elevation, which took place at a mid-Lent assembly in London during March 1051, cemented Robert’s rise to power. His position in London had been that of a man on the make, for this bishopric was located in one of the kingdom’s major urban centers, had associations with the royal

34 35

36 37

Biography (Oxford, 2004), [accessed 30 January 2017]. See further Baxter, Earls of Mercia, pp. 61–124. Barlow (ed.), Uita Ædwardi, pp. 28–29. See also Ann Williams, Kingship and Government in Pre-Conquest England, c. 500-1066 (London, 1999), pp. 138–139. Barlow (ed.), Uita Ædwardi, pp. 30–31. Ibid.



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house, and had long served as a stepping stone for important church leaders, including Dunstan and Wulfstan.38 As Bishop of London, Robert had signed five charters in locations throughout the kingdom during the years 1046–1050,39 suggesting that he was becoming increasingly active in the kingdom’s politics in the years prior to his elevation to Canterbury and conflict with Godwin. In 1044–1046, Edward also addressed a writ to him, Osgod Clapa, and the sheriff Ulf that affirmed the rights of the monks of Winchester to the land at Chalkhill, including judicial and financial privileges.40 Coming after these years of activity, Robert’s accession to the archbishopric both rewarded his confidence with the king and worked to expand Edward’s power in southern England, where Godwin held his earldom. In the kingdom’s affairs before the exile, the king, the land’s most important ecclesiastical institution, and its most important regional military power were, if not quite each pulling in their own direction, so poorly coordinated that they could hardly have functioned as a unified government. Godwin himself was pulled in different directions as his holdings were beset on multiple fronts. Having established himself as a major player in the kingdom’s political circles, Robert immediately clashed with Godwin. According to the Uita, they disputed particularly over certain lands belonging to Christ Church. While no charter survives to back the claim of either side, even the usually pro-Godwin author of the Uita says that Robert was in the right.41 It may be then that Robert had legitimate grievances against Godwin. The Uita frames their dispute as part of a larger pattern of conflict over the church’s tenurial rights: ‘Crebrę quoque erant inter eos controuersię, quod eum dicebat terras archiepiscopatus sui inuasisse, et in iniuria sua usibus suis eas tenere’ [‘There were also frequent disputes between them, because he (Robert) said that Godwin invaded the lands of his archbishopric and injured him by keeping them to his own use’].42 According to the author of this text, Godwin suffered Robert’s accusations peacefully. Calming his thegns, who were angered by Robert’s position, he waited for the storm to pass.43 At stake in these disputes were not just the holdings of Christ Church but also the license Edward seems to have given Norman leaders to encroach upon Godwin’s territory. Soon after Robert became archbishop of Canterbury, the Chronicle records that the Norman count Eustace of 38

39 40

41 42 43

On the particular conditions of the London bishopric, see Andrew Rabin, ‘Wulfstan at London: Episcopal Politics in the Reign of Æthelred’, English Studies, 97:2 (2016), 186–206, at 188–192. S 1014, S 1015, S 1017, S 1020, and S 1022. S 1121, printed in F. E. Harmer, Anglo-Saxon Writs (Manchester, 1952), pp. 344–345. Barlow (ed.), Uita Ædwardi, pp. 32–33. See also Barlow’s remarks on p. 32, n. 68. Barlow (ed.), Uita Ædwardi, pp. 32–33. Ibid.

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Bologne, husband of Edward’s sister Godgifa, crossed the Channel into Kent. According to the E-Text, he spoke to the king ‘þet þet he þa wolde ⁊ gewende þa hamweard’44 [‘that which he wished and turned then homeward’]. He passed through Canterbury toward Dover, riding in mail with his companions. Arriving in Dover, they wished to board in local inhabitants’ houses, and a fight broke out in which nineteen of Eustace’s retinue and more than twenty English locals died. Eustace rode back to the king and gave him a partial account (‘be dæle’) of what had happened. Furious at the inhabitants of Dover, Edward ordered Godwin to conduct reprisals, but Godwin refused because ‘him wæs lað to amyrrene his agenne folgað’45 [‘he found it grievous to inflict harm on his own district’]. The same year, the Chronicle says, Godwin helped put down an insurrection in Herefordshire, where the Cornish had built a castle in his son Swein’s district and were attacking the king’s men.46 Helping to defend his son’s holdings and the kingdom’s security, ordered by the king to ravage his own vassals, and engaged in tenurial disputes with the new archbishop, Godwin found himself at odds with both the king and a rising Norman star of the witan. The division between Edward and Godwin struck so centrally at the English government that, according to the D-Text, it threatened a civil war along ethnic lines. In this version, Eustace’s men engage in the fight at Dover on their way to see Edward, not on their return journey.47 They flee after the battle to Gloucester, where Edward grants them a truce. Godwin and his sons, presumably angry at this intrusion into their territory, muster their armies and set themselves outside Gloucester, ‘ealle gearwe to wige ongean þone cyng, buton man ageafe Eastatsius ⁊ his men heom to hand sceofe, ⁊ eac þa Frencyscan þe on þam castelle wæron’48 [‘all of them ready for war against the king unless he should give them Eustace and thrust his men into their hands, and also those Normans who were in the castle’]. Edward’s Norman brother-in-law has attacked Godwin’s territory and killed his vassals, and by granting Eustace refuge in his own fortification, Edward has all but endorsed the attack. The earls Leofric, Siward, and Ralph hear about the impasse and rush to Gloucester to come to the king’s defense. They were, says the D-Text, so fully agreed with the king that they were prepared to attack Godwin’s army. Exchanging hostages instead of blows, they go to London, where Godwin and his sons will make a legal defense (‘cuman to wiðermale’).49 Like the E-Text 44 45 46 47

48 49

Irvine (ed.), MS E, s.a. 1048 (for 1051), p. 80. Ibid. Ibid. However, Barlow considers the E-Text a more reliable account of events: Edward the Confessor, p. 110. Irvine (ed.), MS E, s.a. 1048 (for 1051), p. 80. Ibid. On hostage exchange as a form of political negotiation, see Ryan Lavelle, ‘The Use and Abuse of Hostages in Later Anglo-Saxon England’, Early Medieval



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and the Uita, this version of events explains the conflict as a dispute between Godwin and Edward over territory and jurisdiction, and here too a national-ethnic dimension is implicit in their dispute. The annalist of the D-Text, who seems to consider Godwin and Edward evenly matched in this potential struggle, marvels at the way this rupture shatters their recent comity and the kingdom’s seeming political unity. After Godwin has been outlawed, he reports: Þæt wolde ðyncan wundorlic ælcum men þe on Englalande wæs, gif ænig man ær þam sæde þæt hit swa gewurþan sceolde, for ðam þe he wæs ær to þam swyðe up ahafen swylce he weolde þæs cynges ⁊ ealles Englalandes, ⁊ his sunan wæron eorlas, ⁊ þæs cynges dyrlingas, ⁊ his dohtor þæm cynge beweddod ⁊ beæwnod.50 [That would seem incredible to any man who was in England, if anyone had said to him that it would happen that way, because he (Godwin) had been so greatly elevated that he had power over the king and all England. His sons were earls and the king’s favorites, and his daughter was wedded and married to the king.]

According to the annalist, Godwin’s personal power and family connections have set him up as almost a king in his own right. Godwin in effect commands his own sons as earls, and he has married his daughter into the royal household. His threat of war with Edward is not so much the rebellion of a disgruntled earl as half the kingdom rising against the other half. It is therefore particularly important for all concerned that they exchange hostages as sureties, an act that Frank Barlow likens to a treaty,51 and that they postpone a resolution of their dispute until a second assembly can be held in a different town. Changing locations allows Eustace and his men to depart Gloucester safely and gives the principals in the case time to discuss and plan their approach, but it also preserves the kingdom from a possibly irreparable internal rupture. The division between the Anglo-Danish coalition and Edward’s Norman one comes most sharply into focus during two assemblies held in September of 1051. The Uita, which gives the only detailed account of proceedings, says that Robert opposed Godwin so strongly that, ‘insanie insaniam addens’ [‘adding madness to madness’],52 he accused Godwin not only of having murdered Edward’s brother Alfred in 1036 but of currently plotting against Edward himself.53 Edward assembled his witan

50 51 52 53

Europe, 14.3 (2006), 269–296. For continental context, see Paul J. E. Kershaw, Peaceful Kings: Peace, Power, and the Early Medieval Political Imagination (Oxford, 2011), pp. 17–19. Irvine (ed.), MS E, s.a. 1048 (for 1051), p. 80. Barlow, Edward the Confessor, p. 108. Barlow (ed.), Uita Ædwardi, pp. 32–33. Ibid., pp. 32–35.

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in Gloucester on the seventh of the month to hear the formal accusation, and Godwin arrived willing to prove his innocence by ordeal. The Uita reports that the accusation split the witan, but it was not the question of Godwin’s innocence or guilt that divided them. Rather, it was whether the legal process would be carried out at all: ‘Nam adeo super huius sceleris fide animum rex induxerat, ut nec uerbum aliquod oblatę purgationis audire posset’ [‘For the king had so convinced himself of the truth of this crime that he would not hear even one word of the purgation that was offered’].54 Edward had by this point come to believe so strongly in Godwin’s guilt, or at least to desire his punishment so strongly, that he refused either to hear testimony on the matter or to allow the accused to perform a purgative ordeal, an act that would have been the ‘functional equivalent’ of sworn testimony.55 The Gloucester assembly effectively divided the witan along the same ethnic lines that had been drawn years before, and Edward ended the assembly by ignoring the counsel of all his Anglo-Danish earls. The Uita names three earls who spoke on behalf not of Godwin but merely of letting him be tried: Siward, earl of the Northumbrians; Leofric, earl of Mercia; and his son Ælfgar. Siward was a Dane who had come to power during the early years of Cnut’s reign and assumed full control of Northumbria in 1041, shortly before Harthacnut’s death.56 Siward had also helped Edward consolidate power by disgracing his and Harthacnut’s Norman mother Emma in 1043.57 Leofric too had helped Edward remove his mother from England, and his family and the Godwinesons appear to have viewed one another as rivals.58 Although little is known of Ælfgar during these years, he would presumably have experienced, at least to some degree, both the benefits of his father’s power and the potential drawbacks of his pre-existing rivalries. Charter evidence shows that all of these men were commonly present at Edward’s assemblies in the first decade of his reign. Conspicuously absent is Edward’s Norman nephew Ralph, at this time an earl in the east midlands.59 Ralph appears to have made a sudden rise in 54 55

56 57

58 59

Ibid., pp. 34–35. James Q. Whitman, The Origins of Reasonable Doubt: Theological Roots of the Criminal Trial (New Haven, 2008), pp. 52–90, at p. 82. Whitman’s argument accords with Andrew Rabin, ‘Witnessing Kingship: Royal Power and the Legal Subject in the Old English Laws’, in Owen-Crocker and Schneider (eds), Kingship, Legislation and Power (Woodbridge, 2013), pp. 219–236, at pp. 225–235. Keynes, ‘Cnut’s Earls’, pp. 65–66. William W. Aird, ‘Siward, Earl of Northumbria (d. 1055)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004), [accessed 30 January 2017]. Barlow, Edward the Confessor, pp. 56–57. Ann Williams, ‘The King’s Nephew: The Family and Career of Ralph, Earl of Hereford’, in Christopher Harper-Bill, Christopher J. Holdsworth, and Janet L. Nelson (eds), Studies in Medieval History Presented to R. Allen Brown (Woodbridge, 1989), pp. 327–343, at pp. 329–334.



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1050, for he witnessed his first two charters in this year.60 His elevation, like Robert’s, may well have been part of Edward’s recent push to consolidate his own power over the kingdom; if so, it is unsurprising that the Uita does not show him objecting to Edward. Godwin, apparently realizing that the law could not save him, attempted to maintain consensual rule by simply affirming Edward’s power over him at the next assembly. This assembly took place in London on 21 September.61 Godwin was not present for this meeting, instead waiting outside the city walls on his own manor, but according to the Uita, he nevertheless sought to influence proceedings inside: ‘legationes mittens petiit ne preiudicium innocentię suę inferretur a rage, agebatque se omnibus modis paratum ad satisfaciendum regi et cum iure et ultra ius ad nutum uoluntatis suę’ [‘he again sent messengers, and asked that nothing should be done by the king to the prejudice of his innocence; and he showed himself in every way ready to satisfy the king in accordance with the law or beyond it, according to his will’].62 Godwin continued to maintain his innocence, just as he had done at the Gloucester assembly. This time, however, he gave up trying to prove his innocence through juridical means. He was instead prepared to atone himself before the king; ‘satisfaciendum’ points not to a proof of innocence but rather to the practice of satisfactio [satisfaction], which was ‘an attempt to correct a previous wrong’ and often had a penitential aspect.63 Godwin, willing to make his peace with the king either legally or ‘ultra ius’ [‘beyond the law’] as Edward wished, tried to adjust to the shifting terms of his relationship to the king. Without admitting guilt, he was now prepared to repair his breach with Edward personally and by making amends rather than by demonstrating his innocence before the witan. The bishop of Winchester Stigand, who came from an Anglo-Danish family around Norwich and had first been appointed in 1020 as a royal priest at Ashington during one of Cnut’s assemblies, mediated on Godwin’s behalf.64 He was able to push back the day of judgment, thereby allowing Edward to consult further with his witan.65 Edward’s banishment of Godwin and rejection of nearly his entire witan’s counsel ended this assembly in a particularly conflictual manner.

60 61 62 63

64

65

S 1020 and S 1022. The autumnal equinox; see Irvine (ed.), MS E, s.a. 1048, p. 82. Barlow (ed.), Uita Ædwardi, pp. 34–35. Levi Roach, ‘Penance, Submission and deditio: Religious Influences on Dispute Settlement in Later Anglo-Saxon England (871-1066)’, Anglo-Saxon England, 41 (2012), 343–371, at 346. Peter S. Baker (ed.), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition: MS F (Cambridge, 2000), s.a. 1020, p. 111. On Stigand’s background and early career, see Mary Frances Smith, ‘Archbishop Stigand and the Eye of the Needle’, Anglo-Norman Studies, 16 (1993), 199–219, at 199–202. Barlow (ed.), Uita Ædwardi, pp. 34–35.

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Edward, still swayed by Robert, announced that the only possible satisfaction would be when ‘ei reddiderit uiuum suum fratrem cum suis omnibus et que eis uiuis uel interfectis ablata sunt cum integritate eorum’ [‘he (Godwin) gave him back his brother alive together with all his men and all their possessions intact which had been taken from them quick or dead’].66 Stigand delivered the news to Godwin through his tears; Godwin, now an outlaw, rode to Bosham-on-Sea, prayed tearfully to God, and took his family and possessions to the court of Count Baldwin in Flanders. Despite his expulsion, the Uita says, Godwin remained ‘fidelis … domino suo regi Ædwardo’ [‘faithful to his lord, King Edward’],67committed to the legitimacy of Edward’s authority. Godwin’s daughter Queen Edith also underwent a symbolic exile, placed in the convent at Wilton where she had been raised.68 According to the Uita, Edith’s banishment hurt the courtiers more deeply than did Godwin’s own: ‘Nec mirum, erat enim in omnibus regalibus consiliis, ut ita dicamus, moderatrix et quoddam principium totius honestatis, et quod regem deceret potissimimum preferens [ ]tibus et omnibus diuitiis’ [‘And no wonder! For she was in all the royal counsels, as we might say, a governess and the fount of all goodness, strongly preferring the king’s interests to power and riches’].69 Edith here provides a counterpoint to Robert, whose counsel is presented as evidence of his ‘dementia’ [‘madness’] and ‘insaniam’ [‘frenzy’].70 At least as the Uita has it, Edward completed the virtual destruction of his own court at Robert’s instigation. At these assemblies, Edward was both personally involved in the party lines that had been drawn among his witan and tasked with adjudicating among them, both a part of these conciliar squabbles and a sovereign who theoretically stood above them. What began as an ethnic and political fault-line within the witan divided the power elite of England against themselves. Regardless of Edward’s precise relationship with his in-laws and whether or not Robert exercised fully the undue influence that the Uita attributes to him, Edward found himself in an impossible situation. Overruling the objections of several important members of his witan and refusing Godwin a trial, he tried to overcome this double bind by denying it. Edward in effect declared himself free of the normal procedures that governed the actions of his assembly as well as criminal law. He claimed pride of place as an individual who could at once suspend and dictate the law of the land, and whatever their initial protestations, his witan accepted this position regardless of their previous political alignment in the affair. 66 67 68

69 70

Ibid., pp. 36–37. Ibid. Ibid. See also Stephanie Hollis, ‘Wilton as a Centre of Learning’, in Stephanie Hollis, with W. R. Barnes et al. (eds), Writing the Wilton Women: Goscelin’s Legend of Edith and Liber confortatorius (Turnhout, 2004), pp. 307–338, at pp. 327–335. Barlow (ed.), Uita Ædwardi, pp. 36–39. Ibid., pp. 36–37.



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Godwin’s Return: The Representation of English Authority The sources frame England as a kingdom no less divided by Godwin’s absence than it was by his presence. They present the outlawed Godwin as almost a counter-king of England, no longer directly subordinate to Edward but also not in possession of any land. Indeed, Godwin’s return constantly raises the question of whether he can be readmitted to the English body politic on his own standing or only by Edward’s sovereign authority. The Uita presents Godwin as virtually the real king of England, whose absence is catastrophic to the identity of the English people itself. This text states that, because ‘eum ab omnibus Anglis pro patri coli’ [‘Godwin was revered by all Englishmen as a father’],71 the English people were terrified by his exile: ‘Eius absentiam siue fugam habuere perniciem suam, interitum gentis Anglice, excidium insuper totius patrie. Unde felicem se putabat, qui post eum exulari poterat’ [‘They considered his flight and absence a disaster for them, the ruin of the English people, more, the destruction of the whole country. And so a man who could follow him into exile counted himself fortunate’].72 Of greater stature than an earl and influential in the kingdom beyond Wessex, Godwin’s absence has a far greater consequence than merely leaving the earldom of Wessex vacant (although a certain Odda took control of its western shires).73 It is rather the ruin of the gens Anglica [English people] and of the entire land that they inhabit, precisely those people and that land whom Edward’s charters usually declare him to be the king of.74 If those who can follow Godwin to Flanders consider themselves lucky, they do so because their loyalties as Englishmen lie more with Godwin than with the actual king. Even as an exiled counter-king, Godwin never fully stops being a member of Edward’s witan. Aware of his stature among the English, Godwin tries once more to reach Edward, this time from Flanders: ‘mittit tamen adhuc pacem et misericordiam petere a rege domino suo, ut sibi liceat cum eius gratia ad se purgandum legibus uenire coram eo’ [‘he sent again to ask for peace and mercy from the king, his lord, that he might with his permission come before him and lawfully purge himself’].75 In 71 72 73

74

75

Ibid., pp. 40–41. Ibid. Ann Williams, ‘Odda, earl (d. 1056)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004), [accessed 31 January 2017]. Edward’s royal styles range from simply ‘rex Anglorum’ [‘king of the English’] to, less commonly, more involved styles like ‘industrius rex Anglorum omniumque insularum in circuitu persistentium’ [‘diligent king of the English and of all others dwelling in the circuit of islands’]. See, respectively, S 1004 in John M. Kemble, Codex diplomaticus aevi Saxonici (6 vols, London, 1839–1848), vol. 4, pp. 84–85; and S 1012, ibid., vol. 4, pp. 94–97, at p. 94. Barlow (ed.), Uita Ædwardi, pp. 40–41.

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doing so, he reprises his role from outside the assembly at London. He is once more excluded from the law, but this time he is also outside the kingdom in which English law applied. Continually trying to prove himself innocent before Edward, he seeks to be allowed to rejoin the body politic that comprised the English kingdom. He attempts to reach Edward through diplomatic means, sending ambassadors (‘missis legatis’) from the French king Henry I; the counts of Flanders also intercede on his behalf.76 Despite these personal and political appeals, Edward remains cold to Godwin’s entreaties: ‘Sed et illi hoc suggerebant satis frustra; obstruxerat enim pias regis aures prauorum malitia’ [‘But even they had little enough success when they suggested it, for the malice of evil men had shut up the merciful ears of the king’].77 This statement displaces responsibility for Godwin’s continued exile from king to counsel. Edward himself remains righteous throughout this process, but the wickedness of his counselors (presumably mostly Robert) prevents even the suggestion of Godwin’s return from reaching him. Indeed, the Uita subtly insists that Edward himself always remains a just king, whatever events might appear to suggest. At this point in the text, Godwin’s power is located doubly in him and in those around him no less than is Edward’s, and the English kingship itself is a site of both political and ethnic contention. The English body politic is not, the Uita suggests, divided by the sovereign on whose authority Godwin was exiled so much as by the kingdom’s other policy makers. The text at once represents Edward as the ultimate authority within his kingdom and shifts responsibility for his actions away from him, claiming that his actions are more the result of Norman counsel than his own ineptitude or immorality. For his part, Godwin’s sons and allies support him just as Edward’s earls should support him. The foreign nobles who come to his diplomatic aid fulfill the same function Godwin’s personal messengers had during the London assembly, interceding on his behalf when he no longer has direct access to or the ability to participate in the practice of English law and royal power. When Godwin moves over the Channel, his sons Harold and Leofwine similarly attempt to intercede on his behalf. However, their intercession will be a military one; they go to Ireland, where they raise an army to avenge their father’s injury.78 Godwin takes steps to re-enter the English body politic with or without Edward’s consent, thus attempting to reunify both the crown and the English kingdom. The Uita describes his return as that of an alienated noble. Despite the support he had raised abroad, Godwin came to see that ‘iniquorum factione sibi ad nullam iuris legem accessum dari’ [‘by the

76 77 78

Ibid. Ibid. Ibid., pp. 38–41.



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intrigue of evil men he was barred from a legal trial’],79 and no amount of legal intercession would allow him to be admitted into the legal state of England again. He instead assembled a fleet in the River Yser and sailed across the Channel to Dungeness.80 As he landed in Kent, Harold sailed with nine ships from Ireland to Portland, where Odda had taken over Godwin’s earldom, ravaging the territory before turning eastward to meet his father.81 In the Uita, Godwin’s military landing is a welcome return home: ‘Occurrunt omnes quotquot naui poterant orientales siue australes Angli, occurrunt, inquam, omnes ei, sicut filii suo diu exoptato patri’ [‘All the eastern and southern English who could manage it met his ship; all came to meet him, I repeat, like children their long-awaited father’].82 Joyously received by people who never truly stopped being his followers, the Uita says, Godwin met his sons, and they happily greeted one another before turning to the mouth of the Thames.83 The Chronicle accounts, on the other hand, narrate the military incursion of a power that is no longer domestic but is also not quite foreign. The English earls, they say, raised a fleet and army at Sandwich, but bad weather kept them from defending the kingdom against Godwin’s reintegration into it. The usually sympathetic E-Text reports that while Harold ravaged the English kingdom in the west, Godwin did so widely throughout the south-east until he arrived once more in London.84 As Stephen Baxter notes, the annalist, a monk at St Augustine’s, Canterbury, is ‘unlikely to approve of any earl who led an army through Kent, not least because many of the abbey’s estates and properties lay in its path’.85 The D-Text more demurely says that the Godwinesons ‘noldon no mycelne hearm don syððon, buton þæt hyg metsunge namon’ [‘did not wish to do too much harm afterward, except that they took provisions’].86 However, even this provisioning must have caused significant damage to the local inhabitants, and it mirrors Eustace’s actions in Dover that, in the D-Text’s earlier account, sparked the chain of events that led to Godwin’s exile in the first place. Godwin’s return to England thus provokes a confrontation of two royal ideologies, each defined in large part by its national-ethnic filiation. Edward, the Norman exile who has never quite been at home in English politics, is king by virtue of his office. The sources consider Godwin, on the other hand, to hold authority by virtue of his natural identification 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86

Ibid., pp. 40–41. Ibid., and Irvine (ed.), MS E, s.a. 1052, p. 82. Barlow (ed.), Uita Ædwardi, pp. 38–41; Irvine (ed.), MS E, s.a. 1052, p. 83. Barlow (ed.), Uita Ædwardi, pp. 40–43. Ibid., pp. 42–43. Irvine (ed.), MS E, s.a. 1052, pp. 81–82. Baxter, ‘MS C’, p. 1206, n. 88. Cubbin (ed.), MS D, s.a. 1052, p. 72.

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with the English people. Learning of Godwin’s entry into the kingdom ‘absque eius nutu’ [‘without his command’],87 the Uita reports that Edward acted to protect his sovereign territory: ‘cum militari copia qua poterat Lundoniam uenit, utque acri erat animo et promtissimę strennuitatis, ingressum ciuitatis qua tendebat prohibere temptabat’ [‘he came with such a military force as he could muster to London; and, as he was of passionate temper and a man of prompt and vigorous action, he tried to deny them entry into the city where he was encamped’].88 The Uita ascribes Edward’s defense of London less to the necessity of holding his kingdom intact, which is an ideologically fraught project at this point, than to his personal qualities. As a passionate and active man, Edward responds violently to Godwin’s presence. Yet the Uita describes Godwin’s return as so natural to his loyal English status that it portrays the English people as rejoicing at Godwin’s arrival. This text has the inhabitants of London – all of them (‘omnis ciuitas’) – rush out to aid Godwin, even urging him to take advantage of his superior force and attack the king.89 The Uita presents a man to whom leadership of the English people is an intrinsic quality, and Godwin once more becomes as much a king of England as Edward. At this moment, he and Edward stand in a kind of détente over the rulership of the kingdom, a problem that can be solved only by Godwin’s steadfast loyalty to the king. The Chronicle accounts again frame the problem of a divided English crown and people more bluntly, suggesting the possibility of a civil war waged on land and sea. The D-Text particularly stresses the gathering of forces on both sides. In this account, Edward sends for reinforcements when he learns of Godwin’s entry, and each side deploys land and sea forces at London. The potential civil war is prevented not by Godwin’s unwavering loyalty to the crown or his desire to regain his status as an English earl, but by the fear that a civil war would cause a kind of mutually assured destruction. If the English square off and kill one another, they fear, they will leave the door open to a foreign invasion: ‘hit wes mæst eallan lað to feohtanne wið heora agenes cynnes mannum, for ðam þær wæs lytel elles þe aht mycel myhton butan Englisce on ægðre healfe, ⁊ eac hi noldon þæt utlendiscum mannum wære þes eard þurh þæt ðe swiðor gerymed þe hi him sylfe ælc oþerne forfore’ [‘it was most hateful to all to fight against men of their own kin, because there was little else of much importance but Englishmen on either side, and they did not wish that the land should be opened more greatly to foreign men because they themselves each destroyed the other’].90 It is less important here that Godwin is English than that his soldiers are English. It is hateful to every-

87 88 89 90

Barlow (ed.), Uita Ædwardi, p. 42. I have adapted Barlow’s translation here. Ibid., pp. 42–43. Ibid. Cubbin (ed.), MS D, s.a. 1052, pp. 72–73.



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one on both sides not that Godwin should be cut off from the kingdom but that a people should fight against themselves. To stave off such a disaster, Godwin and Edward exchange emissaries (‘wyse men’) and agree to a mutual truce (‘grið’).91 The E-Text, which appears to be better informed than the northern recension about these events, also records the mutual exchange of hostages.92 In the Uita, Godwin and Edward resolve their conflict through Frankish means. Edward is able to still the commotion of his mind (‘animi motu’)93 with the counsel of his witan, and he performs a ritual of forgiveness: ‘duci osculum prebuit, offensas omnes donauit, gratiam quoque suam tam sibi quam omnibus filiis suis integre annuit’ [‘he gave the earl the kiss of peace, condoned all offenses, and also granted his full favor both to him and all his sons’].94 These words narrate the only deditio known from Anglo-Saxon England. However, the practice is familiar from continental sources, and it recalls Edward’s time in Francia.95 This ceremony renders the satisfactio that Godwin has offered since the Gloucester assembly, granting him forgiveness for the offenses that the Uita insists he never committed and returning his position within the English law and kingdom. Civil war is averted, and Godwin, who never truly held sovereign authority over the English, returns to his subordinate position. The effects of the ceremony extend directly to his sons, and Edith is also soon brought back to the court and to her place as Edward’s wife. Although Godwin returns to power, his deditio resolves the conflict on the symbolic terms of Edward’s Norman coalition. The Chronicle accounts record not a deditio but a land conveyance, bringing Godwin back into the fold through familiar English rituals. Godwin and Edward establish between themselves a ‘grið’, probably a truce guaranteed by both sides.96 The D-Text reports: ‘wæs þa witene gemot, ⁊ man sealde Godwine clæne his eorldom, swa full ⁊ swa forð swa he fyrmest ahte’ [‘there was then an assembly of the witan, and Godwin was given his earldom free of encumbrances, as fully and as completely as he had ever possessed it’].97 Edward grants Godwin his old earldom back with all

91 92 93 94 95

96

97

Ibid., p. 73. Irvine (ed.), MS E, s.a. 1052, p. 83. Barlow (ed.), Uita Ædwardi, p. 44. Ibid., pp. 44–45. Julia Barrow, ‘Demonstrative Behavior and Political Communication in Later Anglo-Saxon England’, Anglo-Saxon England, 36 (2007), 127–150, at 137; and Roach, ‘Penance, Submission and deditio’, pp. 357–358. Angus Cameron, Ashley Crandall Amos, Antonette diPaolo Healey et al. (eds), Dictionary of Old English, A-I online (Toronto, Dictionary of Old English Project, 2018), . s.v. ‘griþ’, definition 1: ‘protection/security guaranteed by someone (e.g. the king), usually limited to a particular place (e.g. a church) or time period.’ Cubbin (ed.), MS D, s.a. 1052, p. 73.

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the privileges he ever had. The phrase ‘swa full ⁊ swa forð’, familiar from charters, particularly emphasizes the reconciliation as a tenurial matter. Godwin’s family take up their old positions, and the Norman members of the witan are outlawed. Expelling the Normans to Normandy and bringing the English earls back to England, Godwin’s return signals in this text a triumph for his Anglo-Danish coalition’s conception of English politics and the English kingdom. The E-Text’s narration of these events goes further, returning the kingdom to unity by rejecting Edward’s Norman circle in favor of the Anglo-Danish earls. The annalist neatly mirrors Godwin’s exile and return in Robert’s flight. According to this text, Bishop Stigand acts once more as a mediator between the king and his estranged earl, helping to negotiate the exchange of hostages. When Robert and the other Normans learn of this, they flee: genamon heora hors, ⁊ gewendon sume west to Pentecostes castele, sume norð to Rodbertes castele. ⁊ Rodberd arcebiscop ⁊ Ulf biscop gewendon ut æt Æstgeate ⁊ heora geferan, ⁊ ofslogon ⁊ elles amyrdon manige iunge men, ⁊ gewendon heom on an to Ealdulfesnæse, ⁊ wearð him þær on an on unwræste scipe, ⁊ ferde him on an ofer sæ ⁊ forlet his pallium ⁊ Cristendom ealne her on lande swa swa hit God wolde þa he ær begeat þone wurðscipe swa swa hit God nolde.98 [They took to horseback, and some went west to Pentecost’s castle, some north to Robert’s castle. And Archbishop Robert and Bishop Ulf and their companions went out at Eastgate, and they slew and otherwise injured many young men. And they went at once to Ealdulfesnæs. And he (Robert) boarded a wretched ship and went immediately over the sea and abandoned his pallium and all Christendom here in England, just as God wished when he previously received that honor that God did not wish.]

The Normans’ castles remind us that they have in effect occupied parts of England under Edward’s reign. Just as Godwin and his sons fight to regain their standing in England, Robert and his companions fight to abandon theirs. Their journey to the sea imitates Eustace’s bloody return to France the year before. Forsaking his bishopric and cutting a path back to Normandy, Robert is exiled to his homeland. He thereby provides a resolution to both the personal and the national-ethnic conflicts that the Chronicle narrates.

Conclusion Godwin’s exile and return offers a case study of how English royal politics operated beyond consent, holding it in an inescapable tension with 98

Irvine (ed.), MS E, s.a. 1052, p. 84.



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conflict. The many exiles of Edward’s reign illustrate this point about his characteristic exercise of power, and in the events of 1051 we see how this tension was articulated through national-ethnic identity. The question of what it meant to be English was an implicit but constant site of conflict between the Anglo-Danish coalition represented by Godwin and the Norman one led by Edward. Without precisely settling this question, Edward and his earls waged the competition for the leadership of the Archbishopric of Canterbury at least partly as a war of ethnic position. Their sometimes violent power politics were inextricably inflected by these identities, and the struggle for political legitimacy rested on a perception of national-ethnic legitimacy. The king and his witan were both divided and united by these dynamics, struggling to establish a unified sense of English authority and identity that nevertheless included them all.

8 Abraham Wheelock, Agent of Anglicanism, and the Deployment of Old English Texts in the 1643 Edition of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People Timothy Graham A Dual-Language Edition of Bede, with Supplementary Materials

T

he publication of Abraham Wheelock’s edition of Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum marked a historic moment in the development of the scholarly study of Anglo-Saxon England and its textual remains.1 Issued by Roger Daniel, printer to the University of Cambridge, in 1643, the book was the most important to emerge from the university’s presses in the middle decades of the seventeenth century.2 It included both Bede’s original Latin text and its Old English translation, probably dating from the late ninth century and believed by Wheelock to be the work of King Alfred.3 The edition presented the two texts in parallel columns, with the Old English version highlighted by its position on the left side of each page and by the use of a larger font and a wider column than those for the Latin (see Figure 8.1). The printing of the Old English represented

1

2

3

Abraham Wheelock (ed.), Historiæ ecclesiasticæ gentis Anglorum libri V. a venerabili Beda presbytero scripti … quibus in calce operis Saxonicam chronologiam … contexuimus (Cambridge, 1643; hereafter Wheelock, HE). A second edition appeared in 1644, to which Wheelock added an edition of Anglo-Saxon and early Anglo-Norman laws largely consisting of a corrected reissue of William Lambarde’s Archaionomia, sive de priscis Anglorum legibus libri of 1568, but incorporating some additional materials. As noted by David McKitterick, A History of Cambridge University Press, vol. 1, Printing and the Book Trade in Cambridge 1534–1698 (Cambridge, 1992), p. 187, who calls it ‘a book of unquestionable international distinction’. Wheelock (preface Ad lectorem, sig. B1r) based the attribution to King Alfred upon statements by Ælfric in his homily for the feast day of Pope Gregory the Great and by William of Malmesbury in his De gestis regum Anglorum. For those statements, see Ælfric, Ælfric’s Catholic Homilies: The Second Series, Text, ed. Malcolm Godden, EETS SS, 5 (London, 1979), no. IX, lines 7–8 (p. 72); and William of Malmesbury, Gesta regum Anglorum, eds R. A. B. Mynors, R. M. Thomson, and M. Winterbottom (2 vols, Oxford, 1998–1999), vol. 1, p. 192.



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Figure 8.1: Wheelock’s edition of Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica (1643), p. 225. By kind permission of The Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

a significant development in the history of typography: while the Latin text employed an existing Pica font, the Old English was printed in a Great Primer that incorporated newly designed Anglo-Saxon special sorts created for this specific purpose.4 To Bede’s work Wheelock appended an edition – the editio princeps – of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, based on the version in MS G (London, British Library, MS Cotton Otho B. XI), which Wheelock borrowed from Sir Robert Cotton’s son Thomas and which was subsequently largely destroyed in the Cotton library fire of October 1731. Wheelock’s use of the Cotton manuscript gives his publication additional significance: along with Laurence Nowell’s transcript of MS G made in the early 1560s, it is now our major source of knowledge of the text of this version of the Chronicle. To establish his edition of the Ecclesiastical History, Wheelock utilized three manuscripts of the Old English version of the text and three of the Latin, as well as the printed edition of the Latin published at Cologne 4

On the font used for the Old English and the manuscript models for its special sorts, see Peter J. Lucas, ‘Abraham Wheelock and the Presentation of AngloSaxon: From Manuscript to Print’, in A. N. Doane and Kirsten Wolf (eds), Beatus Vir: Studies in Early English and Norse Manuscripts in Memory of Phillip Pulsiano (Tempe, 2006), pp. 383–439; and Peter J. Lucas, ‘From Politics to Practicalities: Printing Anglo-Saxon in the Context of Seventeenth-Century Politics’, The Library, 7th ser., 4:1 (March 2003), 28–48, at pp. 41–42. As Lucas points out (‘Abraham Wheelock and the Presentation of Anglo-Saxon’, pp. 386–392), the ‘Wheelockian Great Primer’ incorporates thirty specially created sorts (for eth, thorn, wynn, as well as several other Anglo-Saxon letter forms, capital letters, abbreviations, and marks of punctuation) into Ameet Tavernier’s existing Great Primer font. The ‘Wheelockian Great Primer’ has letters that measure 2.8mm high, while the letters of the Pica font used for Bede’s Latin text have a height of 2.0mm (these measurements are for letters that have no ascender or descender); the column is 68–72mm wide for the Old English text, 52–58mm wide for the Latin. I am most grateful to Dr Anne McLaughlin of the Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, for taking these measurements for me.

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in 1601.5 He based the Old English text principally upon Cambridge University Library, MS Kk. 3. 18, made at Worcester in the second half of the eleventh century, to which he had easy access in his capacity as librarian to Cambridge University, a position he had held since 1629. He collated this manuscript with the copy of the Old English Bede that preceded the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in MS Cotton Otho B. XI and with Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 41, which he was at first obliged to read in the college itself but later was apparently able to borrow.6 While Wheelock’s editorial methods were in some respects primitive, his recording in the margins of his edition of some of the variant readings found in the manuscripts made his publication one of the first attempts at a sustained critical edition of a major Old English text.7 A further noteworthy feature of his edition is that it includes a substantial body of discursive notes that Wheelock added at the end of many of the individual chapters of Bede’s narrative, and in which he quoted passages from a large number of Old English texts – mainly homilies by Ælfric – in order to supplement and expand upon points made by Bede. It is those notes, hitherto little discussed in scholarship on Wheelock’s work, that are the major focus of the current study.8 A detailed analysis of the notes will demonstrate that Wheelock’s fundamental goal in publishing his edition was to heal the religious divisions of his time while presenting a sustained historical

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His three manuscripts for the Latin version were Cambridge, Trinity College (hereafter TCC), MS R. 5. 22; Cambridge, Sidney Sussex College, MS 102 (formerly Δ. 5. 17), which he borrowed from the college’s master, Samuel Ward; and London, British Library (hereafter BL), MS Cotton Tiberius C. II, borrowed from Sir Thomas Cotton. See J. C. T. Oates, Cambridge University Library: A History, vol. 1, From the Beginnings to the Copyright Act of Queen Anne (Cambridge, 1986), p. 206. Wheelock mentions his use of the Cologne edition of the Historia ecclesiastica in a note that he entered at the front of Cambridge University Library (hereafter CUL) MS Kk. 3. 18, where he records his collation of the Old English text against the printed edition of the Latin; he also made cross-references to the Cologne edition in the margins throughout MS Kk. 3. 18. In a letter of 2 February 1640 to Sir Simonds D’Ewes (BL MS Harley 374, fol. 131v), Wheelock complains, ‘As for Beda in Sax. & the comparinge of it with other Manuscriptes … it is a worke with me of halfe a yeares time, at the least: I must be faine to sitt in Ben. Coll. [i.e., Corpus Christi College] there to vse theire Sax. copie: for lend it out they may not. Its impossible for me to remove these obstacles. I must goe on, as poore; & weake as I am, gradu testitudineo’ (‘at a tortoise’s pace’). There is evidence that at a later point Wheelock was permitted to borrow Cambridge, Corpus Christi College (hereafter CCCC), MS 41 and other manuscripts in the college’s library: see Timothy Graham, ‘Abraham Wheelock’s Use of CCCC MS 41 (Old English Bede) and the Borrowing of Manuscripts from the Library of Corpus Christi College’, Cambridge Bibliographical Society Newsletter (Summer 1997), 10–16. The first to publish such an edition was John Spelman, in his Psalterium Davidis Latino-Saxonicum vetus (London, 1640). A handful of the notes are discussed in Michael Murphy, ‘Abraham Wheloc’s Edition of Bede’s History in Old English’, Studia Neophilologica, 39:1 (1967), 46–59, at pp. 52–59.



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justification of the teachings of the established Anglican church of which he was himself an ordained priest.

The Bede Edition in Wheelock’s Correspondence The publication of Bede’s great work was the principal accomplishment of Wheelock’s tenure of the lectureship in ‘British and Saxon Ecclesiastical and Political Antiquities’ (‘Antiquitates Britannicæ et Saxonicæ, cum ecclesiasticæ tum politicæ’) that was created for him through the patronage of the antiquary Sir Henry Spelman in an extended process beginning in 1637.9 The lectureship was the first position dedicated to the study of British and Anglo-Saxon history, and the Old English language, established at any university, and one that Wheelock combined with his continued service as university librarian as well as with the lectureship in Arabic studies to which he had been appointed in 1632, under the patronage of Sir Thomas Adams. Wheelock seems to have first come into contact with Spelman in the late spring or early summer of 1637, when Spelman visited Cambridge in search of materials that he might include in his landmark history of pre-Conquest English ecclesiastical councils, Concilia, decreta, leges, constitutiones, in re ecclesiarum orbis Britannici, published in 1639.10 The two agreed that from this point on, Wheelock would apply himself to the study of Old English and would provide Spelman with transcripts of materials in Cambridge libraries that would benefit his work. Wheelock initially struggled to master the language; in a letter to Spelman of 4 October 1637 he refers to his study of a set of Old English canons and laments that ‘I am ignorant of many phrases.’11 The first mention of the plan to create a lectureship comes in a letter that Spelman wrote to Wheelock on 22 December 1637,12 though Spelman’s 9

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On the prolonged process of creating the lectureship, see Oates, Cambridge University Library, pp. 185–188. Wheelock refers to the visit, but without assigning it a date, in the preface Ad lectorem of his Bede edition, sig. B1v. In a letter to Wheelock of 20 June 1637 – the earliest in their surviving correspondence – Spelman writes, ‘Good Mr Wheelock I accoumpt my selfe very happy in your acquaintance and doe giue you many thankes for presentinge the benefit therof vnto me’ (CUL MS Dd. 3. 12, art. II.1); the implication is that the acquaintance has been but recently formed. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Tanner 70, fol. 174r. He was still experiencing some difficulties two and a half years later. In a letter to Sir Simonds D’Ewes of 30 March 1640, he remarks that the lack of a dictionary is complicating his efforts to understand what was in the mind of Bede’s translator, who he believed to be King Alfred: ‘nonnulla me torquent in Regia mente explicanda, vtpote Lexico carentem’ (BL MS Harley 374, fol. 143r). CUL MS Dd. 3. 12, art. II.7, where Spelman mentions ‘my further purpose about the setlinge and provision for the Saxon lecteur…. I haue not yet acquainted either you or any man besides my sonne (whoe muste be a principall verbe

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negotiations with the university on the financial arrangements to support it on a permanent basis were still incomplete at the time of his death in October 1641.13 He was, however, able to fund Wheelock’s tenure of the lectureship by endowing him with an ecclesiastical benefice that fell within his gift. Wheelock had been an ordained priest of the Church of England since 1622 (and was the vicar of the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Cambridge from that year). In November 1638, Spelman presented him with the vicarage of the parish church at Middleton in Norfolk, about forty-five miles north-east of Cambridge. Spelman commented at the time that the vicarage would provide an income of about £50 a year.14 Naturally, it was envisioned that the lectureship would include teaching. An ‘Order Concerning ye Saxon Lecture’ drawn up by the university mentions that public lectures lasting ‘one whole Houre and noe more’ were to be delivered every four weeks during term time, while in and out of term, the lecturer was to provide free access to students coming to his chamber for instruction in the elements and grammar of the Old English language.15 That Wheelock actually did deliver lectures is attested by a letter of 19 July 1640 in which he tells Spelman that ‘I did read … noe lesse then .17. lectures in publick the last terme.’16 Wheelock was also expected to conduct research and publish materials that he found in the university’s library and the libraries of the colleges.17 Wheelock’s correspondence offers some documentation of the conception and progress of his plan to publish a dual-language edition of Bede.

13 14

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in the construction) with my course entended, but at our next meetinge you shall (God willinge) know my mynde.’ Oates, Cambridge University Library, p. 186, assigns the letter, dated merely ‘Dec. 22’, to 1637, though Lucas, ‘Abraham Wheelock and the Presentation of Anglo-Saxon’, p. 434, suggests it should be dated to 1638. Spelman’s son was the scholar Sir John Spelman, whose Latin and Old English edition of the Book of Psalms appeared in 1640. Oates, Cambridge University Library, p. 187. CUL MS Dd. 3. 12, art. II.17. Wheelock’s letter to Spelman of 13 November 1638 indicates that he has just been presented to the living at Middleton: writing from Norwich, Wheelock thanks Spelman for ‘the most notable & incorrupt discharge of this worke of præsenting me to Middleton’ and adds, ‘the oath I tooke comfortablie’ (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Tanner 67, fol. 43r). See Oates, Cambridge University Library, p. 188; and Michael Murphy and Edward Barrett, ‘Abraham Wheelock, Arabist and Saxonist’, Biography, 8:2 (Spring 1985), 163–185, at p. 183 n. 36. BL MS Additional 34601, fol. 20v. The total of seventeen lectures may include lectures for the Arabic as well as the Anglo-Saxon lectureship. Wheelock comments within the letter that ‘one lecture in these [British and Saxon] Antiquities requires more time, then 20. in a Grammatical, & a critical lecture, where for language, & matter I am alwaies in some sort prouided.’ As Wheelock notes in the preface of his Bede edition, sig. B2r: ‘mihi minerval annuum … in literas hasce, sive publice legendo, sive codices MSS. in lucem edendo, promovendas designavit’ (‘he [Spelman] assigned me an annual stipend for the advancement of this [Anglo-Saxon] literature, either by public lecturing or by the publication of manuscripts’).



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By the middle of 1638 he was already studying both the Latin and Old English versions of the Ecclesiastical History and noting how the account of the early English church to be found therein, as well as in other sources, seemed to establish the orthodoxy of the current Anglican church by demonstrating its conformity with the apostolic beliefs and practices of the ancient Anglo-Saxon church. As he wrote to Spelman on 13 June 1638: I am now reading of Bede with King Alured his translation which I see will correct many thinges, which time hath corrupted in the Latin copie, which we may reduce to the ould Latin, but the main business which possesseth my thoughtes, is, the discouery (out of Bede, & others, especiallie in Manuscripts) of the Apostolicall doctrine, by comparing our præsent church with the auncient church here in England.18

At this point Wheelock’s goal seems to have been limited to providing Spelman with materials for the Concilia: he continues the letter by adding, ‘which work will most properlie suite with your Reader [i.e., a reader of the Concilia], because he is to be a searcher of truthes out of the fountaines themselves.’ Within the following year or so, Wheelock had come to the decision to undertake an edition of Bede. In an undated letter that is perhaps attributable to sometime during 1639, Wheelock mentioned to Spelman that ‘I would willinglie now put forth K. Alured, & Bede his historie together…. I would moreouer request most humblie some aduise from your worship how I may vent the bookes, in case I proceede.’19 By the end of 1639, he had already identified the manuscripts he would use for the Latin and Old English texts of Bede and was able to comment on the potential importance of the publication: on 27 December he informed Spelman, ‘I am at leasure fitting Bede his historie (by the help of six auncient MS. three in Lat. & three in Sax.) for the presse … a work fit to be reviewed: since it lays out the first plantation, & progresse our [sic, for ‘of’] the Saxon church.’20 Some months before that, the project was already sufficiently well known beyond Wheelock’s immediate circle that the antiquary Sir Simonds D’Ewes was advising Wheelock on the need to include in the publication a marginal apparatus recording variant readings of the manuscripts, and to incorporate some supplementary materials. On 26 August, D’Ewes wrote:

18 19

20

BL MS Additional 25384, art. 8. BL MS Additional 34601, fol. 39r. A British Museum cataloguer has added ‘1640?’ at the top of the letter, but the relative tentativeness of Wheelock’s mention of the Bede project suggests that it must pre-date Wheelock’s letter to Spelman of 27 December 1639. ‘Alured’ was the form of King Alfred’s name typically used by Wheelock, and ‘K. Alured’ here refers to the Old English version of Bede. BL MS Additional 34600, fol. 195rv.

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Kind Mr Whylocke, your printing of Bede alone without some other additions will hardlie bee vndertaken. I wish you had aduized with mee before it had been begunne. Besides it must bee compared with some other Saxon copies & the various readinges added in the margent.21

Work on the creation of the special sorts required for printing the Old English text of Bede was evidently already under way by the spring of 1640, when Wheelock wrote to D’Ewes that his printer, Roger Daniel, was overseeing their production in London.22 Just over a year later, this work was still in progress, with Spelman providing guidance to the punch-cutter (‘grauener’): on 29 April 1641 Wheelock wrote to Spelman, ‘I vnderstand by Mr Daniel, what paines your worship hath taken about the Saxon types, in instructing the grauener, for which I am much bound to giue your worship thankes.’23 Enough types had been cast by the late autumn of 1641 for their use in the printing of two ‘Old English’ verse compositions – one by Wheelock, the other by his pupil William Retchford – that appeared in a volume issued by the University of Cambridge, and printed by Daniel, to celebrate Charles I’s safe return from Scotland in November.24 Ten months later, in September 1642, Wheelock was able to send D’Ewes the first portion of the Bede edition, apologizing for its late delivery.25 While he was laboring at his edition, Wheelock was coming to the realization that not only Bede, but other ancient texts too, contained material that, in his opinion, would convince followers of the Roman church of the historical justification for Anglican beliefs and practices. On 26 January 1640, he communicated to D’Ewes his wish that scholars might be set to work on unearthing such materials: 21 22

23

24

25

CUL MS Dd. 3. 12, art. V.10. BL MS Harley 374, fol. 143r. Wheelock writes of Daniel: ‘ille iam nauiter adlaborat monumentis Saxonicis imprimendis. Characteres iam Londini, et politi, vt spero, aut ornantur, aut in ornatu sunt’ (‘he is now busily at work on printing Saxon records. Well-furbished types, as I hope, are either now being worked on in London, or are already provided’). BL MS Additional 34601, fol. 46r. The punch-cutter, working from designs for the individual letter forms, created the punches used to imprint the matrices from which the type was cast. Peter Lucas identifies the punch-cutter of the special sorts of the Wheelockian Great Primer as Arthur Nicholls of London; see Lucas, ‘Abraham Wheelock and the Presentation of Anglo-Saxon’, pp. 389–390. Irenodia Cantabrigiensis: ob paciferum serenissimi regis Caroli è Scottia reditum mense Novembri 1641 (Cambridge, 1641). The two poems appear on sigs A4r and G4r. BL MS Harley 374, fol. 209r (23 September 1642): ‘quod prima hæc, quam in lucem dedimus, ven. Bedæ portio, ad manus tuas non pervenerit citius, id, obsecro, Domino Danieli, populari vestro, nostroque typographo, vitio vertatis’ (‘Most noble lord, that this first portion of the venerable Bede, which we have brought into the light, did not come into your hands sooner, I beseech you to attribute to the fault of Master Daniel, your fellow-countryman and our printer’).



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I could wish that our learned gentrie (if peace continue) would imploy some scholers to be vnder them, (& my selfe though most vnworthy of that honour, would willinglie be one) to compile a body of our Diuinity I say of our doctrine out of the Saxon, & Brittish writers: & to præsent the papists with these, as a rule to leade them by if they would be constant to the best antiquities.26

It was above all the homilies of the Anglo-Saxon church that provided a battery of compelling evidence, as Wheelock noted in a letter to Spelman of 28 April 1640. He tells his patron that he has been working his way through the homilies and finding that the teaching they embody, while including some dubious elements such as an apparent belief in Purgatory, contained material so closely matching Anglican belief that it should convert even a committed Romanist to Anglicanism. He also expresses his surprise that Matthew Parker, or one of his successors in the archbishopric of Canterbury, did not exploit this material: I haue reade & diligentlie compared al the publicke sermons with the present doctrine of this age; & finde that followinge the rule of sobrietie, & charitie a rigid papist may be won to the church of England or els he must denie the ould church of Rome: some thinges de purgatorio quondam, non hodierno, must be borne with, as infirmities of the primitiue church it selfe; or next after: if all in the church were well, what neede we physitions? … yet we wyl beare with weake papists, & hope to win them to the studie of holy scripture; & to enquire after the ould way of Antiquitie: I wonder that Mathew Parker; nor yet any in that seate since him thought of this light, & way of teachinge our auncient faith.27

So impressed was Wheelock by the doctrine that he found in the homilies that he even thought of publishing an edition of them. On 1 December 1640, he wrote to D’Ewes that ‘I am hurrying to bring Ælfric’s sermons into the light for the sake of the Anglican church.’28 He alluded again to his efforts to publish the sermons in his letter to D’Ewes of 23 September 1642.29 In the meantime, he had come upon the copy of the Latin and Old English versions of the Rule of Chrodegang of Metz in CCCC MS 191, a text that he assumed to have originated in England and that a note in Parker’s hand at 26 27

28

29

BL MS Harley 374, fol. 129r. BL MS Additional 34601, fol. 8r. Wheelock was, of course, aware of Parker’s publication, in A Testimonie of Antiquitie, of Ælfric’s Second Series homily for Easter Day, with excerpts from other texts. His point is that Parker could have exploited the homiletic materials to a much greater degree. BL MS Harley 374, fol. 162r: ‘Festino … vt in lucem prodeant Ælfrici sermones pro Ecclesia Anglicana.’ BL MS Harley 374, fol. 209r: ‘adspiramus, cum deo, ad maiora; dum conciones ipsas veteris Romano-Anglicanæ … ecclesiæ, toti mundi videndas, et imprimendas pro viribus adlaborem’ (‘we aspire, with God, to greater things, while I am toiling, according to my capacities, to the end that the very sermons of the Romano-Anglican church may be seen by the whole world, and printed’).

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the beginning of the manuscript attributed to Theodore, seventh-century archbishop of Canterbury. This text, too, he thought worthy of publication because of what it revealed about the practices of the Anglo-Saxon church. In a letter to Spelman of 29 April 1641, he informed his patron of his desire to have it printed at the same time as the Bede: Here are in Bennet Coll: a large parcel of Saxon Canons. num. (I thinke) 268. Its thought they are Arch-Bp. Theodors: yet promoting prayinge to the Virgin Marie make me suspect them not to be his: many excellent instructions are there, which alsoe set out the face of the church in the auncient Monasteries. Beside King Alured with Bede, I haue a desire to dedicate these canons to your worship. I would haue them printed when Bede is printed, least afterward, Mr. Daniel be diuerted from printinge Saxon.30

In the end, Wheelock succeeded in publishing neither the full text of Chrodegang’s Rule nor a complete edition of Ælfric’s homilies. But these were among the texts that he drew upon most productively for the notes to his Bede edition.

Wheelock’s Goals and Methods Spelman’s death on 1 October 1641 brought their correspondence to an end, and also explains why Wheelock’s edition contains no dedicatory epistle to him. The motivation underlying the edition is implicit in the dedication ‘To the Triune God, the Anglican Church, and Cambridge University’ (‘Deo triuni, ecclesiæ Anglicanæ, academiæ Cantabrigiensi’) that appears on the page facing the volume’s title page. Wheelock then clarifies his purpose, and discusses the materials contained within the book, in the prefatory matter, which includes an epistle dedicatory to the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, and other dignitaries of Cambridge University (whose favor had facilitated his appointment to the AngloSaxon lectureship), an epistle dedicatory to Sir Thomas Adams, his patron for the Arabic lectureship he had held since 1632, and a preface addressed Ad lectorem (‘To the Reader’). Statements that Wheelock makes within the prefatory matter emphatically establish his goals in publishing his edition 30

BL MS Additional 34601, fol. 46rv. Bennet (or Benet) College was a name often used for Corpus Christi College in the early modern period, reflecting the dedication to St Benedict of the nearby church that served as the college’s chapel; ‘num. … 268’ is a reference to the number assigned CCCC MS 191 in Thomas James’s catalogue of manuscripts in the libraries of Oxford and Cambridge, Ecloga Oxonio-Cantabrigiensis, tributa in libros duos (London, 1600). With publication of the text in mind, Wheelock had a complete transcript of the Old English and Latin versions of the Rule prepared by his student, William Retchford; it survives as BL MS Harley 440. See Peter J. Lucas, ‘William Retchford, Pupil of Abraham Wheelock: “He understands the Saxon as well as myself”’, Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, 12:4 (2003), 335–361, at pp. 336–340 and 346–347.



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and incorporating into it an extensive array of Old English texts drawn from numerous sources. He affirms that the material he is publishing will serve the cause of catholic truth and unity – using the word ‘catholic’ repeatedly, in its original meaning of ‘universal’ – and should serve to persuade Roman Catholics of the rectitude of the Anglican church’s doctrinal positions; his researches have convinced him of the orthodoxy of the Anglo-Saxon church and the conformity of the current Anglican church with its Anglo-Saxon forebear. In the epistle dedicatory to Adams, Wheelock describes the potential of the materials he has discovered to reunite all but the most belligerent members of the Christian church: I have consumed a large part of the past seven years in investigating the memorials of our Saxons, and in acquiring their ancient language, the teacher of catholic truth and peace; so that I would not come short of the plan of the late most noble Sir Henry Spelman, the restorer of the antiquities of our people, my most honored counselor in those studies. Let men of letters, who know how to separate the catholic faith from dogmatic, skeptical, and political speculations, confess if the inmost alcoves of the universities and of celebrated men do not teach such things – wherein all catholics, except those who have ever busied themselves to appease the goddess of war, might repose together, being of one mind.31

He drives this point home in his address to the reader, noting how he would not have responded to Spelman’s request to immerse himself in Anglo-Saxon sources if he had not been convinced that his work could help to heal religious and political divisions. Acknowledging that some narratives that are impossible to credit may crop up in the ancient sources – here, he surely has in mind some of Bede’s miracle stories – he opines that the discriminating reader will recognize how to separate these from the purity of the teaching to be found in the sources: The advice and favors of the noble champion Sir H. Spelman would have stirred me in vain if the urgent need for Saxon studies had not already thoroughly roused me, along with their no little usefulness and pleasantness

31

Wheelock, HE, sig. A4rv: ‘Magnam septennii quod effluxit partem consumpsi Saxonum nostrorum inquirendo monumenta; eorumque vetus idioma veritatis et pacis Catholicæ magistram perquirendo; ne nobilissimi viri, et in his studiis monitoris mei honoratissimi, του μακαρίτου D. Henrici Spelmanni antiquitatum nostræ Gentis instauratoris eximii, consilio defuissem. Fateantur literati, qui fidem Catholicam a dogmaticis, scepticis, & politicis speculationibus distinguere noverint, annon talia doceant Academiarum, & illustrium virorum penetralia; in quibus omnes Catholici, nisi qui bellonæ ætatem litare studuerint, unanimes conquiescerent.’ I quote this and other passages from the prefatory matter at some length as they are crucial for understanding Wheelock’s purpose and have remained largely undiscussed in previous scholarship on Wheelock. Given the number of Latin passages quoted throughout this essay, and the relative intricacy of Wheelock’s Latin constructions, for ease of reading I have placed translations in the main text, with the original language in footnotes.

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for the catholic faith in regard to politics and the divided church. If their fast, immutable evidence, which is subject to no instability of the times, would be urged by those who address murky issues (not to mention the fabrications of private individuals), new wounds would no longer break out; rather, the members of the same body of Christ, now divided by argument, would then come together by demonstrating the catholic doctrine always and everywhere granted to Christians. Brother Christians who now wrangle over religion to the ruin of faith and charity would then – brought up from the very cradle with mother church, namely the ancient Anglican church, leading the way – return to mutual zeal. For with a natural and maternal yoke, the ancient Anglican church presses, urges, and commands the same faith in Christ and the same need for motherly charity upon all Britons – her sons indeed, and brothers to one another. I acknowledge that marvelous tales that are not believable crop up in our ancient texts. What are these to the catholic faith? The careful reader will not hesitate to separate from the apostolic teaching any dubious matters, uncertain dogmas, and other points (which for lack of appropriate terminology should be called technicalities) that proceed from pious deceit on the part of the teacher and the credulity of the learner, and other things of this kind, which the stamp of the catholic faith does not admit.32

It is in the first of the two epistles dedicatory that Wheelock makes his initial allusion to the notes that he has added to Bede’s text and into which he has incorporated additional illustrative materials. He stresses that these materials will defend the Anglican church from accusations of introducing novel teachings; and in any places where readers may come upon dubious doctrine, they should pay no attention to it, recalling the Council of Trent’s pronouncement concerning speculations about the location of Purgatory: I would hardly dare to defend with particular tenacity the notes that we have interwoven throughout the work. Yet should not you university men 32

Ibid., sig. B2r: ‘Frustra me aut consilia, aut munera nobilis Herois D. H. Spelm. movissent, si non permovisset antea Saxonismi necessitas; ejusque haud paucæ & in Repub. & in divisa Ecclesia utilitates, atque jucunditates, fidei Catholicæ; fixæ, immutabiles nulli temporum iniquitati obnoxiæ demonstrationes; quas si in rebus turbidis, (missis privatorum hominum commentis), premerent oratores, novæ cicatrices non adeo recrudescerent; quin potius membra ejusdem corporis Christi nunc disceptando divisa, tunc quidem, Catholicam doctrinam Christianis omnibus ubique gentium semper concessam demonstrando, coalescerent: fratres Christiani de religione nunc in perniciem fidei & charitatis altercantes, tunc eadem matre Ecclesia præeunte, veteri sc. Anglicana, usque ab incunabulis instituti, in mutuum studium redirent. Vetus enim Ecclesia Anglicana eandem Christi fidem; eandem maternæ charitatis necessitudinem Britannis universis naturali & materno jugo, suis quidem filiis, invicem fratribus, premit, urget, imperat. Occurrunt, fateor, veteribus legendis nostris incredibilia historiarum portenta. Quid hæc ad fidem Catholicam? prudens Lector non dubitabit sceptica quævis, dogmatica incerta, & alia (quę ob inopiam sermonis Technica dixeris,) ad piam docentis fraudem, discentisque credulitatem spectantia, & similia id genus, quæ forma Catholicæ fidei non admittit, a doctrina Apostolica discriminare.’



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cherish with the greatest judiciousness those things that have been culled from the testimony of the ancient Romano-Saxon church and that have come to the defense of catholic doctrine? They will present to you the antiquity that washes away the charge of novelty; they will present truth, the expeller of heresy, if accusers will be consistent with themselves; they will present concord in that they liberally show our communion with ancient mother church. The memorials of our forebears should be read; but the catholic faith should be dissociated from those foolish private fancies of a few that readers will encounter, and from the perverse dogmas of a very few (when compared with the whole world). The Tridentines themselves say, ‘Bishops are not to permit uncertain matters’ of this kind ‘to be spread abroad and discussed, or those things that labor under the stamp of falsehood; and those matters that have regard to some curiosity or superstition, or that smack of filthy lucre, they are to forbid as scandals and stumbling-blocks for the faithful’. If this resolution had held sway throughout the entire succession of their ecclesiastical teaching, the catholic faith would have shone again in every place, and catholic peace, the companion of the faith, would have flourished again far and wide.33

He expands upon this in the preface to the reader. Observing that Bede’s work requires historical contextualization, he notes that, where appropriate, the reader can find such contextualization in the monumental account of the early church in Britain, Britannicarum ecclesiarum antiquitates, published by James Ussher, archbishop of Armagh, just four years beforehand, in 1639; Wheelock will signal when there is relevant material in Ussher by placing a note in the margin. Then he informs the reader that he has himself added excerpts from Anglo-Saxon homilies where he feels that their evidence will help to settle doctrinal issues currently under dispute. Indeed, manuscripts in the libraries of the two universities as well as in the cathedral libraries and the collections of some private individuals have the potential to contribute much to the resolution of religious controversy:

33

Ibid., sig. A3r: ‘Annotationes quas operi passim intexuimus, haud ausim usque adeo pertinaciter defendere; verum quæ ex antiquæ Romano-Saxonicæ Ecclesiæ testimonio deprompta, doctrinam Catholicam, propugnaverint, annon a vobis summo delectu (Academici) fovenda sunt? vobis præstabunt antiquitatem quæ crimen novitatis eluet: præstabunt veritatem, si accusatores sibi constare velint, hæresis expultricem: præstabunt consensum, quæ nostram cum grandæva matre Ecclesia communionem prolixe monstrant. Legenda sunt quidem majorum monumenta; secernenda tamen est fides Catholica, a privatis paucorum ineptis somniis quæ legentibus occurrunt; et perpaucorum, si cum toto mundo conferantur, perversa dogmata. Hujusmodi incerta (inquiunt ipsi Tridentini) vel quæ specie falsi laborant, evulgari, & tractari non permittant Episcopi, ea vero quæ ad curiositatem quandam, aut superstitionem spectant, vel turpe lucrum sapiunt, tanquam scandala, & fidelium offendicula prohibeant. Si hoc per totam doctrinæ ipsorum Ecclesiasticæ seriem obtinuisset consilium; & fides ubique loci refulsisset Catholica; & pax Catholica comes veræ fidei, longe lateque refloruisset.’ Wheelock here quotes from the decree on Purgatory issued by the twenty-fifth session of the Council of Trent (3–4 December 1563).

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A historical work calls for historical analyses. If you have it at hand, seek these in the Britannicarum ecclesiarum primordia of the most reverend archbishop of Armagh (to strive to add anything to which would be like writing the Iliad after Homer): RR. Armach. noted in the margin of the book will indicate this. For my own part, where points of doctrine crop up that are disputed today, I have supplemented the Saxon ecclesiastical work with discussions of doctrine – Saxon ones, assuredly, and above all ecclesiastical ones, excerpted from the very sermons of the church to the people. Nor will these be displeasing to the learned, even though the examples that I have given do not comprise the full span of the homilies. Hitherto I have presented a few items, as difficult circumstances have permitted – items that both truth and catholic peace seem to demand…. I gladly proclaim immortal thanks to God who, with the support of men of the university, granted my unworthy self the custody of the Cambridge public library [i.e., the university library]. Its archives, unless I am mistaken, like those of Oxford, when supplemented somewhat by the sanctuaries of the cathedrals and the archives of noble men, would lay to rest without any din the more serious controversies that have beset the church.34

In a final comment near the end of the preface, Wheelock reiterates how the homilies of the Anglo-Saxon church can provide those of the Roman persuasion with convincing justification for Anglican doctrine. He then goes on to identify the three manuscripts that have provided most of the material he incorporates into his notes, while commenting that he has also drawn from additional sources that he will identify in their place: Whenever the Saxon Homilies, that is, the Catholic Sermons primarily for the ancient Anglican church, have defended our doctrine, they are in no way to be rejected by the Romanists, if they would be constant to their affirmation that the Roman Catholic church, which indeed established our own, could not have erred in the fundamentals of the faith. Yet we do not defend all the dogmas, delusions, and contrivances of the ancients. You are to understand that ‘Catholic Homilies’ and the other Saxon Homilies, namely ‘Hom. 34’ and ‘Hom. 51’, signify three separate manuscripts, which you should consult in the archives of the public library of

34

Ibid., sig. B1rv: ‘Historicum opus, commentationes historicas desiderat: has, si Reverendissimi Armachani Britannicarum Ecclesiarum primordia (quibus quid addere conari, esset Iliadas post Homerum scribere) ad manum habeas, ex illis pete: horum indicium erit RR. Armach. oræ libri appositum. Ego quidem operi Saxonico, Ecclesiastico, ubi doctrinæ hodie disputatæ occurrunt, commentationes adjeci doctrinarum; Saxonicas nempe, & vel maxime Ecclesiasticas: ex ipsis Ecclesiæ sermonibus ad populum depromptas: nec displicebunt doctis; licet specimina quæ dedi, totum homiliarum opus non complectantur: Pauca hactenus exhibui, & quæ in his angustiis rerum potueram; quæque & veritas, & pax Catholica flagitare videantur…. Deo immortales gratias lubens profiteor qui bibliothecæ Cantabrigiensis publicæ custodiam Academicorum virorum suffragiis mihi immerenti concessit. Cujus archiva, ni fallor, ut & Oxonii, si cum sacris illis Ecclesiarum cathedralium penetralibus, & nobilium virorum archivis, parum adjutentur, controversias graviores quæ Ecclesiam vexarunt, absque strepitu dirimerent.’



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Cambridge. The rest, both what, and where they are, I have indicated in their respective places.35

All three manuscripts that Wheelock here mentions are identifiable. ‘Serm. Cath.’ abbreviates ‘Sermones Catholici’ and refers to Cambridge University Library, MS Gg. 3. 28. Produced perhaps at Cerne and later belonging to Durham Cathedral Priory, the manuscript dates from the late tenth or early eleventh century and is the only manuscript that contains a complete set of both the First and Second Series of Ælfric’s Catholic Homilies.36 Wheelock’s designation of the manuscript as ‘Serm. Cath.’ derives from the rubricated title entered at the top of fol. 3r: ‘Incipit liber catholicorum sermonum anglicæ [sic, for ‘anglice’] in æcclesia per annum recitandi.’37 In his notes, Wheelock makes much of the fact that these homilies were ecclesiastically sanctioned, intended for public delivery, and the work of an author, Ælfric, recognized in his time as being of impeccable orthodoxy. ‘Hom. 34’ and ‘Hom. 51’ designate two other manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library, their identifications being based on Wheelock’s count of the number of items within each manuscript. The first is MS Ii. 4. 6, made in the mid-eleventh century and attributed to the New Minster, Winchester, though it came into the possession of Tavistock Abbey; it contains numerous items from the two series of Ælfric’s Catholic Homilies along with a few texts from Ælfric’s Lives of Saints and other homiletic material.38 The second is MS Ii. 1. 33, a manuscript of the second half of the twelfth century that has been variously linked with Ely and south-eastern England (Rochester or Canterbury); its contents mainly comprise items from Ælfric’s First and Second Series and Lives of Saints along with his Old English translation of chapters 1–24 of Genesis.39 These 35

36

37

38

39

Ibid., sig. B2v: ‘Saxonicæ Homiliæ viz. Sermones Catholici pro Ecclesia veteri Anglicana inprimis, quandocunque doctrinam nostram propugnaverint, nullo modo a Romanensibus rejiciantur; si constanter affirmaverint, Ecclesiam Romano-Catholicam, (quæ nostram particularem ita instituit) in fundamentis fidei errare non potuisse: Nos vero cuncta veterum dogmata, offucias, & τεχνύδρια non defendimus. Serm. Cath. & Homilias Sax. reliquas, viz. Hom. 34. & Hom. 51. tres codices distinctos esse intelligas; quos in archivis Biblioth. Publ. Cantabrig. consulere oportet. Cæteros, & qui, atque ubi sint, suis locis designavi.’ See N. R. Ker, Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford, 1957), no. 15; and Helmut Gneuss and Michael Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A Bibliographical Handlist of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100 (Toronto, 2014), no. 11. The rubricated title is faded and blurred, but legible. Wheelock has entered a transcription of it in the outer margin of the page. See Ker, Catalogue, no. 21; and Gneuss and Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, no. 18. Ker, Catalogue, no. 18, who says nothing about origin or medieval provenance. For the attributions, see William Schipper, ‘A Composite Old English Homiliary from Ely: Cambridge University Library MS Ii. 1. 33’, Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, 8:3 (1985), 285–298 (Ely); and Elaine

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three manuscripts, supplemented by the others upon which he drew, played a key role in enabling Wheelock to lay out fundamental aspects of the teaching of the Anglo-Saxon church in his notes to Bede’s text.

The Content of Wheelock’s Notes The text of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History comprises a total of 140 chapters.40 Wheelock adds sets of notes at the end of fifty-three chapters, or close to two-fifths of the whole, with each set headed by the title ‘NOTÆ’ (see Figure 8.2). He occasionally combines notes on more than one chapter into a single set; for example, he follows chapter 6 of Book II with notes on chapters 4–6, while Book III, chapter 27 is followed by notes for chapters 26 and 27. The total number of notes in a set varies between one and six. A set of notes may occupy less than a page or may extend over several pages; the longest set (for Book V, chapter 22 [21])41 – in which Wheelock quotes the entire text of Ælfric’s Sermo de sacrificio in die Paschæ – spans twenty pages. Each note relates to a word, phrase, or passage within Bede’s text. Each note has a letter of the alphabet placed before it (a for the first note to a chapter, b for the second, etc.) followed by a quotation of the words of Bede’s text to which the note relates, and the same letter of the alphabet is placed in superscript within the chapter itself, at the point where the words commented upon occur. Within the body of the notes, while he occasionally cites and briefly discusses some Early Christian texts such as the fourth-century Apostolic Canons, and such modern works as Cardinal Bellarmine’s De Romano pontifice and Calvin’s Institutes, Wheelock’s major purpose is to quote passages of Old English texts that in one way or another serve to supplement and expand upon what Bede writes in the chapter.42 He succeeded in bringing before the public a compendium of

40

41

42

M. Treharne, ‘The Dates and Origins of Three Twelfth-Century Old English Manuscripts’, in Phillip Pulsiano and Elaine M. Treharne (eds), Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts and Their Heritage (Aldershot, 1998), pp. 227–253, at pp. 240–244 (south-eastern England). Thirty-four chapters in Book I, twenty chapters in Book II, thirty chapters in Book III, thirty-two chapters in Book IV, twenty-four chapters in Book V. Within Book V, Wheelock’s chapters 8 and 9 are combined into a single chapter (numbered 8) in most modern editions; Wheelock’s edition ends chapter 8 with Archbishop Theodore’s epitaph, with chapter 9 providing Bede’s brief summary of the archiepiscopate of Theodore’s successor, Berhtwald. At the end of Book V, Wheelock does not assign a chapter number to Bede’s chronological summary of the whole work, but treats it as a separate text. In references to chapters of Book V after chapter 8, the first number cited is the one used by Wheelock, the second number the one used in modern editions and translations of the Ecclesiastical History. See the previous note. I have compiled a table that lists all the Old English (and the two Middle English) passages quoted by Wheelock, identifies the texts from which they derive and the manuscripts from which Wheelock took them, provides a refer-



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Figure 8.2: Wheelock’s edition of Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica (1643), p. 220. By kind permission of The Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

vernacular texts far more extensive than anything that had yet appeared in print. Altogether, Wheelock quotes 129 passages of Old English, as well as two in early Middle English. These passages derive from a total of eighty-five different Old English texts and one in Middle English.43 The vast majority of these texts are homiletic, and most are items from the two series of Ælfric’s Catholic Homilies, which Wheelock quotes on seventy-eight occasions, drawing on forty-seven different homilies. But Wheelock also quotes passages from several other sources: further Ælfrician homilies; non-homiletic texts by Ælfric; homilies by Wulfstan; anonymous homilies; the Old English version of the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus; the poetic text known as the Seasons for Fasting; the Old English translation of Alcuin’s De virtutibus et vitiis; the Old English translation of the Capitula of Theodulf of Orléans (a work that Wheelock did not realize had a continental origin); the Old English translation of the enlarged Rule of Chrodegang of Metz (which he also did not realize originated outside of England); the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; the Burghal Hidage; and law codes of

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ence to a modern edition in which the quoted passage can be found, and briefly summarizes the content of each passage. I plan to incorporate this table into a future study in which I will discuss Wheelock’s use of the manuscripts he consulted in the course of his researches. At the beginning of the book, between his preface Ad lectorem and Bede’s own preface, Wheelock also quotes the full text of the Latin Vita of Bede that he found in CCCC MS 318, pp. 356–362.

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Alfred, Æthelstan, and Edmund. In two places, he quotes passages from the Middle English Metrical Chronicle attributed to Robert of Gloucester. He provided all the Old English passages that he quoted with a parallel Latin translation in an adjacent column. While some of his notes aim to do little more than fill out a point made by Bede, his underlying goal was to assemble a body of material that would demonstrate the orthodoxy and purity of the doctrine and practices of the Anglo-Saxon church, its freedom from corruptions that later entered into the church, and its conformity with, and consequent justification of, current Anglican belief and practice. Notably, there is a strong correspondence between the issues that he highlights and those that are covered in the Thirty-Nine Articles, the document first promulgated in 1563 to define the essentials of Anglican belief and to distinguish Anglican doctrine both from aspects of Roman Catholicism and from the tenets of some Protestant sects. As an ordained Anglican priest, Wheelock was obliged to swear an oath to uphold the Articles, the authority of which had been underlined just fifteen years before he published his edition when, in 1628, they were reissued at Charles I’s command, prefixed with a royal injunction to academics and clergy not to place their personal interpretations upon them.44 Wheelock’s commitment to the Articles is confirmed by his correspondence with Spelman, where he observes that, when presented to the vicarage of Middleton in 1638, he took his oath ‘comfortablie’.45 Among the major topics covered in the Articles are the sufficiency of the Scriptures for salvation; the Anglican position on original sin, divine grace, free will, predestination, and their interrelationship; the respective roles of faith and works; the non-existence of Purgatory; the vanity of the cult of relics and the saints; and the status of baptism and the eucharist as the only two sacraments sanctioned by Scripture.46 As discussed below, these are precisely the topics that Wheelock addresses most eloquently in his notes, which reveal his aspirations to be an active agent of Anglicanism seeking, through his scholarship, to reunite a fractured Christendom.

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45 46

Articles Agreed Vpon by the Archbishops and Bishops of Both Prouinces, and the Whole Cleargie: In the Conuocation Holden at London, in the Yeere 1562. For the Auoiding of Diuersities of Opinions, and for the Stablishing of Consent Touching True Religion. Reprinted by His Maiesties Commandment: with His Royall Declaration Prefixed Thereunto (London, 1628). See above, n. 14. These issues are covered in Articles (1628), nos 6, 9–10, 11–12, 22, and 25–28. Two other issues that feature quite prominently in Wheelock’s notes are the relationship between the monarch and the church (covered in Article 37) and Sunday observance. I will discuss Wheelock’s treatment of these two issues in my study – planned as a companion to the present essay – of how he used manuscripts as he prepared his edition.



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‘Sola scriptura’ At the outset of the Reformation, Martin Luther had asserted that Scripture alone (‘sola scriptura’) is the final authority on matters of faith and practice – thereby diminishing the authority of tradition as upheld by the Roman church. The phrase sola scriptura became a rallying cry for Protestant theology, and the Anglican church enshrined this principle in the sixth of the Thirty-Nine Articles (‘Of the sufficiencie of the holy Scriptures for Saluation’): Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to saluation: so that whatsoeuer is not read therein, nor may bee prooued thereby, is not to bee required of any man, that it should bee beleeued as an Article of the faith, or bee thought requisite or necessary to saluation.47

In his notes to Book III, chapter 5 of the Ecclesiastical History, Wheelock had the opportunity to lay out evidence demonstrating that the AngloSaxon church had placed a similar emphasis upon the unique authority of Scripture. The chapter provides an overview of the character and career of Bishop Aidan (d. 651), the Ionan missionary to Northumbria. Bede praises Aidan’s requiring not only fellow monks, but also laypeople, to read the Scriptures and learn the Psalms, then laments the sluggishness that has befallen the church in his own time. Wheelock opens his notes to the chapter by commenting that the Anglo-Saxon church later remedied that sluggishness. He then demonstrates this by assembling a sequence of four Old English passages that emphasize the need to read the Scriptures and underline their special authority.48 He begins by quoting a single sentence from Ælfric’s First Series homily for the first Sunday in Advent in which Ælfric decries drunkenness and exhorts Christians to have wholesome doctrine on their lips and a Psalter in their hands.49 He follows this up with a passage from the Second Series homily for the Assumption in which Ælfric tells his hearers that he will not say more about Mary than is contained in the Scriptures themselves: to do otherwise would be to act like the heretics who have written lies; the faithful should reject heretical writings and read only those Scriptures that proceed from the mouth of God and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.50 Next comes a passage from the Second Series homily for the feast day of a confessor in which Ælfric compares layfolk who provide a good example to their fellows, teaching the spiritual truth they have learned through their senses, to the servant 47 48 49

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Articles (1628), sigs B2v–B3r. Wheelock, HE, pp. 172–174. The text quoted by Wheelock corresponds to Ælfric, Dominica I in adventu domini, in Peter Clemoes (ed.), Ælfric’s Catholic Homilies: The First Series, Text, EETS SS, 17 (Oxford, 1997), no. XXXIX, lines 75–79. The passage quoted corresponds to Ælfric, XVIII Kal. Sept. assumptio s. Mariæ virginis, in Godden (ed.), Second Series, no. XXIX, lines 119–133.

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in the parable who received five pounds from his master and generated another five (Luke 19:18–19).51 Wheelock wraps up the sequence by quoting the whole chapter on reading the Scriptures from the Old English translation of Alcuin’s De virtutibus et vitiis, which describes how the Scriptures cleanse the soul of the reader and observes that whereas in prayer we speak with God, in reading the Scriptures God speaks to us; all Scripture is written for our salvation and through it we learn to recognize truth.52

Original Sin, Grace, Free Will, Predestination Book I, chapter 17 of the Ecclesiastical History describes the mission of Germanus, fifth-century bishop of Auxerre, to combat the heresy of Pelagianism in Britain. Pelagius and his follower, Julian of Eclanum, had held that Christians could initiate their path to salvation through their own efforts, thereby ignoring the necessity of divine grace; their views prompted a strong response from Augustine of Hippo, who defined his own position on original sin, grace, and free will in treatises he wrote to refute their teachings. Bede’s chapter on Germanus’s efforts to uproot Pelagianism provides Wheelock with the opportunity to assemble a set of seven passages – six from the Catholic Homilies, the other from an anonymous homily – that lay out the Anglo-Saxon church’s teaching on these issues.53 In his Latin translations of these passages, Wheelock draws attention to what seem to him to be the most important statements by printing them in roman font (whereas the rest of the translation is in italic). The first five passages, grouped under Wheelock’s heading ‘De Peccato Originali’, demonstrate the Anglo-Saxon belief in original sin. Ælfric’s Second Series homily for Palm Sunday furnishes the observation that the water that flowed from Christ’s pierced side represents the water of baptism, whereby many have been cleansed of the ancient sin of the first man (‘fram fyrnlicere synne þæs frumsceapenan mannes’).54 In the next passage, excerpted from the opening homily of the First Series, De initio creaturæ, Ælfric notes that the human body is subject to death because of Adam’s guilt.55 From the Second Series homily on the Nativity, Wheelock takes Ælfric’s statement that, through his sin, Adam delivered himself and 51

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53 54

55

The passage quoted corresponds to Ælfric, In natale unius confessoris, in Godden (ed.), Second Series, no. XXXVIII, lines 54–59. The passage quoted corresponds to Bruno Assmann, ‘Übersetzung von Alcuin’s De virtutibus et vitiis liber ad Widonem comitem’, Anglia, 11 (1889), 371–391, at p. 374, line 75–p. 375, line 99. Wheelock, HE, pp. 61–69. The passage quoted corresponds to Ælfric, Dominica palmarum de passione domini, in Godden (ed.), Second Series, no. XIV, lines 313–327. The passage quoted corresponds to Ælfric, De initio creaturæ, in Clemoes (ed.), First Series, no. I, lines 110–117.



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the entire human race to the punishments of hell.56 Wheelock then returns to De initio creaturæ for a longer passage in which Ælfric again notes that Adam delivered all humanity to hell’s torments and adds that, through his sin, the human soul lost its blessedness, but not its immortality.57 The final passage in this sequence comes from an anonymous homily for the first Sunday after Pentecost and includes the comment that through Adam’s transgression, infants are rendered sinners, but by God’s grace they are cleansed and spiritually regenerated by the waters of baptism.58 This reference to divine grace provides the transition to a set of three passages grouped under the heading ‘De Gratia & libero Arbitrio’ – one from Ælfric’s First Series homily for the Epiphany, followed by two from the First Series homily for Palm Sunday. The Anglican church set out its view of these issues, and the related issue of predestination, in Articles 9, 10, and 17 of the Thirty-Nine Articles. Article 9 (‘Of originall birth or sinne’) observes that ‘Originall sinne … is the fault and corruption of the nature of euery man, that naturally is ingendred of the offspring of Adam,’ while Article 10 (‘Of free will’) states that man can do nothing good without God’s grace: ‘we haue no power to doe good workes pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preuenting [i.e., preceding] vs.’59 Predestination is covered in these words from Article 17 (‘Of Predestination and Election’): Predestination to life, is the euerlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) hee hath constantly decreed by his counsell, secret to vs, to deliuer from curse and damnation, those whom hee hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to euerlasting saluation.60

These matters – especially the question of predestination – were hotly debated among Protestants in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries from the time of Calvin onwards, with fault lines developing not only between those who subscribed to strict predestination and those who did not, but also between differing views of predestination, such as whether God decreed the election and non-election of individuals before the Fall (‘Supralapsarianism’ or ‘Antelapsarianism’) or following it (‘Sublapsarianism’ or ‘Postlapsarianism’). The Synod of Dort – the council held at Dordrecht, Holland, in 1618–1619, to which the Anglican church sent delegates – came down decisively in favor of pronounced Calvinism 56

57 58

59 60

The passage quoted corresponds to Ælfric, De natale domini, in Godden (ed.), Second Series, no. I, lines 13–17. Corresponding to Ælfric, First Series, Clemoes (ed.), no. I, lines 155–175. The passage quoted corresponds to A. O. Belfour (ed.), Dominica I in Pentecosten, in Twelfth-Century Homilies in MS. Bodley 343, Part I: Text and Translation, EETS OS, 137 (1909; repr. London, 1962), p. 6, lines 15–30. Articles (1628), sigs B3v–B4r. Ibid., sig. C1v.

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against the more moderate Arminian stance, which some associated with Pelagianism. Debate surrounding these issues was still very much alive in England in the 1640s, when William Laud, archbishop of Canterbury, who was associated with Arminian and Roman Catholicizing tendencies, was imprisoned by Parliament from 1641 and executed in 1645. The three passages quoted by Wheelock demonstrate Ælfric’s views on the issues of grace, free will, and predestination. The two passages from the Palm Sunday homily interpret the episode when Christ commanded two of his disciples to bring him the tethered ass and her colt on which he will enter Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1–9): Ælfric interprets the ass as the Jewish people, the colt as the Gentiles, and describes how God invites both to his kingdom; the invitation comes through his grace, and we of our own free will choose whether to accept or reject it.61 The passage from the Epiphany homily discusses the star that led the Magi to the place of Christ’s Nativity and condemns astrologers who hold that a human’s destiny is foreordained by fate and the position of the stars at the time of birth.62 God does not compel the will of angels and men, Ælfric notes, but allows them free will to make their own choices. Adam and Eve condemned humanity to mortality through their choice, but in his mercy God extended salvation to those who choose to follow his commandments. Even before creation, he knew the number of elect angels and humans, and who would be condemned through their own choice; he predestined no one to evil and death, but through his foreknowledge he knew of what kind each individual would be through his grace and their own obedience, or through their own transgression and perversity: Before he fashioned the creatures, the omnipotent Creator well knew what was to come. He knew precisely the number both of chosen angels and of chosen humans, and also of the headstrong spirits and wicked men who would perish through their own depravity; but he did not foreordain anyone to evil, because he himself is entirely good, nor did he destine anyone to perdition, because he is true life. He foreordained the chosen to eternal life because he knew they would be so through his grace and their own obedience. He would not foreordain the wicked to his kingdom because he knew they would be so through their own transgression and depravity.63

61

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63

The passages quoted by Wheelock correspond to Ælfric, Dominica palmarum, in Clemoes (ed.), First Series, no. XIV, lines 42–85 and 111–121. The passage quoted corresponds to Ælfric, VIII Id. Ian. epiphania domini, in Clemoes (ed.), First Series, no. VII, lines 127–200. Wheelock, HE, pp. 65–66: ‘Georna wiste se Ælmihtiga scyppend ær ðan þe he þa gesceafta gesceope hwæt toweard wæs; He cuþe gewislice getel ægþer ge gecorenra engla. ge gecorenra manna. ⁊ eac þæra modigra gasta. ⁊ arleasra manna þe ðurh heora arleasnysse forwurþaþ ac he ne forestihte nænne to yfelnysse. forþan þe he sylfe is eall godnyss. ne he nænne to forwyrde ne gestihte. forþan þe he is soþ lif; He forstihte þa gecorenan to ðam ecan life. forþan þe he wiste hi swilce towearde þurh his gife. ⁊ agene gehyrsumnysse; He nolde



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Wheelock surely discerned a close correspondence between Ælfric’s views here, and the Anglican church’s view of predestination and God’s foreknowledge ‘before the foundations of the world were laid’ expressed in Article 17. He also indicates his awareness of contemporary debate with marginal references to a work published in Cambridge in 1641, John Davenant’s Animadversions Written by the Right Reverend Father in God, John, Lord Bishop of Sarisbury, upon a Treatise intitled Gods Love to Mankind, in which Davenant defends the Calvinist interpretation of predestination against the Arminian views of the controversialist Samuel Hoard.64 Davenant had been one of the English delegates to the Synod of Dort – as had Samuel Ward, whose manuscript of the Ecclesiastical History was one of the three Wheelock used for Bede’s Latin text.

Faith and Works Protestant theology emphasized that humans were justified – that is, rendered capable of salvation – by faith alone, not by their works; good works are, however, the natural fruit of faith. Articles 11 and 12 of the Thirty-Nine Articles define the Anglican position: We are accounted righteous before God, onely for the merite of our Lord and Sauiour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own workes, or deseruings. Wherefore, that we are iustified by faith onely, is a most wholsome doctrine…. Albeit that good workes, which are the fruits of faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sinnes, and endure the seueritie of Gods iudgement, yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and doe spring out necessarily of a true and liuely faith, in so much that by them a liuely faith may be as euidently knowne, as a tree discerned by the fruit.65

Wheelock, perhaps mindful of Protestant groups (such as the Antinomians) who held that their faith set them free from the need to observe any moral law, quoted Ælfric to the effect that good works are the proper manifestation of faith in his notes to Book III, chapter 21 of the Ecclesiastical History. The chapter describes the conversion of King Peada of the Middle Angles, the son of the pagan King Penda of Mercia, and mentions how after Peada’s conversion, Penda allowed his own subjects to adopt Christianity but held in contempt any who, ‘after being imbued

64

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forestihtan þa arleasan to his rice. forþan þe he wiste hi swilce towearde þurh heora agene forgægednysse. ⁊ þwyrnysse.’ The printer was Roger Daniel, who, of course, would print Wheelock’s Bede edition just two years later. References to Davenant occur in the outer margins of pp. 64 and 66 of Wheelock’s Bede, where Wheelock cites the Animadversions as ‘De supralaps’ and refers to Davenant as ‘Calvin’s champion’ (‘Calvini vindicem’, p. 66). Wheelock himself seems to have held Calvin in high regard; on p. 340 he refers to him as ‘acutissimus, acerrimusque’ (‘most perceptive and penetrating’). Articles (1628), sig. B4rv.

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with the faith of Christ, he discovered did not manifest the works of faith’ (‘quos fide Christi imbutos opera fidei non habere deprehendit’). These words prompt Wheelock to quote two passages – one from Ælfric’s First Series homily for the Ascension, the other from his treatise De veteri testamento et novo – in which Ælfric urges Christians to match their deeds to their Christian belief. In the first, Ælfric comments that one who believes rightly and assiduously performs good works will be saved: One who rightly believes and rightly lives his life, and in the fear of God performs good work to the end of his life, will be saved and will have eternal life with God and all his saints.66

In the second passage, Ælfric quotes from the first epistle of James, the first epistle of John, and Paul’s epistle to Titus to the effect that Christians must demonstrate their faith by their deeds; he concludes that through our works we converse with God, whereas those who do not confirm their words with actions condemn themselves: But a man must address himself in earnest to his Lord, who wills that we speak to him with deeds, because one who speaks well and does not discharge his word does nothing but condemn himself.67

Wheelock introduces the passages with his own observation that faith of this kind – that is, faith that is backed up by works – is alone efficacious for an individual’s sanctification (‘Hujusmodi enim fides, sola potens ad sanctificationem’).68

Purgatory, penance, and confession Wheelock did not like everything that he found in Bede. He attributed what he saw as the fantastical elements in some of the narratives to Bede’s desire to appeal to the less educated, comparing this approach to that of Pope Gregory I in his Dialogues.69 In his notes to two chapters of 66

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68 69

Wheelock, HE, p. 220: ‘Se þe rihtlice gelyfþ ⁊ rihtlice his lif leofað. ⁊ mid Godes ege god weorc begæð oð ende his lifes se biþ gehealden. ⁊ he hæfþ ece lif mid Gode ⁊ mid eallum his halgum.’ The full passage quoted corresponds to Ælfric, In ascensione domini, in Clemoes (ed.), First Series, no. XXI, lines 99–101, 137–139, and 146–151. Wheelock, HE, p. 221: ‘Ac man mot on eornost motian wið his Drihten se ðe wyle ðæt we sprecon mid weorcum wið hine. forþan se þe wel spricð ⁊ ða word na gelæst he ne deþ nan ðinge buton fordemð hine sylfne.’ The full passage quoted corresponds to S. J. Crawford (ed.), The Old English Version of the Heptateuch, Aelfric’s Treatise on the Old and New Testament and His Preface to Genesis, EETS OS, 160 (1922; repr. Millwood, NY, 1990), pp. 57–58, lines 952–953 and 955–973. Wheelock, HE, p. 220. See Wheelock’s comment on p. 319: ‘Legat quisque bonis literis, & eruditione meliori tinctus, librum illum S. Gregorii Dialogorum; … statim dicat, & S.



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Bede’s work that present visions or experiences apparently attesting to the existence of Purgatory, Wheelock counters the narratives by quoting other texts that offer a different perspective on the teachings of the early English church. Book III, chapter 19 of the Ecclesiastical History describes the vision of the Irish monk Fursey who, in a trance, was shown fires in which humans were made to atone for their sins. Wheelock first observes that only one of the three Old English manuscripts he has used includes this account and that the reader will make his own judgment as to why this is so.70 Next, he points out Bede’s inconsistency in stating at the beginning of the account that Fursey was taken out of the body when he had this experience, then remarking later that Fursey suffered burns to his shoulders and jaw from the fires he encountered, and carried the bodily scars from those injuries for the rest of his life.71 His final note on the chapter is prompted by Bede’s reference to Fursey’s angel guide’s instructing the monk as to what should be done for the salvation of those who repent.72 Wheelock comments that it was an ancient custom to use the fear of hell to promote confession, and observes that this is what Ælfric does in the homily in which he offers his own version of Fursey’s story (Catholic Homilies, Second Series, no. XX): Ælfric quotes the angel’s words to Fursey as ‘Boda nu eallum mannum dædbote to donne ⁊ andetnysse to sacerdum. oð ða endenextan tide heora lifes’ (‘Tell all men to do penance and make confession to priests until the very end of their lives’).73 This provides Wheelock the opportunity to state that what should compel confession is spiritual awareness and the prick of conscience, and that originally, confession before a priest was voluntary; only in the thirteenth century did Innocent III make it obligatory. After describing, disparagingly, some marginal annotations to two homilies in TCC MS B. 15. 34 that seek to change the meaning of the original text so that it appears to state that confession can be made only to a confessor,74 Wheelock ends by observing that he discusses confession in greater detail

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Gregorium, & Venerab. Bedam existimasse Majorum commenta, ad infantulos Ecclesiæ in ordinem cogendos, frugifera exstitisse’ (‘Let anyone imbued with good letters and a better education read St Gregory’s Dialogues … he may say right away that both St Gregory and the Venerable Bede judged the fabrications of their forebears fruitful for bringing the babes of the church into line’). Wheelock, HE, p. 215: ‘Visionem hanc ex Codicibus MSS. tribus, quibus usi sumus, solus Benedict. Saxonice commemorat: at quare; ex ipsa materia, & tractandi modo Catholicus Lector pensitabit’ (‘Of the three manuscripts I have used, only the Bennet College one [i.e., CCCC MS 41] records this vision in Saxon; why, the catholic reader will judge from the material itself and the manner of handling it’). Ibid. Ibid., pp. 215–216. Corresponding to Ælfric, In letania maiore feria tertia, in Godden (ed.), Second Series, no. XX, lines 218–220. Wheelock, HE, p. 216. The comments occur in the margins of TCC B. 15. 34, pp. 153, 260, and 271.

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elsewhere. This is a cross-reference to his notes on Book IV, chapter 25, where he highlights Bede’s reference to the voluntary confession that the young Adamnan, later a monk of Coldingham, made to a certain priest (not his own priest) and then quotes the chapters on compunction, confession, and penance from the Old English version of Alcuin’s De virtutibus et vitiis.75 Book V, chapter 13 (12) tells the story of Dryhthelm, a devout layman and later a monk of Melrose, who, having been overtaken by illness, died, witnessed scenes of the afterlife, then returned to life. Guided in his afterdeath experience by one ‘of shining appearance, brightly clothed’ (‘lucidus … aspectu et clarus … indumento’), Dryhthelm saw two purgatorial regions, one in which severe sinners who repented at the end of their lives were subjected to extremes of heat and cold, the other a flowery meadow inhabited by good souls not yet ready to enter heaven. Wheelock begins his notes to the chapter by stating that the guide’s words to Dryhthelm indicate that what Dryhthelm witnessed was Purgatory.76 He goes on to say that the Roman church itself no longer defends any interpretation of Purgatory that gives it a specific location: while the Council of Trent unequivocally affirmed the existence of Purgatory, it forbade the promotion of superstitious opinions and speculations about it.77 Wheelock then emphasizes that there is deep silence about Purgatory in Old English texts that set out the basics of the Christian faith. To demonstrate this, he quotes two passages, an excerpt from Ælfric’s First Series homily De fide catholica and the complete text of Ælfric’s Lenten admonition De penitentia (which follows the end of the Second Series homilies in CUL MS Gg. 3. 28); both passages cover the individual penitential process whereby Christians can wash away sins committed after baptism and make no mention of a place in the afterlife where sins are purged.78 Wheelock concludes with this comment: The reader will not judge these [texts] to have been superfluous if he understands that I have here placed before his eyes the church’s ancient exposition of the creeds and other universal doctrinal precepts in order to demonstrate that in setting out the catholic and apostolic faith, the teachers

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76 77

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Wheelock, HE, pp. 340–345. The text quoted corresponds to Assmann, ‘Übersetzung von Alcuin’s De virtutibus et vitiis liber’, p. 382, line 4–p. 386, line 386. Wheelock, HE, p. 420. Wheelock here quotes the decree on Purgatory from the Council’s twenty-fifth session (3–4 December 1563). Wheelock, HE, pp. 420–426. The two passages quoted correspond to Ælfric, Feria IIII de fide catholica, in Clemoes (ed.), First Series, no. XX, lines 248–277; and Benjamin Thorpe (ed.), In Quadragesima de penitentia, in The Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church: The First Part, Containing the Sermones Catholici, or Homilies of Ælfric (2 vols, London, 1844–1846), 2:602, line 1–2:608, line 14.



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of the Romano-Saxon church, disciples indeed of sacred Scripture, gave no consideration to the fire of Purgatory.79

Saints and Relics The Thirty-Nine Articles grouped belief in Purgatory with indulgences, the cult of relics, and the invocation of saints as false Roman teachings and practices not countenanced by the Anglican church. Article 22 states: The Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, worshipping and adoration, as well of Images, as of reliques, and also inuocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainely inuented, and grounded vpon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the word of God.80

While Wheelock makes no comment in his notes about the later medieval practice of granting indulgences, several chapters of the Ecclesiastical History offered him the opportunity to assemble evidence that attested to the Anglo-Saxon church’s views on the invocation of saints and the cult of relics and images, including images of the cross. Chapter 9 of Book IV narrates the case of a crippled nun of Barking who, after Abbess Ethelburga had died and while her body was laid out within the church of the convent awaiting burial, asked to be carried into the church so that she could address prayers to the dead abbess and request release from her affliction; her prayers, Bede says, were answered twelve days later, when she died. Disturbed by this reference to praying to the dead, Wheelock adduces two homiletic passages that, he says, show that in its public teaching, the Anglo-Saxon church countenanced the faithful making requests to living persons to intercede on their behalf, but was entirely silent about the invocation of dead saints. In the first passage, from the First Series homily for the first Sunday in Lent, Ælfric asserts that God alone is to be adored; while Christians may request holy people to intercede with God on their behalf, they are not to bow to them.81 Wheelock believes that Ælfric here has living intercessors in mind, and supports this by his second passage, excerpted from the Second Series homily for the second Sunday in Lent.82 Here, Ælfric relates the gospel episode wherein the living disciples intercede with Jesus on behalf of 79

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Wheelock, HE, p. 426: ‘Hæc superflua fuisse Lector non judicabit, si intelligat me hic præ oculis, veterem Ecclesiæ expositionem, de symbolis fidei, aliisque universalis doctrinæ præceptis, posuisse: ut nullam de igne purgatorio in fide Catholica, & Apostolica exornanda, Romano-Saxonicos doctores, sacræ vero Scripturæ discipulos, rationem habuisse demonstremus.’ Articles (1628), sigs C2v–C3r. Wheelock, HE, p. 283. The passage quoted corresponds to Ælfric, Dominica I in Quadragesima, in Clemoes (ed.), First Series, no. XI, lines 24–25 and 116–126. Corresponding to Ælfric, Dominica II in Quadragesima, in Godden (ed.), Second Series, no. VIII, lines 51–52 and 58–65.

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the Canaanite woman who wishes him to heal her daughter (Matthew 15:21–23). Wheelock offers this comment: Throughout the entire forest of public sermons, the homilist is silent on the doctrine of invoking dead saints – but not living ones. So that even a one-eyed person may see that the church did not so much wish to teach the invocation of living saints as not to teach the invocation of dead ones.83

He then adduces passages from two other Ælfrician homilies that emphasize that it is Christ who is our great intercessor, and wraps up his discussion by commenting that throughout the Anglo-Saxon homilies he can find no prayer addressed to a saint, whereas there is frequent mention of the need to pray in the manner handed down by Jesus – that is, with the Lord’s Prayer.84 Book V, chapter 20 (19) provides Bede’s account of the career of Wilfrid, including the incident when, returning from a journey to Rome toward the end of his life, Wilfrid was stricken by a seizure; while he was unconscious, the Archangel Michael appeared to him to let him know that the Virgin Mary had interceded on his behalf and that he would live. It is this reference to Mary’s intercession that prompts Wheelock’s single note on the chapter. His main point is that while some texts show that the Anglo-Saxon church may have believed that the saints in heaven could intercede on our behalf, the church nevertheless always instructed the faithful to address their prayers to God, not to the saints. He also uses the opportunity to demonstrate the church’s teaching about Mary, marshaling excerpts from the Second Series homily for the Nativity of the Virgin and the First Series homilies for the Annunciation and the Assumption that show, first, that Ælfric refrained from giving information about Mary’s life that could not be backed up by Scripture, and second, that he did not believe in Mary’s freedom from original sin.85 In the first passage quoted, Ælfric names Mary’s parents as Anna and Joachim but says he will not give further details about them – which would necessarily

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Wheelock, HE, p. 284: ‘Vetus Homilista per totam publicarum Homiliarum sylvam, invocationis Sanctorum defunctorum doctrinam tacet: non autem viventium. Ut etiam luscus videat, Ecclesiam non tam velle Sanctorum viventium invocationem docere, quam dedocere mortuorum.’ Ibid.: ‘Verum in antiquis Homiliis Saxonum nunquam occurrit mihi aliqua ad Sanctos defunctos confecta, sive conficta potius oratio: imo frequens est in illis facta mentio de norma precandi a Christo tradita’ (‘Indeed, in the ancient homilies of the Saxons I have never come upon any fully formed, or rather fabricated, prayer to dead saints; rather, they frequently make mention of the standard for prayer handed down by Christ’). The two passages quoted correspond to John C. Pope (ed.), Dominica V post Pascha, in Homilies of Ælfric: A Supplementary Collection, EETS OS, 259–260 (2 vols, London, 1967–1968), no. VIII, lines 29–30 and 208–212; and Ælfric, Feria III de dominica oratione, in Clemoes (ed.), First Series, no. XIX, lines 26–33. Wheelock, HE, pp. 448–449.



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come from apocryphal sources – lest he fall into error.86 In the second, after describing the angel’s address to Mary at the Annunciation, Ælfric states that the Savior alone was born without sin.87 Before providing the passage from the Assumption homily, Wheelock comments that the reader will carefully distinguish in it what accords with catholic doctrine and what does not (‘sed Lector Catholicus, quæ catholice dicta existimantur, a minus Catholicis speculationibus caute distinguat’).88 The excerpt opens by stating that salvation (hæl) is increased for all of us by the merits of Mary, who reopened the door to heaven that had been locked by Eve, then goes on to observe that any honor accorded to Mary is praise of God. Having demonstrated the Anglo-Saxon church’s teaching about Mary, Wheelock next observes that while homilies may frequently allude to the triumphant saints in heaven exercising themselves for those still struggling on earth, the homilist nevertheless always stresses that prayers are to be addressed to God alone. He supports this with two passages: one from the Second Series homily for the feast of a single apostle in which Ælfric quotes Jesus’s words that the faithful are to beseech the Father in his name; and another from the First Series homily for John the Baptist which includes a reference to John’s intercession but in which Ælfric addresses his prayer to Jesus, not John.89 Between the two passages, Wheelock offers this comment: Why do we tarry? Here and in various other places, the Romano-Saxon church stresses this one thing, that it behooves us always to humbly address the Son of God himself in our prayers. And although that age attributed prayers and intercessions on our behalf to dead saints, nevertheless the church’s teaching educates and urges the people to call in their prayers not upon the saints, but upon Jesus.90

Wheelock found several opportunities to critique the cult of relics and images. Book V, chapter 12 (11) of the Ecclesiastical History describes how, while in Rome, the missionary Willibrord sought relics of the apostles and martyrs that he could place in the churches he would establish in Frisia, substituting them for the pagan idols that he would destroy. Wheelock’s 86

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The passage quoted corresponds to Ælfric, De s. Maria, in Godden (ed.), Second Series, no. XXXI, p. 271, lines 1–10. Corresponding to Ælfric, III Kal. Apr. adnuntiatio s. Mariæ, in Clemoes (ed.), First Series, no. XIII, lines 125–138. Wheelock, HE, p. 449. The two passages correspond to Ælfric, In natale unius apostoli, in Godden (ed.), Second Series, no. XXXV, lines 105–112; and Ælfric, VIII Kal. Iul. nativitas s. Iohannis baptistæ, in Clemoes (ed.), First Series, no. XXV, lines 223–226. Wheelock, HE, p. 450: ‘Quid moramur? hoc unicum hic et passim premit Romano-Saxonica Ecclesia, oportere nos ipsum Filium Dei, in precibus nostris supplices semper alloqui. Et quamvis ætas illa orationes, & intercessiones sanctis defunctis pro nobis tribuerit, tamen doctrina ecclesiæ populum instituit & urget non Sanctos, sed Jesum orando appellare.’

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note comments that Willibrord’s action demonstrates the limited, specific purpose that relics and images of the saints can legitimately serve: while a people is being converted from paganism to Christianity, such objects are an initial substitute that can engage the senses and minds of the newly converted until they can be brought to the knowledge of Scripture by hearing it or reading it for themselves; however, those who today bow to images and the sign of the cross not only show their ignorance of ancient usage, but actually are guilty of promoting the kind of diabolical cult that our forebears called deofolgyld.91 Wheelock then demonstrates how the ancient church would turn pagan sites into places of Christian worship by quoting the passage from Ælfric’s Second Series homily on St Benedict of Nursia that describes how Benedict destroyed the idol of Apollo that he found in an ancient shrine at Monte Cassino, then built churches dedicated to SS Martin and John the Baptist and converted the people through his assiduous preaching.92 Eight chapters further on, Bede relates how Acca, bishop of Hexham, obtained relics of the apostles and martyrs from various sources and built altars to house them within his church. Wheelock’s note on the chapter includes no Old English text, but argues again that the limited and temporary goal of relics and images was to commemorate the saints and drive out the cult of demons; today, it is only the idle who, discarding sacred books, may call such worthless rudiments ‘the books of the laity’.93 He continues by criticizing the Council of Trent for confusing the faithful by issuing two contradictory statements in its proceedings: on the one hand, it recommended Christians to show honor to images of the saints by kissing them, baring the head, and prostrating themselves before them, while on the other, it banned all superstition in the invocation of saints, the veneration of relics, and the sacred use of images.94 How, Wheelock asks, could

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Ibid., p. 411: ‘… donec paulatim ad volumina sacra, aut legendo aut audiendo, cognoscenda perducantur…. Sed qui hodie incurvant se imagunculis suis, & signo crucis; non tantum usus antiqui & finis inscitiam produnt, verum & cultum a Deo neutiquam institutum, qualem Majores nostri deofolgyld cultum diabolicum appellabant; promovere satagunt.’ Wheelock discusses appropriate and inappropriate bowing at some length in a letter to Simonds D’Ewes of 11 April 1641 (BL Harley MS 374, fol. 165r). The passage quoted corresponds to Ælfric, XII Kal. Apr. s. Benedicti abbatis, in Godden (ed.), Second Series, no. XI, lines 171–178. Wheelock, HE, p. 452: ‘Absit … ut in cibum mutentur hæc infirma & infirmorum pharmaca: Quibus ad expellendum serpentis veteris venenum, prima Ecclesia, quæ in hoc, imbecillis gentibus cedebat, usa est. Sed hæc futilia elementa Laicorum libros hodie appellent soli desides; qui, sacris historiis & voluminibus abjectis, umbratili imaginum, & reliquiarum, quas ementitas hodie esse mundus jam comperuit, inspectione oculos mentesque pascere delectant.’ Wheelock here refers to two statements within the pronouncement De invocatione, veneratione et reliquiis sanctorum, et de sacris imaginibus from the Council’s twenty-fifth session (3–4 December 1563).



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even the sharpest scholastic mind teach the common people to distinguish the one thing from the other?95 Wheelock ends this note by emphasizing that to the Son alone should honor be paid. This is also the message of his notes to chapters of the Ecclesiastical History that mention powers attributed to specific relics and to the cross. Book IV, chapter 19 describes how, sixteen years after her death, Æthelthryth, abbess of Ely, was removed from her original, wooden coffin and translated into one made of marble, serendipitously found at Grantchester. Thereafter, the original coffin was said to have healing powers for those with diseases of the eye who would pray before it. Wheelock comments that the Old English translation specifically states that the prayers of the afflicted were addressed to the coffin itself, a point that is less clear in the Latin.96 Disturbed by this reference to the apparent efficacity of prayers addressed to a relic, he counters it by quoting from Ælfric’s homiletic account (Lives of Saints XIII, De oratione Moysi) of Moses’s prayers to God during the Israelites’ battle against the Amalekites, when the Israelites were victorious for as long as Moses’s arms were raised in prayer to God.97 Within the text quoted, Ælfric comments that Christians must ever address their prayers to God, and must keep on praying to him until their prayers are answered. Following the quotation, Wheelock underlines the text’s emphasis on prayers being addressed to God alone, not to created things or beings: It is sufficient to have added this concerning the prayer of Moses to God, having the more readily been prompted by [the reference to] those praying to Æthelthryth’s coffin, to the end that we may show how the homilist declines to take any opportunity to urge the invocation of creatures.98

Book III, chapter 2 describes how Oswald, having traveled from Dal Riada to claim the Northumbrian throne, erects a large cross at Hefenfeld before his victorious battle against King Cadwallon of Gwynedd; once the cross is in place, Oswald commands his army to kneel and pray to God. Wheelock notes approvingly that neither in the Latin nor in the Old English is there any indication that the cross was adored, but then laments that in the retelling of this incident in the homily for Oswald’s feast day 95

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Wheelock, HE, p. 452: ‘Quasi acutissimus quispiam scholasticorum docere possit crassa rusticorum ingenia, superstitionem, ab æqua crassa superstitione, vel mente quidem, nedum opere, avellere, atque separare.’ Ibid., p. 309. The three passages of this text that Wheelock quotes correspond to Ælfric, De oratione Moysi in media Quadragesime, in Walter W. Skeat (ed.), Ælfric’s Lives of Saints, EETS OS, 76, 82, 94, and 114 (London, 1881–1900), no. XIII, lines 28–68, 87–90, and 216–218. Wheelock, HE, pp. 310–311: ‘Sufficit isthæc de Mosis Oratione ad Deum adjecisse, occasione a quibusdam ad loculum Ethildrithæ orantibus eo libentius hic arrepta; ut ostendamus Homilistam, nullam velle ansam prensare premendi creaturarum invocationem.’

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(Lives of Saints XXVI), the author – who Wheelock does not realize is Ælfric – writes that Oswald commanded his men to fall down before the cross (‘Oswald … clypode to his geferum; Uton feallan to ðære rode’), an action that suggests that the cross itself was being revered.99 He opposes this implication by quoting from the Second Series homily for the fifth Sunday in Lent, where Ælfric makes it clear that when Christians bow before the cross, they are not bowing to it, but to Christ who suffered for humanity upon the cross.100 Wheelock then comments that the custom of adoring the cross rests upon no apostolic teaching, but grew out of the dubious narrative of the discovery of the cross by Helen, the Emperor Constantine’s mother, which homilists subsequently thrust upon the people in place of true teaching.101 He expands upon this in his note to Book V, chapter 17 (16), in which Bede provides excerpts from Adamnan of Iona’s De locis sanctis, including Adamnan’s account of how Constantine built the church of the Holy Sepulchre to honor the cross rediscovered by his mother. Wheelock shows that the legend about the preservation of the cross was well known to the Anglo-Saxon church by quoting two passages: one from Lives of Saints XXVII, De exaltatione sanctæ crucis, which narrates the Emperor Heraclius’s restoration of the cross to Jerusalem after it had been captured by the Persian ruler, Chosroes II, early in the seventh century; and the other from the Second Series homily for the Invention of the Cross, which tells the story of Helen’s initial rediscovery of the cross in the fourth century.102 Wheelock precedes his quotation of the passage describing Heraclius’s prayer to the restored cross with a stern comment that encapsulates his doubt over the cross’s authenticity and his concern that the narratives surrounding it had led the church into a theologically unjustifiable veneration of the artifact: The Saxon memorials for the day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross show that Heraclius prayed to a certain cross. Now whether it was the cross of Christ is questionable; nor was it legitimate to pray to it, even had it been agreed that it were the cross of Christ.103

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Ibid., p. 165. The passage quoted corresponds to Ælfric, Non. Aug. natale s. Oswaldi regis et martyris, in Skeat (ed.), Lives of Saints, no. XXVI, lines 17–20. Wheelock, HE, p. 165. The text quoted corresponds to Ælfric, Dominica V in Quadragesima, in Godden (ed.), Second Series, no. XIII, lines 290–293. Wheelock, HE, p. 165: ‘Hanc … de adoranda cruce consuetudinem nulla Apostolorum doctrina, sed incerta illa de cruce, ab Helena inventa, narratione, pro vera doctrina populo Dei obtrudi, testantur conciones publicæ.’ Ibid., p. 435. The passages quoted correspond to Ælfric, XVIII Kal. Oct. exaltatio s. crucis, in Skeat (ed.), Lives of Saints, no. XXVII, lines 115–124; and Ælfric, V Non. Mai. inventio s. crucis, in Godden (ed.), Second Series, no. XVIII, lines 1–2 and 39–44. Wheelock, HE, p. 435: ‘monumenta Sax. in diem exaltationis S. crucis, ostendunt Heraclium Imperatorem ad crucem quandam orasse (crucem autem Christi fuisse incertum; nec licitum fuit ad ipsum orasse, si Christi crucem fuisse, constitisset).’



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The Sacraments Wheelock’s researches led him to conclude that Anglo-Saxon teaching on the sacraments was in full accord with Anglican theology. Articles 25, 27, and 28 of the Thirty-Nine Articles stipulate that only two sacraments, baptism and the eucharist, have a basis in Scripture; that these sacraments have great regenerative and redemptive power; and that there is no biblical justification for the doctrine of transubstantiation, the bread and wine of the Holy Communion being Christ’s body and blood in a spiritual sense only: There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptisme, and the Supper of the Lord. Those fiue commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimonie, and extreame Unction, are not to bee counted for Sacraments of the Gospel…. Baptisme is not onely a sign of profession, and marke of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not Christened: but it is also a signe of Regeneration or new birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receiue Baptisme rightly, are grafted into the Church…. The Supper of the Lord is not onely a signe of the loue that Christians ought to haue among themselues one to another: but rather it is a Sacrament of our redemption by Christs death…. Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of bread and wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be prooued by holy Writ: but it is repugnant to the plain wordes of Scripture, ouerthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath giuen occasion to many superstitions. The Body of Christ is giuen, taken, and eaten in the Supper onely after an heauenly and spirituall manner.104

Wheelock was able to quote passages outlining the Anglo-Saxon teaching on baptism and the eucharist in his notes to two chapters of the Ecclesiastical History. Book III, chapter 7 describes Bishop Birinus’s mission to Wessex in the 630s, including his baptism of King Cynegils and his people. This prompts Wheelock to cite a sequence of five passages from the Second Series homily In æpiphania domini that underline the significance of baptism and indicate how the rite was performed by the Anglo-Saxon church.105 Ælfric begins by noting that Christ submitted himself to baptism lest any king or other powerful person might think it opprobrious to bow their head for this purpose; and by descending into the waters, Christ sanctified the baptismal font for everyone. Christian baptism, Ælfric continues, is essentially different from the baptism given by John, as it alone gives remission of sins. Christ himself is the source of baptism, and Christians may not be baptized a second time; if they sin after baptism, they must cleanse themselves of sin by penance, which 104 105

Articles (1628), sigs C3v–C4v. Wheelock, HE, pp. 179–181. The passages quoted correspond to Ælfric, VIII Id. Ian. sermo in æpiphania domini, in Godden (ed.), Second Series, no. III, lines 91–98, 195–198, 214–230, 245–256, and 270–290.

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Ælfric here groups with baptism and the eucharist as three supreme institutions ordained by God for humanity’s purification.106 The final passage quoted includes Ælfric’s description of the questions that the officiating priest addresses to the child, which the godfather answers on the child’s behalf. In his concluding comments to the note, Wheelock observes that the ritual described in the homily makes no mention of exorcism or of the use of oil – aspects of Roman Catholic baptism rejected in the Anglican rite. In a final observation perhaps directed at Anabaptists and Socinians, who denied the validity of infant baptism, Wheelock underlines the homily’s description of the role of the godfather, through whose assistance the baptized infant will come to learn the basics of the faith. Book V, chapter 22 (21), which provides the text of Abbot Ceolfrith’s lengthy letter to King Nechtan of the Picts on Easter observance and other issues, mentions the relationship between Easter and Passover and describes how Christians throughout the world prepare bread and wine as a mystery (‘in mysterium’) of the body and blood of the spotless Lamb who took away the sins of the world. Wheelock begins his note on this passage by affirming that there are only two mysteries, or sacraments, necessary for our salvation, as instituted by Christ and handed down by the Romano-Saxon church: baptism and the eucharist. He supports this with a quotation from Wulfstan’s sermon De baptismate: There are two things so great and so excellent through God’s power that no man may ever injure or diminish them in any way: baptism and attendance at the eucharist.107

Wheelock then proceeds to discuss Bede’s phrase ‘in mysterium carnis et sanguinis’, emphasizing that these words accord with the Anglican church’s belief that the bread and wine of the Holy Communion become Christ’s body and blood in a spiritual sense, but are not physically transformed into the body and blood through transubstantiation, as the Roman Catholic church holds. To further demonstrate the agreement between ancient teaching and contemporary Anglican doctrine, he quotes the entire text of the Easter Day homily from Ælfric’s Second Series, which includes Ælfric’s extended discussion of the eucharistic elements, including his statement that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ not in a corporeal, but in a spiritual sense (‘na … lichamlice, ac gastlice’).108

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Wheelock, HE, p. 180: ‘Ðreo healice ðing gesette God mannum to clænsunge; An is fulluht. Oþer is husel halgung. Ðridde is dædbot mid geswicennysse yfelra dæda. ⁊ mid bigencge godra weorca.’ Ibid., p. 462: ‘Twa þing syndon ðurh Godes mihte swa micle. ⁊ swa mære. þæt æfre ænig man ne mæg ðær on ænig þing awerdan ne gewanian; Fulluht. ⁊ Husel halgung.’ The text quoted corresponds to Wulfstan, Sermo de baptismate, in Dorothy Bethurum (ed.), The Homilies of Wulfstan (1957; repr. Oxford, 1998), no. VIIIc, lines 36–38. For the text of the homily, see Ælfric, Second Series, no. XV.



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This homily had long been upheld as a text of critical importance in the Anglican church’s defense of its teaching on the eucharist: it had formed the centerpiece of Matthew Parker’s A Testimonie of Antiquitie of 1566/67 (the first publication to include an edition of Old English texts), it was incorporated into those editions of John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments (popularly known as the Book of Martyrs) published from 1570 onward, and it was included as an appendix to William L’Isle’s A Saxon Treatise Concerning the Old and New Testament of 1622 as well as to the 1638 reissue of L’Isle’s work. In introducing the homily, Wheelock observes that he is the first to render it into Latin – the implication being that the Latin version will make the text’s message more accessible to scholars beyond England, and in particular, those of the Roman Catholic persuasion. He also stresses that the homily represents the authentic teaching of the Anglo-Saxon church, not the private opinion of Ælfric, as is established by the broad compass of the rubric at the beginning of the two cycles of Catholic Homilies in his source manuscript, CUL MS Gg. 3. 28 (fol. 3r): ‘Liber Catholicorum Sermonum Anglice, in Ecclesia per annum recitandus’ (‘The book of Catholic Homilies in English, to be recited in the church throughout the year’).109 In his comments following the homily, Wheelock underlines what he finds to be its central message: its text argues for the true spiritual – but not corporeal – presence of the body and blood of Christ in the eucharistic elements. He notes that many in Britain have given their lives in defense of this doctrine, and cites, from Foxe, the specific example of the killings that followed the issue of Henry VIII’s Act of the Six Articles of 1539, which promulgated a reversion to traditional Roman Catholic teachings by requiring belief in transubstantiation and re-establishing clerical celibacy and auricular confession. Wheelock ends with a plea to base doctrine only on what is found in and justified by Scripture: In transmitting the church’s teachings, it will therefore be safest to use words that are sound, ancient, and drawn from the fount of the Scriptures, lest at any time those who reckon themselves to be teachers depart from the truth and unity of the catholic faith, shamelessly tearing apart the bride of Christ herself with their novel fabrications and torments, savagely staining her with blood, and intemperately wrenching and impiously abusing the keys of the kingdom of heaven, which were given to Peter and, they falsely claim, to themselves alone after Peter.110

This comment, drawing to a close the longest note to his edition, emphasizes what has been Wheelock’s central goal throughout his monu109 110

Quoted by Wheelock, HE, p. 462. Ibid., p. 479: ‘Tutissimum ergo erit, in tradendis doctrinis Ecclesiæ, vocibus sanis, priscis, & e fonte Scripturarum petitis uti; ne siquando a veritate et unitate Catholicæ fidei imprudenter decedant, qui se doctores esse velint; ipsam novis commentis & tormentis suis sponsam Christi impudenter lacerent, immaniter cruentent; & claves regni cœlorum (quas S. Petro, et sibi post Petrum solis dari falso jactant) intemperanter torqueant, atque impie abutantur.’

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mental project: to bring to public attention texts from the ancient English church that demonstrated the historical basis of the Anglican doctrine that he, as a faithful priest, was bound to uphold. His correspondence with Spelman and D’Ewes reveals strikingly how, as he discharged the duties incumbent upon his tenure of the lectureship created for him, he steadily uncovered an abundance of Old English sources that supported the key tenets of Anglican belief. His decision to incorporate these sources into his edition of Bede meant that he not only brought into the light of day a far greater array of Old English texts than had yet appeared in print. Beyond this, he succeeded in creating an Anglican manifesto that, he was convinced, had the potential to heal long-standing divisions within the universal church.

PART THREE ACTS OF PUBLIC RECORD IN MAKING AND SUSTAINING COMMUNITIES

9 Writings Among the Ruins: The Peterborough Chronicle and the House Archive Scott T. Smith

A

mong the surviving versions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the Peterborough Chronicle holds the distinction of being the latest maintained manuscript, with annals running up to 1154.1 The Peterborough Chronicle was first compiled in or somewhere around 1121, perhaps to replace an earlier manuscript that had been destroyed in the fire that devastated the monastery in 1116. The first scribe entered annals up to 1121, working from a lost exemplar of the northern recension, to which he added content that pertained specifically to the local history of his institution. These additions, commonly known as the Peterborough Interpolations, appear in some twenty annals, for years from the seventh century and into the twelfth.2 The same scribe added new annals up to 1131, a section now known as the First Continuation, and a second scribe later entered a block of annals that runs from 1132 to 1154, which is now known as the Second Continuation. The two continuations have generally attracted the most scholarly attention, but this essay focuses on the earlier interpolations as part of 1

2

For the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle generally, see Janet M. Bately, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Texts and Textual Relationships, Reading Medieval Studies Monograph 3 (Reading, 1991); Nicholas Brooks, ‘Why is the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle About Kings?’, Anglo-Saxon England, 39 (2011), 43–70; Simon Keynes, ‘Manuscripts of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle’, in Richard Gameson (ed.), The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, vol. 1, c.400–1100 (Cambridge, 2012), pp. 537–552; and Renée R. Trilling, ‘The Writing of History in the Early Middle Ages: the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in Context’, in Clare A. Lees (ed.), The Cambridge History of Early Medieval English Literature (Cambridge, 2013), pp. 232–256. For the Peterborough Chronicle, see Cecily Clark (ed.), The Peterborough Chronicle, 1070-1154, 2nd edn (Oxford, 1970); Susan Irvine (ed.), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a Collaborative Edition: MS E (Cambridge, 2004); and Malasree Home, The Peterborough Version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Rewriting Post-Conquest History (Woodbridge, 2015). See Irvine, MS E, pp. xc–xcviii. See also Susan Irvine, ‘The Production of the Peterborough Chronicle’, in Alice Jorgensen (ed.), Reading the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Language, Literature, History (Turnhout, 2010), pp. 49–66.

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an effort to build a local archive that promoted the ancient status of the monastery and protected its current proprietary rights and privileges.3 To achieve this goal, the Peterborough monks constructed over time an archive that consisted of multiple documentary modes, including the anonymous vernacular chronicle, the Latin chronicle of Hugh Candidus, several cartularies, and several single-sheet charter copies. Moreover, this archival network was in part constructed around a small group of twelfth-century forgeries that memorialized claims and privileges from the institution’s early past.4 As one part of this project, the Peterborough Chronicle strategically incorporates material from those generative texts that provided a locus for broader compilation and elaboration. The interpolations in the Peterborough Chronicle are most often incorporated into pre-existing material, but occasionally they constitute an entirely new annal, and many of the interpolations include vernacular summaries or translations of Latin documents, especially charters. Susan Irvine has observed that ‘the compilation has been designed to ensure that the Interpolations are as unobtrusive as possible’, with the compiler working ‘to smuggle Peterborough’s records into the narrative so that they become seamlessly part of an authoritative account of English history’.5 This essay considers how some of this fugitive content, specifically the long annals for 656 and 963, works to embed local history and property claims within the Chronicle’s broader historical narrative. In these conspicuous additions, charter content translated from Latin sources strains the traditional form of the vernacular chronicle, creating something of a modal hybrid that confirms and collaborates with other local archival material. In these annals, the work of interpolation is not seamless but rather strategically obtrusive, as new content memorializes key historical documents and events from the past through the process of narrativization. When the Peterborough Chronicle renders lengthy charter material as story, it becomes, at least momentarily, both a traditional and a new text, a vernacular vehicle for inserting proprietary claims within historiography, national and local. Furthermore, these claims draw from, and consequently accord with, other ostensibly ancient texts within the local

3

4

5

See Edmund King, Peterborough Abbey, 1086-1310: A Study in the Land Market (Cambridge, 1973). See also F. M. Stenton, ‘Medeshamstede and its Colonies’, in J. G. Edwards, et al. (eds), Historical Essays in Honour of James Tait (Manchester, 1933), pp. 313–326; S. E. Kelly (ed.), Charters of Peterborough Abbey, Anglo-Saxon Charters 14 (Oxford, 2009), pp. 67–78, 102–106; and Home, Peterborough Version, pp. 21–60. For the forgeries, see Jennifer Paxton, ‘Forging Communities: Memory and Identity in Post-Conquest England’, Haskins Society Journal, 10 (2001), 95–109; Avril Margaret Morris, ‘Forging Links with the Past: The Twelfth-Century Reconstruction of Anglo-Saxon Peterborough’ (unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Leicester, 2006); and Kelly, Peterborough, pp. 1–101. Irvine, ‘Production of the Peterborough Chronicle’, p. 53.



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archive. In this way, the Peterborough Chronicle functions as a text within a carefully curated network. A group of four related Latin texts, all created in the early twelfth century, informed several compilations and productions at Peterborough. These texts – which Susan Kelly has described as ‘an ambitious dossier of fabricated documents’ and ‘a judiciously constructed origin legend’6 – are gathered together near the end of the cartulary known as the Black Book of Peterborough, which was most likely produced in the second quarter of the twelfth century, soon after the initial compilation of the Peterborough Chronicle.7 The four texts appear sequentially under the rubric, Relatio Hedde abbatis. The attributed Hædda may have been the abbot who was reportedly killed in a Danish attack on the monastery in 870,8 or an earlier abbot who appears in a late-seventh-century witness list.9 The name Hædda appears only in the rubric, however, with no attestation of authorship given in the text itself. Hædda, then, functions as an authority from the distant past, a vague personage attached to the dossier texts.10 The contents of those texts are as follows, in sequence: 1

2

3

6 7

8

9

10 11 12

13

an account of the foundation of the monastery at Medeshamstede in the early seventh century, initiated by kings Oswiu of Northumbria and Peada of Mercia and thereafter supported by the Mercian kings Wulfhere and Æthelred;11 a charter dated to 664 in which Wulfhere, king of the Mercians and Middle Angles, confirms and grants land to Medeshamstede, followed by an affirmation of its status as a mother church in its region;12 a privilege granted by Pope Agatho that exempts Medeshamstede from royal and secular burdens and obligations, followed by a statement of the minster’s precedence over all other religious houses north of the River Thames;13

Kelly, Peterborough, pp. 7, 165. London, Society of Antiquaries, MS 60, fols 6–73. See Kelly, Peterborough, pp. 85–88. The Peterborough Chronicle indicates that the Danes ‘slogon abbot ⁊ munecas ⁊ eall þet hi þær fundon’ (slew the abbot and monks and all that they found there), but the annal does not name the abbot in question. Irvine, MS E, p. 48. The only reference to Hædda in the Chronicle appears in the annal for 963, discussed below. For the identity of Hædda, see Stenton, ‘Medeshamstede and its Colonies’, pp. 319–320; Home, Peterborough Version, p. 32 n. 45; and Kelly, Peterborough, pp. 71–75, 109–110, 194. Kelly, Peterborough, p. 7. Kelly, Peterborough, pp. 359–360. S 68. All charters are cited by their number in P. H. Sawyer, Anglo-Saxon Charters: an Annotated List and Bibliography (London, 1968) [abbreviated as S]. A revised and updated version of Sawyer is available at http://www.esawyer.lib. cam.ac.uk, Kelly, Peterborough, nos. 1 and 1a at pp. 131–154. S 72. Kelly, Peterborough, no. 2 at pp. 160–170.

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1 Scott T. Smith King Edgar’s refoundation charter, dated to 972, which confirms the minster’s extensive lands and freedom from outside intervention, secular or ecclesiastical, with the added confirmations of later kings up to William I.14

The first document ends with a statement that the texts had been combined into a single corpus, with some omissions made for the sake of brevity: ‘Quarum rerum exemplaria seorsum descripta, iubente rege Æthelredo suum fraterno testamento adiungi atque unicum uotum in unum corpus redigi, ad perpetuam uidelicet monasterii stabilitatem, subtractis aliquibus uersibus causa breuiandi hic inseruntur’15 [‘The originals of these things having been copied separately, by order of King Æthelred his testament was added to that of his brother and a single vow was redacted to one body, namely for the eternal stability of the monastery; they are added here with some lines omitted for the sake of brevity’]. This suggests that the texts as they survive in the dossier have been redacted to some extent and/or engineered to collaborate better as a unit. Still, evidence strongly suggests that most, if not all, of these texts existed as independent documents prior to their inclusion in the Black Book cartulary. The fabricated charters seem to have been based on forgeries obtained from St Augustine’s, Canterbury, perhaps acquired at the same time as the source manuscript for the Peterborough Chronicle.16 The papal privilege (S 72) almost certainly existed as a single sheet in the mid-twelfth century, as there is a record of that document being unsuccessfully presented at Rome for confirmation in 1146.17 The case of King Wulfhere’s charter (S 68) is less certain. An expanded version survives as a lavish single-sheet copy made in the fourteenth century, but the consensus has been that this document represents a later elaboration rather than a faithful copy of an earlier document.18 In 2012, however, Nicholas Vincent discovered a single-sheet copy of the charter, tentatively dated to the late eleventh or early twelfth century; while the text of that document has not yet been published, it would suggest that S 68 did exist in single-sheet form prior to the compilation of the Peterborough Chronicle.19 Finally, Edgar’s charter (S 787) existed in some single-sheet form in 1285, when it was submitted as evidence during proceedings over Peterborough’s jurisdictions and

14 15 16

17 18 19

S 787. Kelly, Peterborough, no. 16 at pp. 258–271. Kelly, Peterborough, p. 360. See Paxton, ‘Forging Communities’; and Home, Peterborough Version, pp. 101–142. Kelly, Peterborough, p. 165. Kelly, Peterborough, no. 1a at pp. 144–154. Julia Crick, ‘Historical Literacy in the Archive: Post-Conquest Imitative Copies of Pre-Conquest Charters and Some French Comparanda’, in Martin Brett and David A. Woodman (eds), The Long Twelfth-Century View of the Anglo-Saxon Past (Farnham and Burlington, 2015), pp. 166–168.



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market rights.20 These four texts were cultivated in different versions as part of an ongoing project at Peterborough dedicated to crafting a history for the monastery that answered contemporary ambitions and needs. The earliest witness to this project is the Peterborough Chronicle. The compiler made twenty interpolations into his source text, eleven of which pertain to the pre-Conquest era. Of these eleven entries, six incorporate material drawn from charters or other Latin documents, often quite extensively.21 One of the compiler’s most pronounced debts was to the dossier of fabricated documents that were later merged in the Black Book cartulary; these four texts directly inform four annals in the Peterborough Chronicle, with some accumulative cross referencing.22 The 654 annal, which contains the first interpolation, for example, incorporates material from the foundation narrative, while the 656 annal, which contains the second interpolation, draws heavily upon King Wulfhere’s charter (S 68) in addition to the foundation narrative. The 675 annal, which contains the third interpolation, includes a lengthy summary of the bull of Pope Agatho (S 72). The first three interpolations, then, directly follow the order and contents of the dossier texts. Later, the 963 annal, which consists entirely of new content, includes substantial material derived from King Edgar’s refoundation charter (S 787), with the added detail that Bishop Æthelwold discovered ancient documents hidden in the ruined walls of Peterborough when he visited the site. That annal also identifies Abbot Hædda as the author of these writings and quickly summarizes their contents, thereby linking the 963 annal back to the annals for 654 and 656. This brief survey indicates the extent to which the Relatio texts informed the early interpolations for the years prior to the Conquest. While the first interpolation fits unobtrusively within the established Chronicle format, the second sprawls across five folio pages in the manuscript (14v–16v), marking a startling shift in length and discourse. The 656 annal incorporates diplomatic content and elements from S 68, the spurious charter of King Wulfhere that is dated to 664 but was most likely created in the very early twelfth century.23 The compiler is selective and strategic in converting the charter text for the annal, disregarding some elements entirely, recasting others through stylistic and narrative enhancement, and even reproducing some components in full, such as the boundary clause and witness list. The compiler also adapts the first-person voice of the king from the charter into direct speech and narrative 20 21 22

23

Kelly, Peterborough, pp. 263–264. These annals include those for 656, 675, 686, 777, 852, and 963. Malasree Home has noted ‘a remarkable degree of overlap’ and cross referencing between the Peterborough Chronicle and other local archival texts, including the Relatio (Peterborough Version, pp. 27, 38–39). See also Paxton, ‘Forging Communities’. For discussion of adaptation of charter material in the 656 annal, see Home, Peterborough Version, pp. 32–37. See also Irvine, MS E, p. xcii.

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action.24 As a result, the long interpolation effectively changes the generic form of the text as it incorporates large blocks of diplomatic discourse, temporarily setting aside the traditional brevity of the annalistic format. The compiler omits entirely the charter’s proem, which celebrates the recent conversions among Wulfhere’s people, and begins the interpolation by changing the charter’s first-person account of foundation to a more general third-person narrative that is more consonant with the established style of the Chronicle. The compiler also lightly embellishes his prose through repetition and polyptoton.25 Her wæs Peada ofslagan, ⁊ Wulfere Pending feng to Myrcena rice. On his time wæx þet abbodrice Medeshamstede swiðe rice, þet his broðor hafde ongunnen. Þa luuede se kining hit swiðe for his broðer luuen Peada ⁊ for his wedbroðeres luuen Oswi ⁊ for Saxulfes luuen þes abbodes; cweð þa þet he wolde hit wurðminten ⁊ arwurðen be his broðre ræd Æðelred ⁊ Merwala ⁊ be his swustre red Kyneburges ⁊ Kyneswiðes ⁊ be se ærcebiscopes ræd se wæs gehaten Deusdedit ⁊ be al his gewiten ræd, læred ⁊ lawed, þe on his kynerice wæron, ⁊ he swa dide. Ða seonde se kyning æfter þone abbode þet he æuestelice scolde to him cumon, ⁊ he swa dyde.26 [Here Peada was slain, and Wulfhere, son of Penda, succeeded to the kingdom of the Mercians. In his time the abbey of Medeshamstede grew very powerful, which his brother had begun. Then the king loved it greatly for the love of his brother Peada, and for the love of his pledged brother Oswiu, and for the love of the abbot Seaxwulf. He said then that he wanted to distinguish and honor it according to the counsel of his brothers Æthelred and Merewala, and according to the counsel of his sisters Cyneburh and Cyneswith, and according to the counsel of the archbishop who was called Deusdedit, and according to the counsel of all his witan, religious and secular, who were in his kingdom. And he did so. Then the king sent after the abbot that he should come quickly to him, and he did so.]

The source annal, which is quite short, appears in italics, with the long interpolation beginning thereafter. Several repetitions in the added text are noteworthy. First, the verb luuvede is followed by three appearances of the noun luuen. Malasree Home has made the case that this measured repetition emphasizes ‘the relationship of bounty between the monastic founders of the abbey and the Anglo-Saxon royal dynasty’, one ‘that

24

25

26

For narrative elements within charters generally, see Sarah Foot, ‘Reading Anglo-Saxon Charters: Memory, Record, or Story?’, in Elizabeth M. Tyler and Ross Balzaretti (eds), Narrative and History in the Early Medieval West (Turnhout, 2006), pp. 39–65. The omitted proem contains some repetition and parallelism that may have inspired the style of the added vernacular text. Consider, for example, the following sequence of clauses: ‘Cum sine ipso nichil habeamus, nichil ualeamus nichilque simus’ (Kelly, Peterborough, p. 131) [‘Whereas without Him we can have nothing, can prevail in nothing, can be nothing’]. Irvine, MS E, pp. 27–29, at p. 27.



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guarantees the special privileges’ claimed by Peterborough.27 This ideal is bolstered by the subsequent fourfold repetition of be … ræd, which imagines unified counsel across the kingdom in favor of the minster’s foundation and endowment. Likewise, the repetition of ⁊ he swa dide in final clause position calls attention to the immediate action of both Wulfhere and Seaxwulf, modeling the close relationship between king and abbot through parallel and repetition. Finally, there is echoic repetition in the doublet wurðminten ⁊ arwurðen, a light adornment that ushers in the sequence of be … ræd clauses. These embellishments stand in contrast to the unadorned prose of the prior annals.28 After this passage, the compiler introduces direct speech, thereby adapting the first-person voice of King Wulfhere from the charter but doing so securely within the established narrative mode of the Chronicle. Ða cwæd se kyning to þan abbode: ‘La leof Sæxulf, ic haue geseond æfter þe for mine saule þurfe, ⁊ ic hit wile þe wæl secgon forhwi. Min broðor Peada ⁊ min leoue freond Oswi ongunnen an mynstre Criste to loue ⁊ Sancte Petre, oc min broðer is faren of þisse liue swa Crist wolde, oc ic wile ðe gebidden, la leoue freond, þet hii wirce æuostlice on þere werce, ⁊ ic þe wile finden þærto gold ⁊ siluer, land ⁊ ahte ⁊ al þet þær to behofeð.’ Ða feorde se abbot ham ⁊ ongan to wircene.29 [Then the king said to the abbot, ‘O dear Seaxwulf, I have sent for you because of my soul’s need, and I want to tell you well why. My brother Peada and my dear friend Oswiu began a minster for the love of Christ and St Peter, but my brother has passed from this life, just as Christ wished, but I want to ask you, O dear friend, that they should work quickly on that work, and for that I will find you gold and silver, land and goods and all that is needed for it’. Then the abbot traveled home and began to work.]

In terms of style, we see the continued repetition of variant forms of love, which again models the king’s devotion to the minster and its abbot. We also see polyptoton in a group of proximate words that share a common root: wirce (finite verb), werce (noun), to wircene (infinitive). In terms of content, this passage has no parallel in S 68. Instead, it seems to draw upon the account of the monastery’s foundation from the first text of the Relatio, an account which also informs the brief interpolation in the annal for 654. The compiler has adapted the content freely, compressing details from the source and adding direct speech for dramatic effect. This process shows the compiler’s flexibility in adapting his Latin source material for the vernacular Chronicle, as well as his propensity for disseminating content from the dossier texts across the early interpolations. 27 28

29

Home, Peterborough Version, p. 68. The interpolation in annal 654 contains an incidental pairing of loue and luuede, along with a single appearance of wurðminte, but the prose is generally free of ornament. Irvine, MS E, p. 27.

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The compiler again draws directly from S 68 after his account of the minster’s consecration. Again, we have direct speech from the king, but in this case that voice more directly approximates the content and style of the charter. Ða seo mynstre wæs gehalgod on Sancte Petres nama ⁊ Sancte Paules ⁊ Sancte Andreas, þa stod seo kyning up toforen ealle his ðægna ⁊ cwæd luddor stefne: ‘Ðancod wurð hit þon hæge ælmihti God þis wurðscipe þet her is gedon, ⁊ ic wile wurðigen þis dæi Crist ⁊ Sancte Peter, ⁊ ic wille þet ge ealle getiðe mine worde. Ic Wulfere gife to dæi Sancte Petre ⁊ þone abbode Saxulf ⁊ þa munecas of þe mynstre þas landes ⁊ þas wateres ⁊ meres ⁊ fennes ⁊ weres ⁊ ealle þa landes þa þærabuton liggeð ða of mine kynerice sindon freolice, swa ðet nan man na haue þær nan onsting buton seo abbot ⁊ se muneces.’30 [When the minster had been consecrated in the name of St Peter and St Paul and St Andrew, the king stood up before all his thegns and said in a loud voice: ‘Thanks be to the high almighty God for this honor that has been done here. And this day I want to honor Christ and St Peter, and I want that you all should grant my words. I, Wulfhere, today give to St Peter and the abbot Seaxwulf and the monks of the minster these lands and these waters and meres and fens and weirs, and all the lands that lie thereabout that are of my kingdom, freely, so that no one may have any authority there except the abbot and the monks.’]

While the content of this passage stays close to the source text, the compiler does alter that material through stylistic enhancement and expansion.31 First, the annal stages the grant as a dramatic speech act, spoken in a loud voice to an identified audience, thereby translating the timeless declarative mode of the charter into a living voice speaking at a particular moment and place, the new minster on the day of its consecration. The annal also adds embellishment in its proximate repetition of the initial word element wurð, as seen in the noun wurðscipe and the verb wurðigen. Finally, the passage noticeably amplifies the freedoms promised to abbot and monks by following the adverb freolice (rendering Latin libere) with an added clause, heavy in negation, that explicates that condition in no uncertain terms.

30 31

Irvine, MS E, pp. 27–28. The parallel passage from S 68 reads ‘… trado beato Petro ad pręfatum Medeshamstede monasterium hęc stagna et paludes et lacus et piscaturas cum terris uidelicet et omnibus infra iacentibus quę de meo regali iure uel principum meorum mutuatione et assensu amodo inperpetuum libere famulentur Deo famulantibus’ (Kelly, Peterborough, p. 132) [‘… in the name of St Peter, I grant to the aforementioned monastery Medeshamstede these pools and marshes and ponds and fisheries along with the lands, namely all those set out below, which are free henceforth and forever from my royal law or the exchange of my noblemen, and by agreement may serve those who serve God’].



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The annal continues with a nearly exact translation of the charter’s boundary clause from Latin into English. The annal alters the prefatory statement for the boundary clause, changing the Latin ‘Quę ita hic determinari uolumus’ to the more direct ‘Ðas is se gife’ [‘This is the gift’], echoing, in another case of polyptoton, the verb gife from the previous passage. The translation momentarily mutes the markers of diplomatic discourse, but by thereafter giving the bounds in full the interpolation undergoes something of a generic shift as the prose moves fully from annalistic to diplomatic discourse. ‘Ðas is se gife: fram Medeshamstede to Norðburh, ⁊ swa to ðet stede þet man cleopeð Folies, ⁊ swa æl se feon riht to Esendic, ⁊ fra Esendic to þet steode þe man cleopeð Feðermuðe, ⁊ swa þet rihte weie .x. mile lang to Cuggedic, ⁊ swa to Raggewilh, ⁊ fra Raggewilh .v. mile to þe rihte æ þe gað to Ælm ⁊ to Wisebece, ⁊ swa abutan .iii. mile to Þrokonholt, ⁊ fra Þrokonholt riht þurh al ðe fen to Dereuorde þet is .xx. mile lang, ⁊ swa to Grætecros, ⁊ fra Grætecros þurh an scyrwæter Bradanæ hatte, ⁊ þeonon .vi. mile to Paccelade, ⁊ swa forð þurh ælle þa meres ⁊ feonnes þa liggen toward Huntendune porte, ⁊ þas meres ⁊ laces Scælfremere ⁊ Witlesmere, ⁊ ælle þa oþre þa þarabutan liggan mid land ⁊ mid huses þa sindon on æsthalfe Scælfremere, ⁊ þeonen ælle þa feonnon to Medeshamstede, ⁊ fra Medeshamstede al to Welmesforde, ⁊ fra Welmesforde to Cliue, and þeonen to Æstune, ⁊ fra Æstune to Stanford, ⁊ fra Stanford swa þet wæter renneð to seo forensprecone Norðburh.’ Ðis sindon þa landes ⁊ ða feonnes þe seo kyning gef into Sancte Petres mynstre.32 [‘This is the gift: from Medeshamstede to Northborough, and so to the place called Follies, and so through all the fen straight to Asendike, and from Asendike to the place called Feathermouth, and so straight ten miles to Cuggedic, and so on to Raggewilh, and from Raggewilh five miles straight along the river that goes to Elm and to Wisbech, and so about three miles to Throckenholt, and from Throckenholt straight through the fen to Dereuorde, which is twenty miles, and so to Great Cross, and from Great Cross through a bright water called Broad River, and from there six miles to Paccelade, and forward on through all the meres and fens that lie towards the port Huntingdon, and the mere and lakes Chalderbeach and Whittlesey Mere, and the others that lie thereabout, with the land and houses that are to the east of Chalderbeach, and from there over all the fens to Medeshamstede, and from Medeshamstede all the way to Wansford, and from Wansford to Cliff, and from there to Easton, and from Easton to Stamford, and from Stamford just as the water runs to the aforementioned Northborough.’ These are the lands and fens that the king gave to Saint Peter’s minster.]

The conspicuous import of these bounds attests to the contemporary value of the ambitious proprietary arguments contained within them. In her analysis of S 68, Susan Kelly has observed that the bounds speak specifically to the concerns and interests of Peterborough in the twelfth century. The bounds do not infringe upon Ely to the south-east, for example, but 32

Irvine, MS E, p. 28.

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they do overlap with Ramsey to the south due to disputed rights over the lakes and marshes at Whittlesey Mere. Crowland and Thorney, although unnamed, are also included within the circuit, suggesting that the bounds were first drawn up when all three institutions were under the jurisdiction of Abbot Leofric in the mid-eleventh century.33 Indeed, the Peterborough claim to Thorney (Ancarig) also makes a conspicuous appearance in S 68 within a substantial paragraph inserted before the witness list. The compiler of the Peterborough Chronicle recasts this content as a dialogue between Abbot Seaxwulf and King Wulfhere. This conversation represents the only exchange of direct speech in the annal. Ða cwæð seo kyning: ‘Hit is litel þeos gife, ac ic wille þet hi hit hælden swa kynelice ⁊ swa freolice þet þær ne be numen of na geld ne gaule buton to þa munecan ane. Ðus ic wille freon þis minstre þet hit ne be underþed buton Rome ane, ⁊ hider ic wille þet we secan Sancte Petre, ealle þa to Rome na magen faren.’ Betwix þas worde þa geornde seo abbode þet he scolde him tyþian þet he æt him geornde, ⁊ seo kining hit him tydde: ‘Ic haue here godefrihte muneces þa wolden drohtien here lif on ankersetle gif hi wisten hwere, oc her is an igland þet man cleopeð Ancarig, ⁊ wile þes geornen þet we moten þær wircen an mynstre Sancte Marie to loue, þet hi moten þær wunen þa ða here lif wilen læden mid sibbe ⁊ mid reste.’ Ða andswerode seo kyning ⁊ þus cwæð: ‘Saxulf la leof, ne þet an þet ðu geornest oc ealle þa þing þet ic wat þet ðu geornest on ure Drihtnes halfe, swa ic lufe ⁊ tyðe.34 [Then the king said: ‘It is small, this gift, but I wish that they should hold it royally and freely so that neither payment nor dues be taken there except for the monks alone. Thus, I wish to free this monastery so that it be subordinate to Rome alone, and I wish that we seek Saint Peter here, all those who cannot travel to Rome.’ During these words the abbot then yearned that he should grant him what he yearned from him, and the king granted it to him: ‘I have here God-fearing monks who want to undergo life in a hermitage if they knew where, but here is an island called Ancarig, and I yearn that we might there build a minster in love of St Mary, so that they may dwell there, those who want to lead a life in peace and in rest.’ Then the king answered and said thus: ‘O beloved Seaxwulf, not only that which you yearn but all those things that I know that you yearn for our Lord’s sake, such I love and grant.’]

Again, we can see a fondness for ornamental repetition and polyptoton. In the first sentence, for example, there is a doubled appearance of the verb geornde (yearn) for the abbot, along with two forms of the verb tyðian (grant) for the king. The same verbs appear again in the third sentence, where they are again attached to the same agents, but this time with the notable attachment of lufe to tyðe, forming a verbal doublet at the end of the sentence. This addition recalls the annal’s earlier attention to the king’s

33 34

Kelly, Peterborough, p. 144. Irvine, MS E, p. 28.



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love for abbot and abbey, idealizing the relationship between secular and ecclesiastical powers as it existed in the ancient past. That relationship is affirmed even further through polyptoton, as the passage gives three different morphological forms of love: a noun, an adjective, and a verb. While the dialogue between Wulfhere and Seaxwulf noticeably moves away from the diplomatic discourse introduced in the boundary clause, the compiler then adds a complete witness list that corresponds closely to that found in S 68. Moreover, the scribe reproduces the signatory crosses from the charter after several endorsements, thus approximating the format of a Latin diploma.35 Here the Chronicle becomes, momentarily, a hybrid text by synthesizing the formal elements of two distinct textual modes. That said, the compiler does make telling adjustments to his source text, many of which emphasize speech and/or continue established repetitions. First, the annal adds a preliminary statement that combines acts of writing and speech: ‘Ðas sindon þa witnes þe þær wæron ⁊ þa þet gewriten mid here fingre on Cristes mele ⁊ ietten mid here tunge.’36 [‘These are the witnesses who were there and who wrote that with their finger on Christ’s sign and who confirmed with their speech’]. Leading the witnesses, King Wulfhere’s affirmation is described as ‘mines gifes’ [‘my gift’], extending the frequency of that word’s use in various forms. Additionally, the annal combines the separate signatures of the two royal sisters in one statement, recasting ‘Ego Kyneburga soror regis amplector’ [‘I Cyneburh, sister of the king, approve’] and ‘Ego quoque soror regis Kynesuuitha faui’ [‘I Cyneswith, also sister of the king, consent’] as ‘And we þes kyningas swustre Cyneburh ⁊ Cyneswith we hit louien’ [‘And we sisters of this king, Cyneburh and Cyneswith, we love it’].37 The vernacular translation here gives yet another form of lufian/lufe in order to reaffirm the close relationship between the royal and ecclesiastical families. Likewise, the following signature, that of Archbishop Deusdedit, renders ‘Ego Dorouernensis ęcclesię pontifex Deusdedit annui’ [‘I Deusdedit, bishop of the church of Canterbury, approve’] as ‘And ic Kantwarabyrig ærcebiscop Deusdedit hit tyðe’ [‘and I Deusdedit, archbishop of Canterbury, grant it’],38 continuing the repetition of various forms of tiðian across the annal. These keywords stand out especially in final position, breaking the pattern of the previous signatures, all of which end with ‘mid Cristes mel’ [‘with Christ’s sign’] and all of which end with a drawn cross.39 Finally, after the 35

36

37 38 39

The Chronicle maintains its blocked text without columns for the witnesses, and the cross appears at the end of each endorsement rather than at the beginning, as is typical for an Anglo-Saxon diploma. Irvine, MS E, p. 28. The sentence shows a case of isocolon, in which the symmetrical phrases mid here fingre and mid here tunge have the same syntactical structure and syllable count. Kelly, Peterborough, p. 133; Irvine, MS E, p. 29. Kelly, Peterborough, p. 134; Irvine, MS E, p. 29. Irvine, MS E, p. 29. Each of the crosses in the 656 annal follows the phrase

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dating clause and anathema that follow the witness list, the annal adds, ‘“Swa beo hit,” seiþ alle, “Amen”’, which concludes its long account of the foundational grant with a collective affirmation in speech.40 The annal stages the document as a story, thereby dramatizing a model of exchange based on mutual affection and promise. By changing the declarative mode of the Latin diploma to narrative, the interpolation forges connections both within the Chronicle annals and between other texts in the house archive. While the 656 interpolation incorporates nearly the whole of S 68, the second of the documents within the dossier appended to the Black Book cartulary, another lengthy interpolation draws upon another of the dossier texts, King Edgar’s refoundation charter. The 963 annal, however, melds several sources in order to craft an artful account of institutional regeneration that is achieved and facilitated through something of an archival miracle. In doing so the annal models the instrumentality of old documents in creating and preserving enduring proprietary rights. The long entry for 963, spanning just over three pages in the manuscript (36v–38r), is one of two annals in the Peterborough Chronicle that consist entirely of new content.41 The annal begins with Æthelwold’s election and consecration as bishop of Winchester. A brief account follows of the expulsion of the clerics from Winchester and their replacement with monks living under the rule, followed by Æthelwold’s establishment of the New Minster and Nunnaminster at Winchester. The bishop appears as a reformer, bringing regeneration to the monastic houses of the kingdom. After Winchester, Æthelwold embarks on a program to restore those old minsters that had been destroyed by pagans in the past: Syððan þa com he to se cyng Eadgar, bed him þet he scolde him giuen ealle þa minstre þa hæðene men heafden ær tobrocon, fordi þet he hit wolde geeadnewion, ⁊ se kyng hit bliþelice tyðode. And se biscop com þa fyrst to Elig þær Sancta Æðeldrið lið ⁊ leot macen þone mynstre, geaf hit þa his an munac Brihtnoð was gehaten, halgode him þa abbot ⁊ sætte þær munecas Gode to þewian þær hwilon wæron nun; bohte þa feola cotlif æt se king ⁊ macode hit swyðe rice.42 [Afterwards then he came to the king Edgar, [and] asked him that he should give him all the monasteries that heathen men had destroyed before, because he wished to restore it, and the king happily granted it. And the bishop then came first to Ely, where Saint Æthelthryth lies, and had the monastery made, [and] gave it then to his one monk who was called Byrhtnoth, [and] then consecrated him abbot and established monks there to serve God where

40 41

42

Cristes mel. Irvine, MS E, p. 29. The other is 852a, the first of two annals given for that year. See Irvine, MS E, p. xciv. The annal is based on S 1440, written in the vernacular. Irvine, MS E, p. 57.



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before there had been nuns; then he bought many estates from the king and made it very rich.]

One of the sources for this content seems to have been Wulfstan of Winchester’s Vita S. Aethelwoldi (likely composed in late 996 or soon thereafter), which describes Æthelwold’s renovation of Ely in similar terms.43 … sed in ipso tempore erat destitutus et regali fisco deditus. Hunc ergo locum famulus Christi pro dilectione tantarum uirginum magnopere uenerari coepit, datoque precio non modicae pencuniae emit eum a rege Eadgaro, constituens in eo monachorum gregem non minimum. Quibus ordinauit abbatem Byrhtnodum praepositum suum, et eiusdem loci situm monasterialibus aedificiis decentissime renouauit, eumque terrarum possessionibus affluentissime locupletatum et aeternae libertatis priuilegio confirmatum omnipotenti Domino commendauit. [But at this time it was abandoned and pertained to the royal fisc. The servant of Christ began to reverence this place greatly, out of his love for the distinguished virgins, and he paid a large sum of money to buy it from King Edgar. In it he established a large group of monks, ordaining his prior Byrhtnoth as abbot. He renovated the place as it deserved, giving it monastery buildings, and enriched it lavishly with possessions in land. He confirmed this grant with a privilege conferring perpetual liberty; and dedicated it to the Almighty Lord.]44

The two accounts are quite alike but there are key differences. First, while both accounts present Ely as abandoned, the Chronicle includes the site among those that had been destroyed long ago by heathen marauders, a detail that is absent from the earlier account.45 And whereas the uita indicates that Æthelwold purchased the land from King Edgar at a high price, the Chronicle tells us that the king simply gifted it to the bishop, with no mention of a financial transaction. This adjustment recalls the royal generosity that is staged so effectively in the long interpolation within the 656 annal; that parallel is further underscored by lexical repetition, as the use of giuen and tyðode in the above passage echoes the several forms of those same words that appear throughout the annal for 656. The compiler shaped the early interpolations with considerable care, creating connections within his added content as he drew upon and shaped multiple sources, including core materials from the house archive. For the next episode in the 963 annal, the compiler seems to have drawn heavily from local sources and traditions. Æthelwold now journeys to 43 44

45

Irvine, MS E, pp. xciv–xcvi. Michael Lapidge and Michael Winterbottom (eds and trans), Wulfstan of Winchester: The Life of St Æthelwold (Oxford, 1991), pp. 38–41. For the enduring conceit of a monastery destroyed by pagan marauders, see Julia Barrow, ‘Danish Ferocity and Abandoned Monasteries: The TwelfthCentury View’, in Martin Brett and David A. Woodman (eds), The Long TwelfthCentury View of the Anglo-Saxon Past (Farnham and Burlington, 2015), pp. 77–93.

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Peterborough, identified by its older name Medeshamstede, where he finds the monastery fallen to ruin: Syððon com se biscop Aðelwold to þære mynstre þe wæs gehaten Medeshamstede ðe hwilon wæs fordon fra heðene folce. Ne fand þær nan þing buton ealde weallas ⁊ wilde wuda; fand þa hidde in þa ealde wealle writes þet Headda abbot heafde ær gewriton: hu Wulfhere kyng ⁊ Æðelred his broðor hit heafden wroht, ⁊ hu hi hit freodon wið king ⁊ wið biscop ⁊ wið ealle weoruldþeudom, ⁊ hu se papa Agatho hit feostnode mid his write ⁊ se arcebiscop Deusdedit. Leot wircen þa þet mynstre ⁊ sætte þær abbot se wæs gehaten Aldulf, macede þær munecas þær ær ne wæs nan þing.46 [Afterwards Bishop Æthelwold came to the monastery that was called Medeshamstede, which had been destroyed before by heathen people. He found nothing there except for old walls and wild woods; then he found hidden in the old walls writings that Abbot Hedda had written before: how King Wulfhere and his brother Æthelred had built it, and how they had freed it from king and from bishop and from all worldly service, and how the pope Agatho had confirmed it with his writing, and the archbishop Deusdedit. Then he had that monastery built and established there an abbot who was called Ealdwulf, [and] made monks where before there had been nothing.]

This passage is notable both for its dramatic content and its embellished style. The most striking points of content involve the utter desolation of the site and the discovery of ancient documents within the fallen walls.47 These documents match those contained in the Relatio Heede abbatis, identified in the same sequence in which they are preserved in the Black Book cartulary. In this finely staged scene, Æthelwold unearths the monastery’s most foundational documents within the actual foundations of the monastery itself. The passage is also striking for its style, as it features several notable cases of repetition: three consecutive clauses with the pattern of an initial hu followed later by hit; the repetition of nan þing near the beginning of the passage and at its end; the threefold repetition of wið in close proximity; and the repetition of fand in initial position in two consecutive clauses. This repetition of fand moreover marks a progression of discovery: Æthelwold first finds nothing (nan þing), a statement which is quickly modified by the following prepositional phrase, and then (þa) he finds the hidden writings. Additionally, beginning with these two clauses, four consecutive clauses end with a word beginning in w (those words being wuda, gewriton, wroht, and weoruldþeudom); this sequence of clauses also shows some symmetry in syntactic structure and syllable count: ne fand

46 47

Irvine, MS E, p. 57. Paxton suggests that the story of Æthelwold discovering the documents was modeled upon a biblical analogy, II Chronicles 34:14–28, in which ‘Bishop Æthelwold stands in for the priest Hilkiah, and King Edgar plays the role of Josiah’ (‘Forging Communities’, p. 105).



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… wuda (16 syllables), fand … gewriton (22 syllables), hu … wroht (15 syllables), and hu … weoruldþeudom (21 syllables). Finally, the passage shows repetition of variant forms of key words (weallas/wealle, writes/gewriton/ write, wroht/wircen), all of which alliterate and all of which underscore the generative power of old documents. Indeed, the passage shows significant alliteration throughout. We can note, for example, an extensive string of h alliteration beginning with hidde in þa ealde wealle, and more prominently, alliteration of w throughout the passage. The phrase ealde weallas ⁊ wilde wuda is especially striking both in its patterned alliteration and its poetic rhythm, which approximates that of an A-line in classical Old English verse (/ x ‖ / x). Finally, weoruldþeudom stands out as the sole compound in the passage, and as far as I have been able to determine, the word is unique to this annal. The passage is cast in an elevated style, underscoring the significance of its content. The chronicler must have drawn upon local tradition for the story of Æthelwold discovering ancient writing among the ruins. We know that there was an archival record of Æthelwold’s generous endowments to Peterborough that would have been available to the chronicler. S 1488, for example, dated to the early twelfth century, compiles older English records of Æthelwold’s several gifts to Peterborough, including treasures, altar equipment, books, and estates.48 But the story of ancient documents hidden for over a century after the monastery’s destruction in 870 appears elsewhere only in the Latin chronicle of Hugh Candidus, written at Peterborough in the mid-twelfth century. Since Hugh wrote some decades after the initial compilation of the Peterborough Chronicle, he would likely have had access to the vernacular annals, but Susan Irvine has argued that ‘it is also clear that Hugh has drawn independently for pre-Conquest material on some of the same core sources as E’s scribe, some of which have not survived.’49 Indeed, Hugh tells a much different story in terms of both content and sequence. In Hugh, Æthelwold has a dream in which he is instructed to restore an ancient monastery of St Peter situated in the territory of the Middle Angles. Æthelwold goes first to Oundle, which he has mistaken as the site from his vision, but he receives another dream that corrects his error and directs him to Medeshamstede. There he finds the burnedout church, now a stable for mules and sheep, full of filth and dirt. In Hugh’s telling, Æthelwold finds only animals, not charters; he also finds at least some of the old structures still standing. The bishop then returns to Winchester, where he gains support first from the queen and then from the king and his noblemen for his plan to restore the monastery. Hugh next includes the tragic story of Ealdwulf, a layman who accidently smothers his infant son one night when they are co-sleeping and later,

48 49

Kelly, Peterborough, no. 29 at pp. 323–331. Irvine, MS E, p. xci.

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upon the advice of Æthelwold, seeks penance by funding the restoration at Peterborough. Æthelwold establishes a group of monks there and appoints Ealdwulf as their abbot, after which they ‘circumquaque terras et possessiones emerunt, et ecclesiam dei terris et uariis possessionibus honorifice ditauerunt’50 [‘bought land and possessions all around, and enriched God’s church with various lands and possessions’]. Only after this long process of fundraising, rebuilding, and endowment does Hugh say that King Edgar also ‘audisset quod antiqua priuilegia, que monachi iam mortui in ipsis parietibus ecclesie inter petras absconderant, essent reperta’51 [‘had heard that ancient privileges, which monks now dead had concealed among the stones in the walls of the church, had been discovered’]. At this point in the narrative, Æthelwold is not even mentioned, as the passive voice obscures the agent responsible for the fortunate find. Both Hugh and the chronicler clearly drew on similar sources, but the chronicler shaped that material much differently. In Hugh, there are many actors and events that lead to refoundation. In the annal, there is only Æthelwold, alone at one decisive moment among the ruins as he unearths archival treasures. The annal effectively compresses the entire restoration within this single episode. Importantly, the annal directly cites those found writings, followed by the inclusion of new writings inspired by those old muniments. Immediately after its description of the ancient documents, the annal includes a translation of a Latin charter in which King Edgar confirms the possessions and freedoms of the monastery (S 787). Edgar importantly is inspired to grant the confirmation after Æthelwold shows him the old writings: ‘Com þa to þe cyng ⁊ leot him locon þa gewrite þe ær wæron gefunden, and se kyng andswerode þa ⁊ cwed: “Ic Ædgar geate ⁊ gife to dæi foren Gode ⁊ toforen þone ærcebiscop Dunstan freodom Sancte Petres mynstre Medeshamstede of kyng ⁊ of biscop”’52 [‘Then he came to the king and had him look at the writings that were found earlier, and the king then answered and said: “I, Edgar, before God and before the archbishop Dunstan, today grant and give freedom from king and bishop to St Peter’s monastery, Peterborough”’]. Within the context of the annal, the first-person voice of the king – a standard convention in AngloSaxon diplomas – assumes a distinct narrative function. Edgar answers Æthelwold – and the deeds that he carries with him – with new writing that confirms the authority of the old. The original document is doubly transformed through the king’s speech: it is rendered from Latin into English and embedded within the incremental narrative of the annalistic form. This story function is enhanced further by the expanded speaking parts given to Dunstan, Oswald, and Æthelwold in the witness list. 50

51 52

W. T. Mellows (ed.), The Chronicle of Hugh Candidus, a Monk of Peterborough (Oxford, 1949), pp. 30–31. Mellows, Chronicle of Hugh Candidus, p. 31. Irvine, MS E, p. 57.



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Đa andswerade se arcebiscop Dunstan of Cantwarbyrig ⁊ sæide: ‘Ic tyðe þet ealle þa þing þe her is gifen ⁊ sprecon ⁊ ealle þa þing þe þin forgengles ⁊ min geatton, þa wille ic þet hit stande; ⁊ swa hwa swa hit tobrecoð, þa gife ic him Godes curs ⁊ ealra halgan ⁊ eallre hadede heafde ⁊ min, buton he cume to dædbote. ⁊ ic gife tocnawlece Sancte Peter min messehacel ⁊ min stol ⁊ min ræf Criste to þeuwian.’ ‘Ic Oswald arcebiscop of Eoferwic geate ealle þas worde þurh þa halgo rode þet Crist wæs on þrowod.’ ‘Ic Aðelwold biscop blætsige ealle þe þis healdon, ⁊ ic amansumie ealle þe þis tobræcon, buton he cume to dædbote.’53 [Then the archbishop Dunstan of Canterbury answered and said: ‘I grant all those things here given and spoken and all those things that your predecessors and mine have confirmed. I wish then that it all may stand, and whoever should break it, I will give him the curse of God and of all saints and of each ordained head, and mine, unless he should come to amends. And in acknowledgement to St Peter I give my cope and my stole and my vestment in service to Christ.’ ‘I, Oswald, archbishop of York, confirm all these words through the holy rood on which Christ suffered.’ ‘I, Bishop Æthelwold, bless all those who uphold this and excommunicate all who break this, unless he should come to amends.’]

Such an expansion importantly is not found in either S 787 or in Hugh’s own transcription of that charter.54 Dunstan answers the king’s statement, just as the king answered Æthelwold, amplifying the conceit of charter-event as dialogue. Dunstan’s speech also continues the repetitions of gife and gifen that appear throughout the 963 annal as well as the annal for 656. The annal notably truncates the witness list from S 787, ending with the ealdormen and omitting the thegns entirely. The 963 annal contains only three crosses within the endorsements and lacks a boundary clause, elements that would introduce distinct diplomatic elements to the prose. Accordingly, the 963 annal looks more like a narrative event than an embedded charter. This integration of documentary material, enhanced with measured embellishments, cultivates a link back to the tenth-century reform movement. Such an association also explains the conflation of several years within the 963 annal: the New Minster was founded in 966, for example, while Edgar’s confirmation was dated to 972 in Peterborough tradition. This compression of nearly a decade into a single annal clearly aligns the refoundation at Peterborough with the most prestigious events and agents in the golden age of the Anglo-Saxon reform movement. More importantly perhaps, the 963 annal dramatizes a process of documentary 53 54

Irvine, MS E, p. 58. The equivalent passages are as follows: ‘Ego Dunstan Dorouernensis ęcclesię archiepiscopus hoc idem cum tropheo agyę crucis corroboraui. Ego Osuuald Eboracensis ęcclesię archiepiscopus subscripsi. Ego Adeluuold presul consignaui’ (Kelly, Peterborough, p. 261); and ‘Subscribentibus confirmantibus et consignantibus Dunstano et Osuualdo archiepiscopis et Adeluuoldo et Alfstano et Athulfo pontificibus’ (Mellows, Chronicle of Hugh Candidus, p. 37).

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preservation and (re)presentation in its mediated scene of archival discovery and institutional regeneration. Æthelwold’s discovery conflates two kinds of ruins, the architectural and archival, both of which provide a visible trace and repository of past history. Just as Æthelwold restored the minster and its estates, the Peterborough Chronicle in general, and the 963 annal in particular, achieve a kind of textual rebuilding, one that aspires to preserve (and even expand) the proprietary claims of the past through archival manipulation. Still, the Peterborough Chronicle does not itself aspire to documentary proof. Instead, the Chronicle must have had value as a testament to the abbey’s long history and its privileged place among English religious houses. Its apparent antiquity, and its cultivated link to an idealized past, would have provided an origin story that was complementary to, and consonant with, other local productions, especially those Latin forgeries grouped together in the Black Book cartulary. Like Æthelwold finding writings among the ruins, the early interpolations provide a repository for old foundational documents, giving them a presence in the institution’s deep past. Rather than considering the Peterborough Chronicle primarily within the network of other surviving versions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the archival context encourages us also to see the text as a local production begun as an early part of a particular administrative project, that being the assembly of a self-confirming archive that cultivated a sense of authenticity and proprietary claim through variation and multiplicity.

10 St Rumwold and the Social Network of Belief Miranda Wilcox

U

nlike his grandfather and father who converted to Christianity as adults, St Rumwold of Buckingham proclaims at the moment of his birth, ‘Christianus sum, christianus sum, christianus sum.’1 Yet, he immediately asks to be baptized, because ‘cupio christianus effici’.2 The precocious infant saint in the eleventh-century Vita S. Rumwoldi raises questions about the role of agency in the formation of Christian belief, particularly during the process of initiation. Why does an agent proclaiming an identity need ritual to effect it? The tension between Rumwold’s infancy and his miraculous capacity to speak complicates this question. Narrowing the period between physical and spiritual births foregrounds the question of agency in conversion. Recent scholarly conversations about ancient children have shifted from ‘seeing children solely as passive objects of various socializing forces’ to investigating how children ‘have an active role in growing and learning processes, transforming and renewing the cultural heritage they were born into’.3 An agent-centered approach has likewise transformed questions scholars ask about how individuals participate in and shape their religious communities.4 The Vita S. Rumwoldi, a story about an infant confessor, illustrates the social network of belief in eleventh-century England. To examine the role of agency in this network of belief, I turn to Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe’s analysis of contemporaneous literary representations of obedience. In Stealing Obedience, she probes how professed-religious agents perform and improvise obedience within tightly regulated monastic identities. The 1

2

3

4

Rosalind C. Love (ed. and trans.), Vita Sancti Rumwoldi (BHL 7385), in Three Eleventh-Century Anglo-Latin Saints’ Lives (Oxford, 1996), iii (pp. 98–99): ‘I am Christian, I am Christian, I am Christian.’ Vita S. Rumwoldi, iv (ed. Love, pp. 100–101): ‘through the power and mystery of God, I desire to be made a Christian.’ Ville Vuolanto, ‘Experience, Agency, and the Children of the Past: The Case of Roman Childhood’, in Christian Laes and Ville Vuolanto (eds), Children and Everyday Life in the Roman and Late Antique World (London, 2017), pp. 11–24, at p. 12. For example, Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, Stealing Obedience: Narratives of Agency and Identity in Later Anglo-Saxon England (Toronto, 2012).

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Vita S. Rumwoldi parallels and differs in a secular context as lay agents willingly perform and improvise belief to generate Christian identities. For narratives of belief, like narratives of obedience, produce religious identities in ways that may be gauged by collective agent action and be renewed by individual improvisational agency. The Vita S. Rumwoldi is a narrative that textualizes the culture of Christian conversion in early medieval England.5 In this narrative, two social practices structure belief – belief is embodied in the ritual of baptism, and belief is articulated in the profession of faith. These companion practices define the boundaries of belief by figuring and regulating Christian identity. Characters in the story exercise agent action by performing the set of practices that were designed to make a Christian: Rumwold’s family choose to be baptized and profess their faith in God, thus assuming a Christian identity. A surprise twist in the story illuminates the role of individual agency in the process of realizing a Christian identity: infant Rumwold improvises the social practices that structure belief in his family and community by preaching and professing, thus transforming and renewing their Christian heritage for generations.

Agent Action in Rites of Initiation O’Brien O’Keeffe distinguishes ‘agent action’, which she defines as ‘an action understood to be free while nonetheless conforming to powerful cultural expectations (as when an individual assumes a religious identity)’, from the term ‘agency’, which she defines as ‘an individual’s improvisation when confronted with cultural norms at moments of ideological incoherence, contradiction, or conflict’.6 This essay will first examine agent action in rites of initiation. To become a Christian in the Vita S. Rumwoldi, adults and children choose to be baptized and to profess their faith in God; these social practices structure their collective belief. In late antiquity, adults who wanted to convert to Christianity participated in rites of initiation, a process designed to provoke a transformative journey of spiritual regeneration.7 Before the Edict of Milan in 313, potential converts needed to demonstrate serious commitment to changing their beliefs, behavior, and social interaction regardless of the risk of

5

6 7

See O’Brien O’Keeffe, Stealing Obedience, pp. 12–13. Love, Three EleventhCentury Anglo-Latin Saints’ Lives, pp. clxxiii–clxxvii, describes the five surviving copies of the Vita S. Rumwoldi in eleventh- and twelfth-century legendaries from Worcester, Rochester, Canterbury (St Augustine’s and Christ Church), and an unknown center. O’Brien O’Keeffe, Stealing Obedience, p. 247. For example, Bede, Opera homiletica, ed. D. Hurst, CCSL 122 (Turnhout, 1955), Homelia II.xviii (pp. 312–313, lines 59–68).



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persecution.8 Consequently, Christian initiation involved a lengthy period of intensive instruction, examination, and purification. Over months or years, catechumens learned basic tenets of Christianity, renounced Satan, and demonstrated their disposition to persevere in the faith. Catechumens professed their new faith by memorizing and reciting a liturgical creed to manifest their spiritual preparation for baptism. Baptism then sealed candidates’ Christian identity as they, imitating Christ’s death and resurrection, were spiritually born into a new life and a new community. The early Christian church functioned as a community of shared belief, superseding converts’ natural communities of kin, race, or nation. ‘Eventually’, Andrew Louth explains, ‘the church would find itself much more like a natural community. Baptism would become a rite de passage, administered to infants, putting a spiritual seal on the natural process of birth.’9 Natural and spiritual communities intersect over three generations in the Vita S. Rumwoldi. The Vita recounts the miraculous three-day life of Rumwold, grandson of King Penda and son of an unnamed Northumbrian king.10 Set in the seventh century, the legendary narrative recounts the conversion and baptism of Rumwold’s grandfather, the notorious pagan King Penda of Mercia, and his father, a pagan Northumbrian king.11 In the story, both men convert before fathering children. King Penda did not marry until after he was ‘sacri baptismatis unda perfusus Christique crismate linitus’.12 His daughter was god-fearing and righteous from a young age after receiving the sacred rite of faith (post perceptionem sacre fidei).13 In Penda’s family, baptismal washing and anointing transform bodies so profoundly that they generate children predisposed to faith in Christ. The second generation followed the same pattern. Penda’s daughter dreaded consummating her marriage with the vigorous, but pagan, Northumbrian king. She feared that her body would be polluted by her 8

9

10

11

12

13

Andrew Louth, ‘Fiunt, non nascuntur Christiani: Conversion, Community, and Christian Identity in Late Antiquity’, in Carol Harrison et al. (eds), Being Christian in Late Antiquity: A Festschrift for Gillian Clark (Oxford, 2014), pp. 109– 119; J. D. C. Fisher, Christian Initiation: Baptism in the Medieval West (London, 1965). Louth, ‘Conversion, Community, and Christian Identity’, p. 110; David F. Wright, Infant Baptism in Historical Perspective (Eugene, Oregon, 2007), particularly pp. 259–267. Love, Three Eleventh-Century Anglo-Latin Saints’ Lives, pp. clxl–clxxxvii; Alan Thacker, ‘Kings, Saints, and Monasteries in Pre-Viking Mercia’, Midland History, 10:1 (1985), 1–25. For details about baptism in early medieval England, see Sarah Foot, ‘“By water in the spirit”: The Administration of Baptism in Early Anglo-Saxon England’, in John Blair and Richard Sharpe (eds), Pastoral Care Before the Parish (Leicester, 1992), pp. 171–192; Helen Foxhall Forbes, Heaven and Earth in Anglo-Saxon England: Theology and Society in an Age of Faith (Farnham, 2013), pp. 103–111. Vita S. Rumwoldi, i (ed. Love, pp. 94–95): ‘had been sprinkled with the water of holy baptism and had received the anointing of Christ.’ Vita S. Rumwoldi, i (ed. Love, pp. 94–95).

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husband’s uncleanness, and she pleaded that God would transform his heart with the grace of baptism. Fortified by her prayer, Penda’s daughter entered the bridal chamber and declared her conditions to her husband: ‘Scias … nunquam me intraturam tuum thorum priusquam baptismum accipias, Deumque trinum unumque ex toto corde confitearis abiectis ydolorum culturis.’14 Her husband acquiesced. After fasting for three days, he was baptized. The hagiographer frames the conversions of Penda and his son-in-law in terms of their participation in initiatory rites; they exercise their agent action by permitting their bodies to be washed with holy water (perfusus, ablutus), anointed (linitus), and signed by the emblem of Christ (signo Christi insignitus).15 The efficacy of their conversion is manifest in the faith of their children conceived after baptism. At his birth, the astounding infant Rumwold articulated the legacy of his parents’ faith by immediately declaring his spiritual identity: ‘Christianus sum, christianus sum, christianus sum.’ In spite of his miraculous professions of faith, generation from faithful parents was insufficient to make Rumwold Christian. Like his parents and grandparents, Rumwold required the sacrament of faith promised in baptism to seal his professed identity ritually. First, Rumwold asks a priest to make him a catechumen by holding him ‘ad presignaculum fidei’ and then to baptize him because Rumwold says ‘in illorum manibus per Dei uirtutem atque misterium cupio christianus effici’.16 After his ritual cleansing through the sacrament of faith promised, Rumwold asks to receive the body and blood of Christ in Mass. Rumwold exercises agent action by submitting his body publicly to the hands of the priests who perform the salvific sacraments, sacraments that transform Rumwold from a state of sin to grace as the meadow in which he was born transforms from a state of organic decay to perpetual verdancy and fragrance. The surprising twist in the narrative is Rumwold’s verbal precocity, not his infant baptism. Rumwold is an atypical infans, a term defined by Isidore as ‘homo primae aetatis … fari nescit’ and by Ælfric as an ‘unsprecende cild’.17 Unlike most infants, Rumwold can speak, and he uses this capacity 14

15 16

17

Vita S. Rumwoldi, ii (ed. Love, pp. 96–97): ‘You know … that I shall never enter your bed until you receive baptism, and confess God the three in one with all your heart, and cast aside the worship of idols.’ Vita S. Rumwoldi, i–ii (ed. Love, pp. 94–97). Vita S. Rumwoldi, iii (ed. Love, pp. 98–99): ‘for the preliminary rite of faith.’ Vita S. Rumwoldi, iv (ed. Love, pp. 100–101): ‘because in their hands, through the power and mystery of God, I desire to be made a Christian.’ Isidore, Etymologiae, ed. W. M. Lindsay (2 vols, Oxford, 1911), XI.ii.9: ‘Infans dicitur homo primae aetatis; dictus autem infans quia adhuc fari nescit, id est loqui non potest. Nondum enim bene ordinatis dentibus minus est sermonis expressio.’ Stephen A. Barney, W. J. Lewis, J. A. Beach, and Oliver Berghof (trans), The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville (Cambridge, 2006), p. 241: ‘A human being of the first age is called an infant (infans): it is called an infant, because it does not yet know how to speak (in-, “not”; fari, present participle fans, “speaking”), that is, it cannot talk. Not yet having its full complement of teeth,



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to ‘interact and communicate with other agents’ in ways that ‘change the state of the world’.18 In speech act theory, ‘agent communication’ falls ‘within the same general framework as agent action’.19 The infant saint requests to participate in the rites of initiation to assume the Christian identity he desires, and he makes his own profession of faith without need of proxy speakers, even though he must still rely on his parents, relatives, and priests to hold, wash, and anoint his body. Rumwold’s miraculous speech raises questions about whether typical infants exercise agent action in their conversions. The eleventh-century hagiographer sets the story of Rumwold in the seventh century, a transitional period in England when physical and spiritual birth began to occur almost simultaneously.20 The Vita’s setting and the main character foreground questions about the efficacy of baptizing infants who could neither articulate their desire to join the community nor profess their faith in Christian tenets. In the last decade of the tenth century, Ælfric likewise looks to the past as he explores these sacramental tensions in his second homily on the Epiphany.21 Reading Ælfric’s homily in conversation with the Vita Rumwoldi yields insight about how personal and communal agent action intersect during Christian initiation in the early medieval period. The capacity of speech plays a crucial role in these conversations. Ælfric begins his discussion of infant baptism with a provocative question to adults who were baptized as children: ‘hwæt behet ic ða ða ic cild wæs. and sprecan ne mihte?’22 The crux is how a child can make a promise without being able to speak. Ælfric acknowledges that the baptismal liturgy was designed for adult converts, and he characterizes the ancient adult catechumenate as a series of speech acts: We rædað on ðam ealdum gesetnyssum. þæt ða halgan lareowas tæhton þone soðan geleafan þam mannum þe to cristendome gebugon. and axodon hi hwæðer hi woldon wiðsacan deofle. and on god gelyfan; Hi beheton þæt hi woldon swa don. and wurdon ða gefullode on halgum fante. mid þam behate.23

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it has less ability to articulate words.’ J. Zupitza, Ælfric’s Grammatik und Glossar, Sammlung englischer Denkmäler 1 (Berlin, 1880; repr. 1966), p. 301, line 7, ‘unspeaking child’. David R. Traum, ‘Speech Acts for Dialogue Agents’, in Michael Wooldridge and Anand Rao (eds), Foundations of Rational Agency (Dordrecht, 1999), pp. 169–201, at p. 169. Traum, ‘Speech Acts for Dialogue Agents’, p. 169. Foot, ‘By water in the spirit’, pp. 171–173, 176. Ælfric, Sermo in Aepiphania Domini, in Malcolm Godden (ed.), Ælfric’s Catholic Homilies: The Second Series, EETS SS, 5 (London, 1979), pp. 19–28. My translations. Ælfric, Sermo in Aepiphania III.246–247: ‘What did I promise when I was a child, and could not speak?’ Ælfric, Sermo in Aepiphania III.247–251: ‘We read in the ancient law that the

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Promising to renounce Satan and believing in God have been the ancient prerequisites for baptism. Yet the cognitive and performative dimensions of renouncing Satan and professing faith during the rites of initiation proved challenging with infants who could not speak, so adult members of the Christian community were assigned to speak in proxy for infants and individuals who could not speak for themselves: ‘Þa unsprecendan cild hi fullodon ðurh geleafan þæs fæder. and ðære meder. and se godfæder wæs þæs cildes forspreca. and borh wið god þæt hit heolde þone cristendom be godes tæcunge.’24 Ælfric employs two Old English legal terms to name the child’s adult baptismal sponsor. A forspreca is a speaker on behalf of another, an ‘advocate, intercessor’, who, as a baptismal sponsor, makes formal pledges of belief for the child. A borh is a ‘guarantor’, who stands at the infant’s baptism as surety for his or her right belief.25 This legal terminology frames baptism as a contractual relationship between the adult sponsors and the baptized infant. Ælfric’s terminology and contractual paradigm echoes the second canon of the 786 Legatine Councils, councils convened by papal legates in Northumbria and Mercia. From the eighth century onwards, conciliar canons and legal codes in early England legislated that every Christian must be baptized, renounce Satan, and profess the faith, for doing so enacted belief, and correct belief was necessary for salvation.26 However, children did not have the capacity to speak, so adults assumed the responsibility of speaking for children in the rites of initiation. The Legatine Councils in 786 specify the responsibilities of adult baptismal sponsors called fideuissores or ‘faith swearers’. Secundo capitulo docuimus, … ut omnes generaliter symbolum et orationem dominicam sciant. Et illi, qui parvulos de sacro fonte suscipiunt et pro non loquentibus respondent abrenuntiationem satanae et operum ac pomparum eius seu fidei credulitatem, sciant se fideiussores ipsorum esse ad Deum pro ipsa sponsione, ut dum ad perfectionem aetatis venerint, doceant eos

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holy teachers taught the true belief to those men who turned to Christianity and asked them whether they wished to renounce the devil and believe in God. They promised that they would do so, and then they were baptized in the holy font with that promise.’ Ælfric, Sermo in Aepiphania III.252–254: ‘They baptized unspeaking children through the belief of the father and of the mother, and the godfather was the child’s advocate and surety with God that [the infant] should hold that Christianity according to God’s teaching.’ Angus Cameron, Ashley Crandell Amos, Antonette diPaolo Healey et al. (eds), Dictionary of Old English: A to I online (Toronto, Dictionary of Old English Project, 2018), . s.v. ‘fore-spreca, fore-speca, forspreca, for-speca’, and ‘borg’. Compare with Wulfstan, Sermo de baptismate (VIIIc), in Dorothy Bethurum (ed.), The Homilies of Wulfstan (Oxford, 1957), pp. 181–183. See also Joseph H. Lynch, Christianizing Kinship: Ritual Sponsorship in Anglo-Saxon England (Ithaca, 1998), p. 97. Catherine Cubitt, Anglo-Saxon Church Councils c.650-c.850 (London, 1995), pp. 164–184; Lynch, Christianizing Kinship, pp. 174–204.



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predictam dominicam orationem et symbolum, quia nisi fecerint, districte ab eis exigetur, quod pro non loquentibus Deo promittitur.27

In Roman law, a fideuissor was a guarantor of a contract. As a contractual view of baptism developed, ecclesiastical discourse borrowed secular legal vocabulary to emphasize that ‘fideiussores stood as surety that the baptized children would keep their side of the contract with God when they reached the age of responsibility.’28 For Ælfric, the vicarious speech acts formed a salvific spiritual kinship between adults and children. Infants need adult proxies ‘for ðan ðe se cwyde is swiðe egeslic þe crist cwæð. þæt nan ungefullod mann ne becymð to ðam ecan life; Nu stent ðeos gesetnys on godes gelaðunge. þæt man ða unsprecendan cild fullige’.29 Christ’s commandments in John 3:3–5 were often interpreted to mean that without the remission of sins conferred at baptism unbaptized persons were barred from heaven, and in an age of high infant mortality rates, parents wanted to baptize their children as soon as possible to ensure their children’s salvation.30 Ælfric explains the theological logic of infant baptism: ‘and hi beoð gehealdene þurh oðra manna geleafan. swa swa hi wæron þurh oðra manna synna geniðerade.’31 Here Ælfric echoes Augustine’s explanation to the Pelagians: ‘Propter quod in ecclesia saluatoris per alios paruuli credunt, sicut ex aliis ea quae illis in baptismo remittuntur peccata traxerunt.’32 Since children were born 27

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Ernst Dümmler (ed.), George, Bishop of Ostia, to Pope Hadrian I, in Alcuini sive Albini epistolae, MGH Ep. 4 (Berlin, 1895), pp. 19–29, at p. 21, lines 18–25: ‘In the second chapter, we taught … that everyone should know the creed and the Lord’s Prayer. And those, who receive the children from the holy font and respond the renunciation of Satan and of his works and pomps or the belief of faith for those not speaking, should know that they are the guarantors to God for those whom they sponsor, so that when [the children] come to the perfection of age, the [sponsors] should teach them the previously mentioned Lord’s Prayer and creed, because if they would not, it will be strictly required from them, insofar as it was promised to God on behalf of those not speaking.’ (Emphasis added, my translation.) Lynch, Christianizing Kinship, pp. 94–95; Bernhard Jussen, Spiritual Kinship as Social Practice: Godparenthood and Adoption in the Early Middle Ages, trans. Pamela Selwyn (Newark, 2000), pp. 122–123. Ælfric, Sermo in Aepiphania III.255–257: ‘Because the sentence is very awful which Christ said, ‘that no unbaptized person shall attain to that eternal life’ [John 3:3]; Now this decree stands in God’s church. That a person should baptize the unspeaking children.’ Everett Ferguson, Baptism in the Early Church: History, Theology, and Liturgy in the First Five Centuries (Grand Rapids, MI, 2009), pp. 362–379. Ælfric, Sermo in Aepiphania III.257–260: ‘And they shall be saved through the belief of other persons, just as they were condemned through the sins of other persons.’ Augustine, Contra duas epistolas Pelagianorum, C. Urba and J. Zycha (eds), CSEL 60 (Turnhout, 1913), I.xxii (p. 457, line 24): ‘In the church of the Savior little ones believe through others, just as from others they contracted those sins which are forgiven them in baptism.’

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with the stain of Adam’s original sin (i.e., the sins of others), so the faith of others (i.e., baptismal sponsors, even the entire church) who speak on the infants’ behalf at baptism could release them from the inherited sin.33 Ælfric may have encountered Augustine’s doctrinal formula through intermediary sources, possibly Carolingian baptismal commentaries and florilegia.34 In the 820s and 830s, Amalarius of Metz discussed how infant catechumens could be saved through the confession of faithful others in the Liber officialis.35 Echoing Augustine and John the Deacon, Amalarius reasons: ‘Neque hoc mirum, si absolvatur parvulus alterius fide, qui alieno peccato obligatus est.’36 This theological logic embeds children deeply within a social network of belief; faith and salvation are communal not individual. A child’s inability to speak triggers communal involvement. Ælfric and Amalarius point to the same scripture story as offering precedence for one person’s profession of faith to save someone unable to speak: a Syrophoenician mother begged Christ to cast out a devil from her daughter, and Christ expelled the devil from the child because of her mother’s faith.37 They conclude that the mother acts vicariously for her daughter; 33 34

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Ferguson, Baptism in the Early Church, pp. 803–816. Susan A. Keefe, Water and the Word: Baptism and the Education of the Clergy in the Carolingian Empire (2 vols, Notre Dame, 2002), vol. 1, pp. 70–79, explains that Carolingian baptismal commentaries and florilegia repeat John the Deacon’s sixth-century reformulation of Augustine’s logic about infant baptism. John the Deacon, Epistola ad Senarium virum illustrem, PL 59.399–408, at 403: ‘Unde scire debetis, quia dum a parentibus aut a quibuslibet aliis offeruntur, aliena eos professione salvari necesse est, qui fuerant alieno errore damnati.’ See Keefe, Water and the Word, vol. 2, Text 1 (p. 164, lines 10–12), Text 3 (p. 185, line 13–p. 186, lines 1–2), Text 4 (p. 202, lines 18–19), Text 16 (p. 292, line 13–p. 293, line 1); Text 23 (p. 349, lines 12–14); Alcuin, Epistola 110, MGH Ep. 4, p. 158, lines 31–33. See also Owen M. Phelan, The Formation of Christian Europe: The Carolingians, Baptism, and the Imperium Christianum (Oxford, 2014), pp. 147–206. Helmut Gneuss and Michael Lapidge, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A Bibliographical Handlist of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100 (Toronto, 2014), list ten manuscripts with excerpts from Amalarius’s Liber officialis: nos 40e, 59e, 61, 73e, 174, 174e, 394e, 741, 803, 925e. Christopher A. Jones, A Lost Work of Amalarius of Metz: Interpolations in Salisbury, Cathedral Library, MS. 154 (London, 2000), lists Salisbury, Cathedral Library, MS. 154 as including Amalarius’s Liber officialis I.xxiv.1–9, 10, 10–11, 13. Amalarius, Liber officialis I.xxiv.6, in Amalarii episcopi opera liturgica omnia, ed. J. M. Hanssens, Studi e testi 139 (Vatican City, 1948), 130.5–130.6 (cited by page and line number). Translated by Eric Knibbs in Amalar of Metz, On the Liturgy, Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 35 (2 vols, Cambridge, MA, 2014), vol. 1, p. 233: ‘Nor is it remarkable that a child, bound by another’s sin, should be absolved by another’s faith.’ Ælfric, Sermo in Aepiphania, III.262–272, summarizes Mark 7:25–30 and Matthew 15:27. Compare with Ælfric, Dominica II in Quadragesima, VIII.122–127 in Godden (ed.), Ælfric’s Catholic Homilies, pp. 70–71, and with Amalarius, Liber officialis, I.xxiv.1 (ed. Hanssens 128.2–129.23), who quotes Bede, In Marci euangelium expositio, ed. D. Hurst, CCSL 120 (Turnhout, 1960), II.vii.25–26 (pp. 523–524, lines 1365–1377).



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the mother’s speech, speech that enacts faith, substitutes for her daughter’s latent speech and faith. Taking the cue from the Gospels, Ælfric and Amalarius demonstrate the theological and social implications of the proxies making verbal promises for infants by modeling dialogue during initiatory rites. Ælfric enumerates the promises an infant makes via the godparent during the scrutiny portion of the baptismal liturgy. Se mæssepreost axað þæt cild. and cweð; Wiðsæcst ðu deofle? Đonne andwyrt se godfæder þæs cildes wordum and cweð; Ic wiðsace deofle; … Đonne axað he gyt; Gelyfst ðu on ðære halgan ðrynnysse. / and soðre annysse? He andwyrt ic gelyfe; … And se preost gefullað þæt cild mid þisum geleafan.38

In Ælfric’s model dialogue, the godparents answer in the first person, which has a different rhetorical and theological force than speaking in the third person; godparents are endowed with the power of speaking for the infants. Amalarius makes this relationship more explicit by elaborating in his model dialogue that ‘eundem parvulum respondere voce offerentis’.39 There is ontological uniformity between the speech of the adult and the child in the baptismal rites. Amalarius expands Augustine’s sacramental signification into proxy interaction. In a letter written to Boniface, the Catholic bishop of Cataqua in Numidia, between 408 and 413, a letter which Amalarius quotes extensively, Augustine reasons that there is similarity between the physical sign and the inner reality, so it is proper to identify the sacrament with its inner reality: ‘Sicut ergo secundum quemdam modum sacramentum corporis Christi corpus Christi est, sacramentum sanguinis Christi sanguis Christi est, ita sacramentum fidei fides est.’40 For Augustine, the similitude between the signifier (sacramentum) and signified (res quarum sacramenta sunt) parallels the relation between the adult sponsor and sponsored child in baptism. Amalarius reasons that the adult sponsor is more than a sign of the sponsored child; when the sponsor is appointed proxy to act in

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Ælfric, Sermo in Aepiphania, III.273–285: ‘The mass-priest asks the child: Do you renounce the devil? Then the godfather answers with words of the child and says, I renounce the devil… . Then he asks further, Do you believe in the holy Trinity, and the true unity? He answers ‘I believe’… . And the priest baptizes that child with this belief.’ Amalarius, Liber officialis, I.xxiv.13 (ed. Hanssens 132.15–16), trans. Knibbs, p. 237: ‘the child himself responds with the voice of the offerer.’ Augustine, Epistola, XCVIII.ix, PL 33.364, trans. Roland Teske, S.J., The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, Part II, Vol. 1: Letters 1-99 (Hyde Park, NY, 2001), p. 431: ‘Just as, then, in a certain way the sacrament of the body of Christ is the body of Christ and the sacrament of the blood of Christ is the blood of Christ, so the sacrament of the faith is the faith.’ Quoted in Amalarius, Liber officialis, I.xxiv.9 (ed. Hanssens 131.25–27).

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place of the child, the sponsor becomes an interactive signifier who refers to the signified they replace while remaining distinct.41 Ex sacramento, quod habet similitudinem, quasi ipse parvulus respondeat, ex ore offerentium fidem suam habet quodammodo fidem. Sicut nos propter similitudinem sepulturae Domini, quam accepimus in baptismo, ipsam rem, id est sepulturam agimus, ita ex responsione parentum sive offerentium, qui similitudinem credulitatis parvulorum exercent, agitur in infantibus fides.42

For Amalarius, the sacrament of faith is celebrated in the proxy relation between adult and child in which speech is the nexus of action and thus will.43 Another nexus in the sacrament is the work of the Holy Spirit. Amalarius quotes Augustine’s Epistola 98 to explain how a child can be reborn through the will of another in concert with the work of the Holy Spirit: ‘Regenerans ergo Spiritus in maioribus offerentibus et parvulo oblato renatoque communis est; ideo, per hanc societatem unius eiusdemque Spiritus prodest offerentium voluntas parvulo oblato.’44 According to Augustine, social reciprocity merges with sacramental grace in infant baptism. Amalarius quotes extensively from Augustine’s letter, selecting specific quotations that highlight Augustine’s argument that the salvific power of the collective will on behalf of the child is bound up in the power of the sacrament of baptism unto salvation.45 Augustine explains that an

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I adapt Luciano Floridi’s insights about digital proxy interactions in ‘A Proxy Culture’, Philosophy and Technology, 28:4 (2015), 487–490, at 489: ‘proxies are pragmatically more than signs because they are signifiers that also stand in for the signified and so you can interact with them instead of interacting with the signified. And they are epistemologically more than surrogates, because they are signifiers you can interact with that refer to the signified they replace, so you can still perceive the difference.’ Amalarius, Liber officialis, I.xxiv.12 (ed. Hanssens 132.6–11), trans. Knibbs, pp. 235–237: ‘Through this sacrament, which operates through likeness, it is as if the child has faith through the mouth of those offering their faith, as if he were responding himself. Just as we, after the likeness of the Lord’s burial that we received in baptism, enact that event (that is, the burial), so too is faith enacted in infants through the response of their parents or others who offer the child and who perform a likeness of the children’s faith.’ Amalarius, Liber officialis, I.xxiv.13 (ed. Hanssens 132.20–22): ‘ex similitudine responsionis, quasi ipse parvulus respondeat, sacramentum fidei celebrari in parvulo.’ Trans. Knibbs, p. 237: ‘through the likeness of the response, which is offered as if the child is responding, that the sacrament of faith is celebrated in the child.’ Augustine, Epistola, XCVIII.ii, PL 33.360, trans. Teske, Works of Saint Augustine, p. 427: ‘The Spirit, then, who brings the child to rebirth is shared in by the adults who present the child and by the little one who is presented and reborn. And so through this society formed by one and the same Spirit the will of the sponsors benefits the little one who is presented.’ See Augustine, Epistola, XCVIII.i, PL 33.359.



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infant becomes a fidelis, ‘a believer, not by assenting to the faith, but by receiving the sacrament of the faith’.46 Ac per hoc cum respondetur parvulus credere, qui fidei nondum habet affectum, respondetur fidem habere propter fidei sacramentum, … Itaque parvulum, etsi nondum fides illa quae in credentium voluntate consistit, iam tamen ipsius fidei sacramentum fidelem facit. Nam sicut credere respondetur, ita etiam fidelis vocatur, non rem ipsa mente annuendo, sed ipsius rei sacramentum percipiendo. Cum autem homo sapere coeperit, non illud sacramentum repetet, sed intellegit, eiusque veritati consona etiam voluntate coaptabitur.47

Faith is bestowed on the child through the faith of others in the celebration of the rite itself. Thus, confessing the faith requires participation in sacramental rite by all members of the Christian community to save each other from the guilt of original sin. Peter Cramer concludes that for Augustine, and subsequently the rest of Western Europe, infant baptism became ‘a perfect metaphor of the absorption of the individual into the collective, and into the formal idea of the collective expressed in the church’.48 Infant baptism was no metaphor for Amalarius; he believed that the sacrament welded permanent relations between the child, God, and community. Amalarius concluded: ‘Ita credo propter opus unius Spiritus Sancti quod offerens respondet, hoc esse illius quem offert.’49 Speaking on behalf of each other manifested these relationships. Like Amalarius, Ælfric was keenly aware of his pastoral responsibility to maintain a strong community of Christian believers, and his concern was particularly manifest in his preaching about infant baptism. Likely drawing on Carolingian discussions about infant baptism, Ælfric elaborated a contractual proxy relationship arguing that adult sponsors acted as guarantors of belief for the infants until they learned to live their prom-

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Teske, Works of Saint Augustine, p. 426. Augustine, Epistola, XCVIII.ix–x, PL 33.364, trans. Teske, pp. 431–432: ‘And for this reason when the answer is given that the little one believes, though he does not yet have the disposition of faith, the answer is given that he has faith on account of the sacrament of the faith … And so, even if that faith that is found in the will of believers does not make a little one a believer, the sacrament of faith itself, nonetheless, now does so. For, just as the response is given that the little one believes, he is also in that sense called a believer, not because he assents to the reality with his mind, but because he receives the sacrament of that reality. But when a human being begins to think, he will not repeat the sacrament, but will understand it and will also conform himself to its truth by the agreement of his will.’ Quoted by Amalarius, Liber officialis, I.24.15 (ed. Hanssens 133.35–41). Peter Cramer, Baptism and Change in the Early Middle Ages, c. 200-c. 1150 (Cambridge, 1993), p. 130. Amalarius, Liber officialis, I.xxiv.14 (ed. Hanssens 133.23–24), trans. Knibbs, p. 237: ‘I thus believe that the response of the offerer, through the work of the single Holy Spirit, is the response of the child whom he offers.’

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ised faith. Ælfric conceives belief as a social responsibility and not strictly a matter of individual volition. He concludes that it is imperative for a child to learn what was promised at his baptism so that ‘he his cristendom healdan sceole. mid þam soðan geleafan. and hu he mage deofol forbugan… . and geearnian þæt ece lif. and ða ecan myrhðe mid gode.’50 For Ælfric, infant baptism was ‘a stimulus, to the religious imagination that a child should be led through the forms of an adult experience. The child, along with the water, palm-branches, salt and oil, was himself a symbol – perhaps the principal symbol – in which the action of sacrament took place.’51 Thus adult proxies exercise agent action as they speak on behalf of their children, enabling their access to enhanced interactions and experiences inaccessible to their infant bodies.52 The Vita S. Rumwoldi translates these earlier doctrinal discussions about the efficacy of infant baptism into narrative. Unlike a typical infans, Rumwold can speak, and his professions of faith reveal him to be a believing agent. Although he acts independently through his words, he still needs communal help when his baptismal sponsors hold his body during the rituals of praesignatum and sacramentum fidei. Rumwold’s character suggests the possibility that even infants who cannot speak are agents who feel and know what Rumwold feels and knows about his Christian identity. Their will is manifest in the collective agent action of the baptismal rite. Performing the rites of initiation triggers the infants’ agent action as it gets distributed among the proxy speakers, who in turn exercise agent action by enacting the ritual. The vicarious professions of faith made on behalf of children are ethical and efficacious not just because they anticipate that the children’s physical and linguistic development will catch up to their spiritual state, but also because in the sacrament language becomes what it means – the ‘sacramentum fidei fides est’, that very ‘sacramentum fidei quod in baptismate promisit’, a promise Rumwold preaches to his family.53 Like Rumwold, infants believe and will their own baptisms as they become ‘the meeting between what is “given” and what is “taken”, between the “making” and the “being made” which is at the centre of human willing. [They are] both symbol and reality of what it is to will.’54 The Vita S. Rumwoldi depicts a child as simultaneously inheriting belief, belief that is emplotted as the desire to join the Christian community, and as exercising agent action by participating in the community’s rites 50

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Ælfric, Sermo in Aepiphania, III.288–290: ‘he holds his Christian faith with true belief, and how he may eschew the devil … and merit eternal life and eternal joy with God.’ Cramer, Baptism and Change, p. 178. Floridi, ‘A Proxy Culture’, p. 490. Augustine, Epistola, XCVIII.ix, PL 33.364, trans. Teske, p. 431: ‘the sacrament of the faith is the faith.’ Vita S. Rumwoldi, x (ed. Love, pp. 110–111): ‘the sacrament of faith, which He promised in baptism.’ Cramer, Baptism and Change, p. 126.



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of initiation. In this narrative, baptismal rites are not simply a power struggle between good and evil as an exorcism of original sin, but also the intersection of individual will, social affection, and divine grace.

Improvised Agency in Professing the Faith In the Vita S. Rumwoldi, the protagonist, a speaking infant, generates ‘narrative moments of contradiction and surprise that point us to the orchestration of agency’. O’Brien O’Keeffe explains, ‘To exercise agency requires actors to have knowledge of the cultural forms within which they are enmeshed and some ability to affect them.’55 Rumwold shifts the conversation about agency in the saint’s life from adults to a newborn, an agent who has explicitly not been formed by either a textual or a kin community but instead shapes his kin and community.56 The first section of the essay examined Rumwold’s family’s agent action as expressed in their initiation to Christianity through formal rites. This section explores Rumwold’s improvised agency as manifest in his ability to affect these cultural forms by precociously professing his faith. The hagiographer frames his responsibility in the preface to talk about the infant saint in terms of the divine command in the Psalms: ‘Aperi os tuum et ego implebo illud.’57 Here the hagiographer introduces the theme of public profession, the miracle at the heart of Rumwold’s brief life. Rumwold likewise proclaims his miraculous ability to speak: ‘Audite queso, …, uerba que ego loquor hodie uestris in auribus, quoniam sapientia que os mutum aperit, linguasque infantium disertas esse facit, per me sua misteria uobis uestrisque sequacibus pandit, quo uos gnari sitis eius agnitionis et intelligatis gloriam eiusdem remunerationis.’58 Rumwold’s improvised professing and preaching permeates the Vita. Rumwold does not simply recite liturgical creeds; he formulates his own professions and explanations of faith in three scenes. Rumwold displays agency as he improvises theological formulations using traditional terms. Professing and preaching his faith renews his community’s Christian identity, an identity that secures their inclusion in earthly and heavenly communities of faith, an identity that Rumwold proclaims from the moment of his birth.

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O’Brien O’Keeffe, Stealing Obedience, p. 13; see also p. 8. I thank Nicole Guenther Discenza for this insight. Vita S. Rumwoldi, preface (ed. Love, pp. 94–95): ‘Open thy mouth and I will fill it.’ See Psalm 80 (81):11. Vita S. Rumwoldi, vii (ed. Love, pp. 104–105): ‘Listen … to the words which I am saying to you, because the wisdom which opens the dumb mouth, and causes the tongues of infants to be eloquent, is spreading forth His mysteries to you and to your successors through me, so that you can have knowledge of Him and understand the glory of His reward.’

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Rumwold makes his first spontaneous personal profession of faith at birth. He proclaims ‘Christianus sum’ and his faith in the triune God – ‘Trinum et unum Deum colo, confiteor, adoro patrem et filium et spiritum sanctum.’59 The repetition of the first-person verbs personalizes the profession of faith; Rumwold does not recite a liturgical creed and instead pledges to worship, confess, and adore the triune God. Rumwold’s declaration of identity and faith has salvific consequences; it initiates his relation with the Christian community and anticipates the ritual actions of the rites of baptism that will confirm and seal his membership in the community.60 Rumwold’s initial profession of faith moves his parents, the two accompanying priests, and the rest of the royal party to sing the hymn Te Deum laudamus. This ancient hymn of praise was likely composed in the fourth century and begins with parallel statements of praise and confession of faith: ‘Te deum laudamus; te dominum confitemur.’61 After enumerating God’s creations who praise and venerate his majesty, the hymn parallels portions of the Apostles’ and Athanasian Creeds that trace Christ’s birth, death, resurrection, and future judgment. The hymn concludes with exclamations of praise and petitions for mercy, protection, and salvation. The hagiographer may not accurately depict liturgical practice in the seventh or eleventh centuries when imagining a lay group in singing it, since the Te Deum was sung in the monastic Divine Office from the mid-tenth century and appears as a canticle in tenth- and eleventh-century psalters in England.62 Nevertheless, the story highlights situations in which an individual or community might feel moved to profess their faith beyond the confines of sacramental rituals. The second scene in which Rumwold professes and preaches occurs before his baptism. Rumwold preaches that he needs to imitate Christ’s humility, and he professes Christ’s dual human and divine natures and his miraculous mode of generation, two crucial themes in many early medieval professions of faith. Christ humbled himself for humans ‘carnem suscipiendo humanam ex almo uirginis utero conceptus de spiritu sanc-

59

60 61

62

Vita S. Rumwoldi, iii (ed. Love, pp. 98–99): ‘I am a Christian’, and ‘I worship God the three in one, I confess and adore the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.’ See Romans 10:9–10; 1 John 4:2–3. Celia Sisam and Kenneth Sisam (eds), The Salisbury Psalter, EETS OS 242 (London, 1959), X.i (p. 301): ‘We praise thee, God; we confess thee [to be] Lord.’ The Te Deum and Symbolum apostolorum were glossed in Old English in the eleventh century, and the Hymnus Athanasii was glossed by the original Latin scribe c.975 (pp. 11–14). Sarah Larratt Keefer (ed.), Old English Liturgical Verse: A Student Edition (Peterborough, ON, 2010), p. 29: ‘The Te Deum … was used in the early Church strictly during the Offices and thus would have been known only to monks or nuns.’ See also pp. 30–33 and Jesse D. Billett, The Divine Office in Anglo-Saxon England, 597-c.1000 (London, 2014), p. 21.



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to’.63 Christ also humbled himself to receive baptism from John, a priestly prophet, not a secular leader. John’s priestly lineage merited his ability to baptize Christ, ‘sanctum … sanctorum, regemque omnium seculorum, sacerdotemque eternum, dans cunctis in se credentibus baptismum salutis in remissionem omnium peccatorum.’64 Rumwold emphasizes Christ’s sacred roles as the high priest of salvation for ‘through the sacramental baptism unction all Christians spiritually participated in Christ’s dual office, becoming with him rex et sacerdos’.65 Rumwold’s testimony of Christ changes the way his parents and priests undertake the form of his baptism. Rumwold insists on choosing his own baptismal sponsors; he wants the two priests accompanying his family’s retinue to baptize and receive him, not the ‘conuicinos reges ac duces’ who Rumwold’s parents anticipated would become allies through spiritual kinship of godparenthood.66 In the early medieval West, spiritual kinship was often utilized in diplomatic policies because powerful godparents were important political assets.67 However, Rumwold reorients his family to Christ, the heavenly king, whose power and protection supersedes human allies. The hagiographer demonstrates the magnitude of divine power when Rumwold instructs his sponsoring priests to call ‘in nomine Domini Nostri Iesu Christi ac sancte trinitatis’ and to trust ‘in summo omnium … auctore’ to raise a heavy, hollow stone to become Rumwold’s baptismal font.68 The priests invoke the name of Almighty God and move the stone to the meadow of his birth for his baptism followed by communal Mass. In a third scene, Rumwold professes the catholica fides and preaches the uera religio to his family: they should seek divine wisdom, confess their belief in the Trinity, and purify themselves from sin through penance.69 Rumwold’s sermon elaborates basic tenets addressed in many creedal statements about God’s role as Creator and God’s triune nature: Sapientia quidem patris filius est. Ergo pater in filio est et filius in patre et spiritus sanctus, per quem omnes renascuntur fideles, in utrisque. Et ex hoc

63

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66 67 68

69

Vita S. Rumwoldi, iv (ed. Love, pp. 100–101): ‘by taking on human flesh, and having been conceived by the Holy Spirit in the cherishing womb of a virgin’. Vita S. Rumwoldi, iv (ed. Love, pp. 100–101): ‘the Holy of Holies, the King of all ages, the everlasting Priest, Who grants to all who believe in Him the baptism of salvation for the remission of all sins.’ Robert Deshman, Eye and Mind: Collected Essays in Anglo-Saxon and Early Medieval Art by Robert Deshman, ed. Adam S. Cohen (Kalamazoo, 2010), pp. 128–129. See also Deshman’s analysis of the miniature of Christ’s baptism (fol. 25a) in The Benedictional of Æthelwold (Princeton, 1995), pp. 45–50, 213–214. Vita S. Rumwoldi, iv (ed. Love, pp. 98–99): ‘neighboring kings and rulers’. Lynch, Christianizing Kinship, pp. 205–228. Vita S. Rumwoldi, v (ed. Love, pp. 102–103): ‘in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity’ and ‘in the high Creator of all’. Vita S. Rumwoldi, vii (ed. Love, p. 104).

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intelligi sine dubio oportet quia idem Deus est pater, idem et filius, idem Deus est et spiritus sanctus. Quamuis autem alia sit persona patris, alia filii, alia spiritus sancti, una est substantia, eadem est equalitas, una est maiestas atque potestas, una eternitas et perfectio, dignitas, honor, decus, unum est et imperium et beatitudo, una immensitas, et gloria, atque immortalitas.70

The hagiographer depicts Rumwold improvising an otherwise unattested formulation of Trinitarian faith.71 Rumwold incorporates technical theological terms, such as substantia and essentia, into his doctrinal explanation, and he exuberantly lists fourteen divine characteristics shared by the three persons of the Trinity. The length of Rumwold’s list is unusual, as are the characteristics he highlights. He includes only four of the characteristics enumerated in the Athanasian Creed: gloria, maiestas, immensitas, and eternitas; these terms emphasize God’s almighty power as creator of heaven and earth. The cluster of terms recognizing divine sovereignty – honor, decus, and imperium – appear in doxological statements concluding hymns.72 In blending theological terms with discourses of praise, Rumwold emphasizes that the act of professing faith in God rather than its formulation is salvific. He reminds his family: ‘Ita itaque est credenda hec trinitas ut indubitanter confiteatur una deitas unaque esse essentia. Hanc quippe mecum una confitemini, quoniam hec confessio uita est cunctorum eam confitentium.’73 Rumwold’s sermon moves his family to respond with tearful voices echoing Rumwold’s initial profession: ‘Credimus, confitemur, adoramus, laudamus, benedicimus.’74 They have learned that the key feature in a confession of faith is content: Christians must declare belief in the Trinity. This confession creates community as Rumwold declares: ‘Audistis, fratres in Christo atque consanguinei, qualiter sanctam trinitatem confit70

71

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73

74

Vita S. Rumwoldi, ix (ed. Love, pp. 108–109): ‘The wisdom of the Father is the Son. So the Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father, and the Holy Spirit, through Whom all the faithful are born again, is in both. From this we ought to understand without doubt that the same God is Father, Son and also Holy Spirit. But although the character of the Father is one thing, the character of the Son a second, and that of the Holy Spirit a third, their substance is one – one equality, one majesty and power, one eternity and perfection, dignity, honour, glory, and also one rule and blessedness, one immensity and glory, and immortality.’ Love, Three Eleventh-Century Anglo-Latin Saints’ Lives, p. 108 n. 2, p. 109 n. 3, identifies allusions to the Gospel of John and to passages of the Athanasian Creed. Inge B. Milfull, The Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church: A Study and Edition of the ‘Durham Hymnal’ (Cambridge, 1996), p. 375 no. 104, pp. 454–455 no. 151. Vita S. Rumwoldi, ix (ed. Love, pp. 108–109): ‘Thus, therefore, we must believe in this Trinity, in such a way that we may unhesitatingly confess that there is one deity, one essence. Indeed, confess this with me, because this confession is life to all who make it.’ Vita S. Rumwoldi, x (ed. Love, pp. 108–109): ‘We believe, we confess, we adore, we praise, we bless.’



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eri debetis, qualiterque ipsius unitatem firmiter in uestri cordis pectore oportet retinere et in ea credulitate, qua pater et filius et spiritus sanctus unus Deus est, fideliter perseuerare.’75 Rumwold’s qualiter does not specify a particular form or fixed formulation for professing the faith. This may be surprising since early medieval councils legislated that Christians must know a liturgical creed to participate in the religious community and to merit salvation. Rumwold, however, improvises various professions of faith from the simple ‘I am Christian’ to an exposition of Trinitarian theology. In light of the number and variety of professions of faith surviving in documents with English provenance between 600 and 1100, the hagiographer’s depiction of Rumwold’s flexibility in formulating his faith was not unusual.76 Rumwold encourages his family to take responsibility for articulating their own belief. As Rumwold improvises structures within his cultural network of belief, he reorchestrates them and renews his community’s Christian identity. After prophesying his three-day lifespan, Rumwold directs his family and priests to bury his body first in (King’s) Sutton for a year, then to translate his relics to Brackley for two years, and finally to inter them in Buckingham.77 The hagiographer explains that Rumwold’s posthumous journey and shrine remind and unite local Christians around their faith; Rumwold’s relics bestow healing favors upon those who ask ‘annuente Domino nostro Iesu Christo, qui in unitate trinitatis ac in trinitate unitatis uiuit et gloriatur Deus, cum genitore omnipotente unus et almo flamine per infinita secula seculorum’.78 Yet the hagiographer acknowledges that the names of Rumwold’s resting places did not exist in his lifetime.79 Perhaps the eleventh-century hagiographer reimagines the geography and the history of royal Christian conversions in the seventh century as a narrative exemplum for how shared Christian belief bridges political boundaries in a borderland region.80 In the seventh century, the region described in the Vita S. Rumwoldi along the River Ouse west of Watling Street 75

76

77 78

79 80

Vita S. Rumwoldi, x (ed. Love, pp. 108–109): ‘Kindred and brothers in Christ, you have heard in what manner you should confess the Trinity, and how you ought to keep its oneness firmly in your hearts and to persevere faithfully in this belief, namely that Father and Son and Holy Spirit are one God.’ Miranda Wilcox, ‘Confessing the Faith in Anglo-Saxon England’, JEGP, 113:3 (2014), 308–341. Vita S. Rumwoldi, xii (ed. Love, pp. 112–113). Vita S. Rumwoldi, xiii (ed. Love, pp. 114–115): ‘with the consent of our Lord Jesus Christ Who, in the unity of the Trinity and in the Trinity of the unity, lives and is glorified as God, one with the omnipotent Father and the Holy Spirit, throughout infinite ages’. The hagiographer’s enthusiasm does not match the sparse surviving evidence of Rumwold’s obscure cult (see pp. cxl–clix). Vita S. Rumwoldi, xii (ed. Love, pp. 112–113). The Vita S. Rumwoldi has been used as evidence that Sutton, Brackley, and Buckingham may have been interconnected ecclesiastical centers. See Keith Bailey, ‘The Church in Anglo-Saxon Buckinghamshire c.650-c.1100’, Records of Buckinghamshire, 43 (2003), 61–76.

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and east of the River Cherwell (now the contemporary border between Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire) was absorbed by Mercia circa 653 when Penda made his son Peada ruler of the Middle Angles and thereby became part of the Mercian southern borderland.81 In the ninth and tenth centuries, this area was a contested frontier between Danish and English Mercia.82 Edward the Elder fortified and garrisoned Buckingham in 914 to control the Roman road system coming from Danish-occupied territory.83 In the eleventh century, powerful earls and royal thanes competed for control of the Midlands, resulting in fragmented jurisdictions.84 Sally Crawford argues that ‘when society is undergoing change and social norms are being reconstructed, childhood and childhood memories become contested spaces.’85 Rumwold is one of several seventh-century Mercian royal cults centered in north Buckinghamshire, west Oxfordshire, and south Northamptonshire that focused on alleged descendants of Penda. The Mercian royal family may have promoted these cults to assert political and ecclesiastical control over the strategic area of the Middle Angles.86 However, Rumwold’s vita portrays the political situation of the seventh century differently than Bede. According to Bede, Penda was the last powerful pagan ruler among the English kingdoms; he scourged the surrounding Christian kingdoms, killing two Northumbrian kings and three East Anglia rulers to establish long-standing Mercian overlordship.87 Yet in the Vita S. Rumwoldi, Christian belief brings Mercia and Northumbria together; the two kings meet at King’s Sutton to celebrate the birth of Rumwold, who epitomizes Christian faith, to worship together, to establish ‘publicas res ciuiles equo discrimine’, and to rejoice

81

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83

84 85

86

87

David Dumville, ‘Essex, Middle Anglia, and the Expansion of Mercia in the South-East Midlands’, in Steven Bassett (ed.), The Origins of Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms (London, 1989), pp. 123–140, at pp. 130–131; Kim Taylor-Moore, ‘Borderlands: The Buckinghamshire/Northamptonshire Border, c.650-c.1350’ (unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Leicester, 2012), pp. 33–37. Arnold H. J. Baines, ‘The Danish Wars and the Establishment of the Borough and County of Buckingham’, Records of Buckinghamshire, 26 (1984 [1987]), 11–27. Arnold H. J. Baines, ‘The Development of the Borough of Buckingham, 9141086’, Records of Buckinghamshire, 27 (1985), 53–64. Taylor-Moore, ‘Borderlands’, pp. 64–73, 219–221. Sally Crawford, ‘Childhood and Adolescence: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Archaeological and Documentary Evidence’, in Susan Irvine and Winfried Rudolf (eds), Childhood and Adolescence in Anglo-Saxon Literary Culture (Toronto, 2018), pp. 15–31, at p. 22. See also Joyce Hill, ‘Childhood in the Lives of AngloSaxon Saints’, in Childhood and Adolescence, pp. 139–161. Alan Thacker, ‘Kings, Saints and Monasteries in Pre-Viking Mercia’, Midland History, 10 (1985), 1–25; Taylor-Moore, ‘Borderlands’, pp. 128–130. Bede, Historia ecclesiastica, II.xx, III.xxi, in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, eds and trans Bertram Colgrave and R. A. B. Mynors (Oxford, 1969), pp. 202–203, 278–281. See Damian Taylor’s assessment of Penda in ‘An Early Mercian Hegemony: Penda and Overkingship in the Seventh Century’, Midland History, 30:1 (2005), 1–19.



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‘in amore’.88 Through Rumwold, the hagiographer depicts Christianity as harmonizing relations between spouses, between generations of kin groups, and between competing kings. The natural and political communities are enveloped by the Christian church whose doctrinal and ethical tenets are preached by Rumwold. After his baptism and communion, he teaches his family and royal households how to persevere and profess their faith ‘quoniam hec confessio uita est cunctorum eam confitentium’.89 Rumwold’s professions manifest infant baptism as the intersection of the ethical and sacramental in the public cooperation between individuals and communities in renewing and transmitting their faith from one generation to the next. The Vita S. Rumwoldi illustrates that professing the faith during rites of initiation performed cultural work involving collective agent action and individual improvised agency. The work of belief involved more than reciting normative formulations; the entire community was invested in the formation and maintenance of its social identity through public performances of spoken, improvised formulations of its shared belief structures. Although religious belief has typically been conceptualized by modern philosophers, theologians, and anthropologists as a private, autonomous conviction to a well-defined set of cognitive propositions or as the imposition of social ideologies, we see in this saint’s life and in other medieval texts a social network of belief.90 Examining early medieval narratives of belief illuminates the intimate relation among agents in the formation of individual and collective belief and identity as they cultivated their consensus, alliance, and fidelity in a unified Christian community. In narratives of belief, I argue that individuals demonstrate their ‘agent action’ when they voluntarily participate in rituals of initiation, thereby adhering to institutional conventions. These individuals likewise display ‘agency’ when they improvise formulations of their faith, offering coherence amid theological complexity and variety of previous formulations. Such behavior demonstrates their ability to perform a Christian identity, an identity that secures their inclusion in earthly and heavenly communities of faith, an identity that Rumwold proclaims from the moment of his birth: ‘Christianus sum’.

88

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90

Vita S. Rumwoldi, iii (ed. Love pp. 96–97): ‘civil administration by a fair division’, ‘in mutual love’. Vita S. Rumwoldi, ix (ed. Love, pp. 108–109): ‘because this confession is life to all who make it’. Michael McCarthy, ‘Modalities of Belief in Ancient Christian Debate’, Journal of Early Christian Studies, 17 (2009), 605–634; John Van Engen, ‘Faith as a Concept of Order in Medieval Christendom’, in Thomas Albert Kselman (ed.), Belief in History: Innovative Approaches to European and American Religion (Notre Dame, 1991), pp. 19–67. I thank Don Chapman, Juliana Chapman, and Nicole Guenther Discenza for their wise feedback on this essay.

11 Holy Women on Display in Ælfric’s Lives of Saints Jonathan Davis-Secord

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ear the end of the twentieth century, Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe explored a shift that occurred near the end of the tenth century in the social meanings of displaying bodies in England. She noted that (at least by the year 1036) a person’s internal guilt was signalled by external, bodily signs.1 O’Brien O’Keeffe explored the interpretations of bodily mutilation and its legal adoption as an evidentiary trial, but her conclusions apply beyond the legal sphere and beyond mutilation specifically. In this chapter, I extrapolate from O’Brien O’Keeffe’s analytical framework to examine the display – actual or attempted – of women’s bodies in Ælfric’s Lives of Saints.2 Public exposure figures frequently in Ælfric’s Lives of women saints especially, and his treatment of the issue reveals a particular interest in the practice. I demonstrate that the exposure of women’s bodies, especially bodies of unmarried holy women, is necessary for expanding the Christian community. Each of the five unmarried holy women in the Lives of Saints suffers violation or attempted violation.3 Agnes was to be punished by being stripped naked and dragged to a brothel in an effort both to humiliate her and to objectify her sexually in front of a crowd of onlookers. No such exposure ever occurs, as Agnes’s hair miraculously grows to cover her body. After she is brought into the brothel, God sends her a shining tunic 1

2

3

Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Body and Law in Anglo-Saxon England’, AngloSaxon England, 27 (1998), 209–232. Walter W. Skeat (ed.), Ælfric’s Lives of Saints, EETS OS, 76, 82, 94, and 114 (London, 1881–1900), henceforth cited as LS. Three other holy women – namely Basilissa, Daria, and Cecilia – are highlighted as wives (to Julian, Crysanthus, and Valerian, respectively) and treated differently than the unmarried women. Daria is sent to a brothel ‘þam manfullan to gamene’ [‘for the sport of the wicked’] (LS 35, line 248), but the situation is dispensed with quickly and vaguely: ‘ac god hi gescylde wið þa sceandlican hæðenan’ [‘but God protected her against the shameful heathens’] (LS 35, line 249). None of the three married women are ever overtly exposed or threatened with exposure. The accounts of Euphrosyne and Mary of Egypt, the remaining two unmarried women in the collection, are anonymous interpolations into the collection and thus beyond the scope of this chapter.



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to cover her body again, and Agnes is thus doubly protected from anyone seeing her naked. Lucy was also to be dragged publicly to a brothel to ruin her virginity, but her body became miraculously immoveable. In Agatha’s tortures, her breast is cut off, but that state lasts a thankfully short time, as her body is miraculously healed and returned to a state of untouched perfection. Evidence of that miracle, however, is initially concealed by a bright light that chases off the guards and keeps them from seeing her healed breast. For these three saints, a display of their bodies is miraculously prevented in order to protect their virginity and sanctity. On the other hand, Eugenia’s and Æthelthryth’s bodies must be displayed in the course of their hagiographies. Eugenia initially conceals her body’s sexual identity, disguising herself as a man in order to join the Christians and later being elected abbot of her monastery. To clear herself of an accusation of fornication, she reveals her breasts to the ‘high-reeve’ (who happens to be her own father), proving herself a woman and converting her family and many others. Lastly, following a life of self-denial and bodily mortification in reparation for her early excesses, Æthelthryth is buried in a wooden coffin and then exhumed sixteen years later for translation into a new marble coffin. Her body remained uncorrupted in the grave and in fact became more pure than it had been in life, since a tumor on her neck and the wound incurred in treating it were miraculously healed. A doctor’s examination of her body supports her sanctity, leading to greater veneration ‘mannum to wundrunge’ [‘as a wonderful sight for people’] (LS 20.101), suggesting continued display of her body or at least her miraculous marble coffin. Applying O’Brien O’Keeffe’s framework to the saintly body in hagiography requires some explanation. Some scholars justifiably argue that the hagiographical body is actively decentralized, since religious texts ostensibly encode a paradigm that rejects the world and the present life in preference for life in heaven after death.4 Nonetheless, the body remains inescapable in Ælfric’s Lives of women saints, since it provided the main – if not quite only – avenue for women to demonstrate sanctity in the early church and early Middle Ages.5 The preservation of virginity through 4

5

See Alison Gulley, The Displacement of the Body in Ælfric’s Virgin Martyr Lives (Burlington, 2014); Alison Gulley, ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door: Sexual Renunciation, Eschatology, and Liminality in Ælfric’s Lives of the Virgin Spouses’, JEGP, 117:2 (2018), 141–159; and Alison Gulley, ‘Suffering and Salvation: Birthing Pains in Ælfric’s Life of Agatha’, Medieval Perspectives, 17:1 (2002), 105–120. Physical violence can be taken as metaphorical, as argued in Shari Horner, ‘The Violence of Exegesis: Reading the Bodies of Ælfric’s Female Saints’, in Anna Roberts (ed.), Violence Against Women in Medieval Texts (Gainesville, 1998), pp. 22–43, and Shari Horner, The Discourse of Enclosure: Representing Women in Old English Literature (Albany, 2001); Elaine Treharne, ‘The Invisible Woman: Ælfric and his Subject Female’, Leeds Studies in English, 37 (2006), 191–208, argues for the invisibility of women in Ælfric’s homilies, but she discusses rhetorical, not physical, invisibility of women’s subjectivity. See Jane Tibbets Schulenburg, ‘Female Sanctity: Public and Private Roles, ca.

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chastity thus became the major focus of early hagiography, necessitating great attention to the body and its behaviors.6 Moreover, bodily pain in hagiography provides an avenue for the dissolution of the self that can lead to spiritual transcendence.7 Saints thus seek torture in service of their rejection of the world, producing an ironic reliance on the body in texts that call for the spurning of the physical world. Consequently, one finds surprising emphasis on saints’ bodies in hagiography, with Ælfric’s collection following that general trend while adding a special interest in the public display of unmarried women’s bodies. O’Brien O’Keeffe’s argument on the effect of observing mutilated bodies relies on the concept that one could ‘read’ the body and specifically the effects of trial by ordeal to determine guilt or innocence. She contends that ‘[i]n the conduct of the ordeal, the forensic exactment is evidentiary, not penal: the body is set up to confess its guilt, and punishment, if necessary, will follow’, and, even more pithily, that ‘[u]nlike death, mutilation is evidentiary: its result produces knowledge about the criminal.’8 Her analysis stems from the idea of the ‘spectacle’, with outside observation acting in lieu of the verbal confession more familiar to modern law. She

6

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8

500–1100’, in Mary Erler and Maryanne Kowaleski (eds), Women and Power in the Middle Ages (Athens, 1988), pp. 102–125, at p. 105, cited and discussed in Jacqueline Stodnick, ‘Bodies of Land: The Place of Gender in the Old English Martyrology’, in Paul E. Szarmach (ed.), Writing Women Saints in Anglo-Saxon England (Toronto, 2013), pp. 36–37. Clare A. Lees and Gillian R. Overing discuss the continuing relevance of women’s bodies (and thus their virginity) to their sanctity in Double Agents: Women and Clerical Culture in Anglo-Saxon England (Philadelphia, 2001; repr. Cardiff, 2009), pp. 149–203. See also the discussion of Goscelin’s employment of, and possible attempts to move beyond, the ‘virginity-under-pursuit’ motif in Rosalind Love, ‘“Torture Me, Rend Me, Burn Me, Kill Me!” Goscelin of Saint-Bertin and the Depiction of Female Sanctity’, in Szarmach (ed.), Writing Women Saints in Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 274–306. Similarly, Æthelthryth may have presented an extrapolation from concerns with literal virginity; see John Black, ‘“Nutrix pia”: The Flowering of the Cult of St Æthelthryth in Anglo-Saxon England’, in Szarmach (ed.), Writing Women Saints in Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 167–190. Stodnick notes that ‘[b]ecause the preservation of chastity is the most prevalent reason for the martyrdom of female saints, female hagiographical texts tend to focus an inordinate amount of attention on the living body of the saint rather than on the dead body’; ‘Bodies of Land’, p. 45. Of course, one finds significant attention to virginity in Aldhelm’s opus geminatum on virginity in Aldhelmi Opera, ed. Rudolf Ehwald, MGH Auctores Antiquissimi 15 (Berlin, 1919). See Virginia Burrus, The Sex Lives of Saints: An Erotics of Ancient Hagiography (Philadelphia, 2007), which builds on Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (Oxford, 1987). Renée Trilling applies Burrus’s paradigm to early medieval English hagiography in ‘Heavenly Bodies: Paradoxes of Female Martyrdom in Ælfric’s Lives of Saints’, in Szarmach (ed.), Writing Women Saints in Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 249–273. For a theoretical perspective on the connection between body and subject, see Jacqueline A. Stodnick and Renée R. Trilling, ‘Before and After Theory: Seeing through the Body in Early Medieval England’, postmedieval, 1 (2010), 347–353. O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Body and Law’, pp. 224 and 227.



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demonstrates that the body came to provide knowledge of the individual’s interior state: mutilation did not simply punish a criminal; it demonstrated and announced the criminal’s guilt to subsequent observers. Only a guilty person, according to the logic of the trial by ordeal, would suffer injury; by extension, the injury itself proves the person’s guilt. While the results of successful mutilation became evidence of guilt, however, the observation necessary to gather and assess that evidence can be disentangled from the act of mutilation. Indeed, trials by ordeal that resulted in no mutilation provided equally useful evidence through the absence of injury, but observation was just as necessary in determining innocence in such situations. This understanding of the changes in early medieval English culture relies on, but also often argues against, Foucault’s analysis of observation in Discipline and Punish.9 Foucault, as O’Brien O’Keeffe notes, bases his claims on an inaccurate or at least imprecise understanding of early medieval culture as an inverse or even antithesis of ‘modern’ practices.10 We can nonetheless find good evidence that the ideas Foucault attributes to modernity were also present in early medieval England, particularly in texts by or known to Ælfric. For example, Ælfric alludes to the etymology of the word bishop (OE biscop) in explaining a bishop’s duties and thereby invokes the idea that observation produces power: Biscop sceal læran. his leoda symble. mid boclicere lare. and him bysnian wel. ðreagan ða ðwyran. and ða ðeawfæstan lufian. beon heora hyrde. hold under criste. ealle ofersceawigende. swa swa his nama swegð. and yfel ne forsuwige. ne unriht ne geðafige; (CH II.19.100–104)11 [A bishop must always educate his people with learned instruction and give them a good example; correct the perverse, and love the virtuous; be their shepherd, devoted under Christ, overseeing all, just as his name signifies, and not remain silent about evil nor allow wrong.]

A bishop ‘oversees’, a direct etymological definition deriving from the Indo-European roots *epi– ‘at’ and *spek– ‘to observe’, more overtly obvious in the Latin episcopus.12 While Ælfric specifies responsibilities stemming from the bishop’s position, those responsibilities (especially teaching, correcting, and shepherding) put the bishop in a position of power, and the act of overseeing all (‘ealle ofersceawigende’) encompasses and distils the various duties into the essential act of observation. 9

10 11

12

Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans. Alan Sheridan, 2nd edn (New York, 1995), cited and discussed by O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Body and Law’, pp. 228–231. O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Body and Law’, p. 230. Ælfric, Ælfric’s Catholic Homilies: The Second Series, Text, ed. Malcom Godden, EETS SS 5 (London, 1979), henceforth cited as CH II. On the Indo-European roots, see Calvert Watkins (ed.), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots (Boston, 2000), s.v. epi– and spek–.

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The idea that those in power observe those subject to that power also appears in a text with which Ælfric must have been intimately familiar: the Benedictine Rule. At several points in the Rule, quoted here in Æthelwold’s Old English translation, God watches human behavior, and the angels even report back constantly: wite manna gehwylc, þæt he bið a gesewen fram drithne of heofonum on ælcne timan; on ælcere stowe his dæda beoð gesewene fram godcundre gesyhþe and on ælcne timan fram englum gebodode;13 [Every person should know that he is always seen by the lord from heaven at all times. In every place, his deeds will be seen by divine vision and at all times be reported by angels.] Æghwar we gelyfað, þæt Godes andweardnes sy and gesihð, and his eagan behealdað ægþer ge þa godan ge þa yfelan; þeah swiþost we þæs butan ælcere tweonunge gelyfen, þonne we æt Godes weorce wuniað. Forþy þonne syn we a gemyndige, þæs þe se witiga þus cwæð: ‘Ðeowiað eoweran drihtne mid ege’; and eft: ‘Singað wislice’, and: ‘On engla gesihðe ic singe ðe’. Eornostlice uton besceawian, hu we wunien on Godes gesyhþe and on his engla; and þonne swa standan æt þam sealmsange, þæt ure mod geþwærige mid þæs muðes clypunge.14 [We believe that God’s presence and sight are everywhere, and his eyes behold both the good and the evil, although we should most strongly believe this without any doubt when we are at God’s work. We should therefore always keep in mind what the prophet says: ‘Serve your lord with fear’; and again: ‘Sing wisely’ and ‘I will sing to you in the sight of angels’. Let us earnestly consider how we should live in the sight of God and his angels, and then stand at the singing of psalms such that our mind agrees with our mouth’s speech.]

In these passages, God’s authority is concisely encapsulated in his literal oversight. The fear of God, which the Rule suggests one should keep in mind, is presented as the logical consequence of knowing that God is always watching. It is the knowledge of being under constant surveillance that motivates right living and an alignment of thought and behavior. The distinction between thought and speech (metonymically signifying behavior generally) alludes to the necessity of assessing obedience, which can only be done through the observation and interpretation of behavior. As O’Brien O’Keeffe shows in Stealing Obedience: In fact, within the relation of obedience the problem of interpretation is always present: the subject must always interpret his abbot’s command, 13

14

Arnold Schröer (ed.), Die angelsächsischen Prosabearbeitungen der Benediktinerregel, 2nd edn rev. by Helmut Gneuss (Darmstadt, 1964), p. 24, lines 9–12. Translations are my own, but also see Jacob Riyeff (trans.), The Old English Rule of Saint Benedict with Related Old English Texts (Collegeville, 2017). Schröer, Die angelsächsischen Prosabearbeitungen, p. 45, lines 3–12.



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even while desiring to complete his obedience without delay. And the abbot, as we shall see, must interpret his subject’s actions even to understand the terms of his own order.15

Without the evidence of observed behavior, the abbot could not assess a monk’s intention or the extent of his actual obedience, and thus the abbot’s power depends on his observation of his monks’ obedience. That obedience is generalized, moreover, to the entire community in the Rule, requiring by implication that all brothers observe each other, mark delinquency, interpret behaviors, and consequently enforce the abbot’s power through peer pressure, so to speak.16 Given his own comments describing the role of the bishop and the underlying social structuring of the Rule, Ælfric must have been aware that observation implicates both the observer and the observed within a matrix of power relationships. This observation-as-power dynamic accrues an additional element when women are the targets of the gaze. The modern understanding of the act of looking at women assumes sexualization as given: men looking at women always involves sexual objectification. This sexualization of power and gazing has informed modern scholarship since Laura Mulvey’s 1975 essay, ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, although her argument concerns modern film.17 The collocation of sexual desire and observation was also not lost on the early medieval English.18 For Ælfric, men observing other men produces a power matrix, but men looking at women could

15

16

17

18

Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, Stealing Obedience: Narratives of Agency and Identity in Later Anglo-Saxon England (Toronto, 2012), p. 42. Foucauldian readings of communal surveillance in other monastic rules have been mounted before. Nira Gradowicz-Pancer, ‘Le “panoptisme” monastique. Structures de surveillance et de contrôle dans le cénobitisme occidental ancien (Ve–VIe siècles)’, Revue de l’histoire des religions, 216:2 (1999), 167–192, at p. 188, suggests that, in early monastic rules, ‘Chaque frère est un agent potentiel du contrôle d’autrui’ [‘Each brother is a potential agent in the control of others’]. Bruno Uchoa Borgongino, ‘Práticas de poder sobre o corpo na Regula Isidori (615-619)’, Brathair, 11:2 (2011), 28–42, argues that the Rule of Isidore commanded constant observation (34) and each monk would report the infractions of his fellow monks to the abbot, lest he be considered an accomplice (cúmplice, 35). Laura Mulvey, ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, in Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen (eds), Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings (New York, 1999), pp. 833–844. Mulvey’s reading of Freud and Lacan has been challenged and debated over the years, but it remains seminally influential. For subsequent work qualifying and supporting Mulvey’s essential concepts, see Joan Copjec, Read My Desire: Lacan Against the Historicists (Cambridge, MA, 1994); Clifford T. Manlove, ‘Visual “Drive” and Cinematic Narrative: Reading Gaze Theory in Lacan, Hitchcock, and Mulvey’, Cinema Journal, 46:3 (2007), 83–108; and Henry Krips, ‘The Politics of the Gaze: Foucault, Lacan and Žižek’, Culture Unbound, 2 (2010), 91–102. See, for example, Karma Lochrie, ‘Gender, Sexual Violence, and the Politics of War in the Old English Judith’, in Britton J. Harwood and Gillian R. Overing (eds), Class and Gender in Early English Literature: Intersections (Bloomington, 1994), 1–20.

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be tantamount to sin. In fact, Ælfric viewed all five senses as enabling sin. Following the examples of Jerome, Isidore, and Bede, he metaphorically compares the senses to the gate of a city and gives examples of how they can be the source of sin: Þæt portgeat getacnað sum lichamlic andgit. þe men þurh syngiað. Se man þe tosæwð ungeþwærnysse betwux cristenum mannum. oððe se ðe sprecð unrihtwisnysse on heannysse. þurh his muþes geat he bið dead geferod. Se þe behylt wimman mid galre gesihðe ⁊ fulum luste. þurh his eagena geat he geswutelað his sawle deað. Se þe ydele spellunge. oððe talice word lustlice gehyrð: þonne macað he his eare him sylfum to deaðes geate. Swa is eac be þam oþrum andgyttum. to understandenne. (CH I.33.23–35)19 [The city gate represents any bodily sense, through which men sin. The man who sows discord among Christian people or speaks evilly from a position of authority, he will be carried dead through the gate of his mouth. He who gazes upon a woman with a lascivious leer and foul lust, he reveals the death of his soul through the gate of his eyes. He who listens to empty talk or blasphemous words with pleasure, he makes his ears a portal of his own death. The other senses should be understood in this same way.]

Here, as liminal gateways between the world and the soul, the senses allow, and consequently become the means for, sinning.20 Tellingly, lust is the typical sin which Ælfric associates with sight, while the typical sins of the mouth (metonymically representing taste, one assumes21) and of hearing have overtly religious connections. Ælfric’s conception of vision, moreover, may have been rather more intimate than our modern understanding of optics allows. Classical theories of vision that treat it effectively as a type of tactile sensation, with images created by ‘particles’ emitted from objects and then contacting the eye in a form of ‘intromission’, were most likely foreign to Ælfric.22 The 19

20

21

22

Ælfric, Ælfric’s Catholic Homilies, The First Series, Text, ed. Peter Clemoes, EETS SS 17 (Oxford, 1997), henceforth cited simply as CH I. For additional discussion of this passage and its patristic roots, see Rosa Maria Fera, ‘Metaphors for the Five Senses in Old English Prose’, The Review of English Studies, NS, 63:262 (2011), 709–731, at pp. 711–715. The original, biblical source for this city gate metaphor is Matthew 5:28: ‘omnis qui viderit mulierem ad concupiscendum eam iam moechatus est eam in corde suo’ [‘each one who has looked at a woman in order to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart’]; R. Weber (ed.), Biblia sacra iuxta vulgatam versionem, 2nd edn (Stuttgart, 1975). For discussion on Ælfric’s hierarchy of the senses, see Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Hands and Eyes, Sight and Touch: Appraising the Senses in AngloSaxon England’, Anglo-Saxon England, 45 (2016), 105–140, at pp. 120–123. On metonymy in the senses, see O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Hands and Eyes, Sight and Touch’, pp. 106–110 and passim. On premodern theories of optics, see David C. Lindberg, Theories of Vision from Al-Kindi to Kepler (Chicago, 1976), pp. 2–3; Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Seeing through the Veil: Optical Theory and Medieval Allegory (Toronto, 2004), especially



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idea that vision rays were emitted from the eye to touch the object being viewed, on the other hand, may have held more currency, but it is doubtful that Ælfric had direct access to such discussions by Galen, the most famous source of such ‘extramission’ theory. He was familiar, however, with the works of Augustine, and he very possibly learned elements of the extramission theory from them.23 Augustine describes rays of material light emitting from the eyes, with the result that ‘the sense of sight proceeding from the viewer receives the visible form impressed upon it by the object seen.’24 Augustine overtly notes that these rays are corporeal (‘corporeae lucis’) as opposed to the two other types of sight, spiritual and intellectual.25 This conception of the sense of sight as a corporeal activity explains a large part of the danger of men looking at women: it casts the gaze as a physical interaction in which the image of the seen body is imprinted on the mind materially and even affects the soul. Looking is not simply tantamount to touching, it is in fact literally a form of touching. This discussion demonstrates that Ælfric generally recognized a connection between observation and power as well as between observation and sexual desire. I argue that these connections reappear in his Lives of unmarried women saints, specifically Agatha, Agnes, Lucy, Eugenia, and Æthelthryth. Indeed, Ælfric heightens or emphasizes the displays of their bodies at certain points in reworking his sources, demonstrating the event’s importance to the Old English versions. For example, compared to the Latin source, the Old English account of Agatha’s sentencing makes subtle changes in its explanation of the context: Þa het se woda dema hyre wæda of adon and hi swa nacode gelædan . to þam forligres huse . and het clypian geond þa stræt . and cyðan be þysum. (LS 7.141–43) [Then the infuriated judge commanded that her clothes be removed and that she thus be led naked to the whorehouse, and he commanded that it be announced and made known throughout the streets.]

Ælfric’s text specifies that the procession displaying Agnes naked was publicly announced, but the Latin text is not similarly overt:

23

24

25

pp. 23–24; and Margaret R. Miles, Rereading Historical Theology: Before, During, and After Augustine (Eugene, 2008), pp. 207–228. For Ælfric’s citations of Augustine, see Michael Lapidge, The Anglo-Saxon Library (Oxford, 2006). Lapidge bases his information on the Fontes Anglo-Saxonici Project, ed. R. Jayatilaka, Fontes Anglo-Saxonici: World Wide Web Register, . Akbari, Seeing through the Veil, p. 28, describing Augustine’s discussions in De Trinitate and De Genesi ad litteram. Akbari, Seeing through the Veil, pp. 26–27, quoting De Genesi ad litteram IV.xxxiv.54.

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Ad haec insanus judex jussit eam exspoliari, et nudam ad lupanar duci, sub voce praeconis dicens Agnem sacrilegam virginem, deos blasphemantem, scortum lupanaribus datam.26 [At this the infuriated judge ordered her to be stripped and led naked to the brothel, saying sub voce praeconis that Agnes, as an impious virgin/girl and blasphemer of the gods, was to be given over to the prostitutes.]

Although early medieval Anglo-Latin usage could employ praeco in a limited sense as some sort of a general official,27 probably the phrase still held an implication of public announcement, given the continued use of the word with the classical meaning of ‘crier’.28 Implication, however, seems to have been insufficient for Ælfric, since the Old English transforms the prepositional phrase into a full clause – a clause moreover with two verbs emphasizing the public and actively-advertized nature of the punishment. This expansion on the source in translation betrays much greater interest in the public nature of the situation in the Old English than in the Latin. The public character of Agnes’s threatened display must have been too important to leave to simple implication that could be missed by an insufficiently attentive audience. No anxiety about the dangers of sexualized gazing is found in Ælfric’s life of Eugenia, in which her exposure is necessary to prove her innocence. Moreover, her exposure is very public as part of legal proceedings, yet it elicits no apparent concern from Ælfric: Æfter þysum wordum heo to-tær hyre gewædu . and æt-æwde hyre breost . þam breman philippe . and cwæð him to . þu eart min fæder . … Ða oncneow philippus swa swa fæder eugenian . and auitus . and særgius . hyra agene swyster . and hyra hyred-cnihtas . hi eadmodlice cyston . Þis wearð sona gecyd . claudian . þære mæder . and heo mid wundrunge wearð befangen . and to eugenian com mid ealre blysse . Hi þa gefretewodon . þa fæmnan mid golde hyre un-þances . and up gesætton to him . Þa clypode þæt folc . þæt crist wære soð god .

26

27 28

R. Jayatilaka’s entry in Fontes Anglo-Saxonici Project (ed.), Fontes AngloSaxonici: World Wide Web Register, http://fontes.english.ox.ac.uk/, notes that the printed edition closest to Ælfric’s source is in PL 17.736C–737A, with this passage appearing on 738C. Jayatilaka’s entries in Fontes Anglo-Saxonici – this one and those noted below – are based on Patrick Zettel, ‘Ælfric’s Hagiographic Sources and the Latin Legendary Preserved in B.L. MS Cotton Nero E I + CCCC MS 9 and Other Manuscripts’ (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Oxford University, 1979). Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources (DMLBS), s.v. praeco, sense 3. DMLBS, s.v. praeco, sense 1.



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and hi ealle herodon þonne hælend mid wuldre . (LS 2.233–235, 247–256) [After these words, she tore her garments and revealed her breasts to the raging Philip and said to him, ‘You are my father’. … Then Philip recognized Eugenia as a father, and Avitus and Sergius [recognized her as] their own sister, and her household servants humbly kissed her. This was immediately made known to Claudia, her mother, and she was seized with astonishment and came to Eugenia with complete joy. Then they adorned the woman with gold against her will and set her up next to them. Then the people proclaimed that Christ was the true God, and they all praised the savior with glory.]

In this moment, Eugenia loses almost all vestiges of potential agency.29 Faced with the choice between a guilty verdict and subsequent punishment on one side and, on the other, exculpation through the revelation of her hidden identity, Eugenia makes what seems to be her very last independent action in the narrative. Immediately after the revelation, she is forcibly adorned and displayed on the dais with the rest of her family against her will (‘hyre un-þances’). This forced exposure and her loss of control, however, produce positive results from a hegemonic Christian perspective: they lead to large-scale conversion and declarations of Christ’s divinity, quite a reversal of Philip’s previous expulsion of the Christians (LS 2.33–34). Ælfric’s account of Lucy provides a counterpoint in what it eliminates from its source. Like Agnes, Lucy is threatened with delivery to a brothel but, again like Agnes, is divinely spared from that punishment. Ælfric retains from his source Lucy’s immovability as the form of her miraculous protection, but he eliminates what, in the context of this analysis, seems to be a perfect threat of public exposure. In Ælfric’s version, anonymous henchmen of Paschasius, Lucy’s pagan tormentor, move to carry out his threat with little ado: Þa wolde se wælhreowa his word gefyllan . þæt heo wurde gelæd to þære laðan fulnysse . and begunnon hi teon to þære galnysse huse . (LS 9.94–96) [Then the cruel man wanted his command to be carried out – [namely] that she be led to loathsome impurity – and they began to drag her to the house of lust.]

This account eliminates several details found in the Latin source, including a rather disturbing version of the threat itself:

29

On the concept of agency in early medieval England, see O’Brien O’Keeffe, Stealing Obedience. Ælfric seems mainly to be following his source, not introducing the issue of agency on his own.

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Tunc consularis iussit venire lenones, & tradidit eam illis, dicens: Inuitate populum ad castitatem eius, & facite eam tamdiu illudi, donec mortua nuncietur.30 [Then the consul ordered the pimps to come, and he handed her over to them, saying, ‘Invite the people to her chastity, and have her violated for a long time, until she is announced dead.’]

Here, Paschasius makes his earlier command more explicit and deadly: he wants Lucy to be raped to death. This punishment goes well beyond the ‘defile-at-the-brothel’ trope of other passiones, such as that of Agnes. Most threats of this sort imagine forced prostitution as a way to break a woman’s will, ruin her virginity, and possibly convince her to consent to marriage (as insane as that reasoning actually is). Paschasius’s command to the pimps, on the other hand, abandons defilement as a means to any end other than murder. Moreover, it expresses the reality of forced prostitution where other instances of this trope are fairly euphemistic. In Agnes’s passio, for example, Symphronius offers the choice of sacrificing to Vesta or else ‘cum meretricibus scortaberis in contubernio lupanari’ [‘you will consort with prostitutes in the habitation of a brothel’], soon after repeating his threat in different words: ‘ad ignominam natalium tuorum eris publicae abjectionis scortum’ [‘to the shame of your parents, you will be a prostitute of public abjection’] (PL 17.738A). The first wording seems bowdlerized in its indirectness, and Ælfric’s rendering of it follows suit (‘þu laðum myltestrum / scealt beon geferlæht’ [‘you shall be associated with loathsome prostitutes’] (LS 7.119–120)). The Latin’s second wording approaches an expression of the situation’s reality, and Ælfric notably omits it from his translation. Paschasius’s Latin threat to Lucy, in contrast, is entirely overt in its sexual violence. Raw sexual violence must have gone too far for Ælfric, given its absence from his translation. As a result of its absence, the Old English version avoids the most overt and violent forms of sexualization. A comparatively bloodless threat of display remains, however, demonstrating its importance to Ælfric. An interest in the display of women’s bodies is also present in Ælfric’s description of Æthelthryth’s exhumation. Ælfric adapted his version from Bede’s presentation of the doctor’s eye-witness account in the Ecclesiastical History: Cumque post tot annos eleuanda essent ossa de sepulchro, et extento desuper papilione, omnis congregatio, hinc fratrum inde sororum, psallens circumstaret, ipsa autem abbatissa intus cum paucis ossa elatura et dilutura

30

R. Jayatilaka’s entry in Fontes Anglo-Saxonici identifies the Latin source as published in Laurentius Surius [Lorenz Sauer] (ed.), De probatis sanctorum historiis (6 vols, Cologne, 1571–1580), vol. 6, pp. 892–894, with this passage appearing on p. 893, but some readings closer to Ælfric’s are found in Boninus Mombritius [Bonino Mombrizio] (ed.), Sanctuarium seu vitae sanctorum, 2nd edn (1910; repr. Hildesheim, 1978), pp. 107–109.



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intrasset, repente audiuimus abbatissam intus clara uoce proclamare: ‘Sit gloria nomini Domini’. Nec multo post clamauerunt me intus, reserato ostio papilionis, uidique eleuatum de tumulo et positum in lectulo corpus sacrae Deo uirginis quasi dormientis simile. Sed et discooperto uultus indumento monstrauerunt mihi etiam uulnus incisurae, quod feceram, curatum, ita ut mirum in modum pro aperto et hiante uulnere, cum quo sepulta erat, tenuissima tunc cicatricis uestigia parerent.31 [And after so many years, the bones were to be elevated from the grave, and with a pavilion spread out the entire congregation – here brothers, there sisters – stood around singing psalms; but the abbess herself along with a few others had entered within in order to raise and remove [or wash] the bones. Suddenly we heard the abbess from inside proclaim clearly, ‘Glory be to the name of the Lord’. Not long afterwards, they called me inside, with the tent’s door pulled aside, and I saw the body of the virgin sacred to God raised from the tomb and placed on a bed as though similar to someone sleeping. Moreover, with the face covering pulled back, they even showed me the wound of the incision which I had made, healed such that in miraculous fashion, in place of the open and gaping wound with which she was buried, then there appeared the slightest sign of a scar.]

Bede carefully points out that access to Æthelthryth’s body was restricted, with only the abbess and a select group allowed into the tent that had been erected to protect the process from outside observation. Indeed, Bede’s version implies that even the doctor examines the body only partially, seeing her neck but with the rest of the body remaining covered.32 Not so in Ælfric’s version: and Sexburh seo abbudise het slean an geteld bufan ða byrgene . wolde þa ban gaderian . Hi sungon ða ealle sealmas . and lic-sang . þa hwile þe man ða byrgene bufan geopenode . þa læg heo on ðære cyste . swylce heo læge on slæpe hal eallum limum . and se læce wæs ðær ðe þæt ge-swell geopenode . and hi sceawode georne. (LS 20.86–92) [And Sexburh the abbess ordered a tent be erected above the grave; she wanted to collect the bones. Then they all sang psalms and dirges while someone opened the grave from above. She lay there in the coffin as though she lay in sleep, healthy in all her limbs. And the doctor who had opened the tumor was there, and he examined her carefully.]

Ælfric’s version mentions the tent, but its presence and effect are much diminished, since there is no specification that it limited the audience. 31

32

Bede, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, IV.19; Bertram Colgrave and R. A. B. Mynors (eds and trans), Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Oxford, 1969), p. 394. Virginia Blanton, Signs of Devotion: The Cult of St. Æthelthryth in Medieval England, 695–1615 (University Park, PA, 2007), pp. 41–42.

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Ælfric’s version also eliminates the restriction of the doctor’s inspection, noting a careful – and evidently general – examination instead. The changes in Ælfric’s version demonstrate less anxiety over the display of Æthelthryth’s body than is present in Bede’s version. Moreover, displaying Æthelthryth’s body became quite important, as her body’s presence and display became a major element of the religious identity of Ely.33 Saintly bodies, as relics, developed into a source of great cultural capital by Ælfric’s time. Beginning with Alfred and subsequently significantly boosted by his grandson Æthelstan, private, non-ecclesiastical relic collections held by individuals were treasured status symbols.34 Relics were of course also highly prized by ecclesiastical institutions, both for their healing possibilities and for their so-called ‘economic benefits’.35 Relics were a source of cultural power in the transitory, earthly world, based on their spiritual value but also on the material value of their enclosures. Reliquaries conferred material ‘costliness’ on their contents through their adornments, sometimes consisting of ivory, gold, crystal, and gemstones, all beautifully wrought.36 In addition to adding material value, reliquaries also honored their contents because that material value literalized and demonstrated the abstract, spiritual value of the relics,37 ‘rendering the valueless invaluable’.38 Relics only produce material and cultural capital, however, when made accessible. Lay collectors could allow select individuals to tour their collections or would make gifts of relics in the same way they would make a gift of non-spiritual treasure.39 Churches and cathedrals had a vested interest in accepting and retaining relics while making them accessible to pilgrims and petitioners. Consequently, shrines and monuments became centerpieces of sites of pilgrimage and often would make or break an institution. For example, the translation of the relics of St Swithun to a 33

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38 39

Mary Clayton, ‘Centralism and Uniformity versus Localism and Diversity: The Virgin and Native Saints in the Monastic Reform’, Peritia, 8 (1994), 95–106, at p. 103, cited by Rebecca Stephenson, ‘Assuming Virginity: Tradition and the Naked Narrative in Ælfric’s Homily on the Assumption of the Virgin’, in Szarmach (ed.), Writing Women Saints in Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 103–120, at p. 103. Christopher A. Jones, ‘Old English Words for Relics of the Saints’, Florilegium, 26 (2009), 85–129, at p. 112. Michael Lapidge, ‘The Saintly Life in Anglo-Saxon England’, in Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature, 2nd edn (Cambridge, 2013), pp. 251–272, at p. 252. Julia M. H. Smith, ‘Rulers and Relics c. 750–c. 950: Treasure on Earth, Treasure in Heaven’, Past and Present, Supplement 5 (2010), 73–96, at p. 75. Cynthia Hahn, ‘Metaphor and Meaning in Early Medieval Reliquaries’, in Giselle de Nie, Karl F. Morrison, and Marco Mostert (eds), Seeing the Invisible in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (Turnhout, 2005), pp. 239–263, at p. 239. Smith, ‘Rulers and Relics’, p. 76. Smith, ‘Rulers and Relics’; David Rollason, Saints and Relics in Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 1989).



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shrine inside Winchester’s Old Minster was heralded by several miracles, according to Swithun’s various hagiographers, and produced a great spike in Winchester’s relevancy and influence.40 While the public accessibility of relics is obviously different from the forced exposure of living women’s bodies, both types of display ultimately serve the same purpose: the expansion of the Christian community. The forced exposures of women’s bodies in the Lives of Saints frequently lead to conversion and the expansion of Christendom, a process most obviously and directly depicted when Eugenia’s exposed breasts cause her family and many others present to convert. On the other hand, beyond the pragmatic importance of relics noted above, the possibility of miracles produced by their presence and the potential subsequent conversions made the display of relics especially important and attractive to medieval ecclesiasts.41 While devotion to Mary was an important aspect of the Benedictine Reform that produced Ælfric, there was also a marked interest in local saints and the collection of their relics.42 The cult of Æthelthryth in Ely in particular seems to have served to legitimize the refoundation of a monastery there, with her relics forming an essential element of that process.43 Indeed, the presence and display of physical relics anywhere attracted pilgrims, and miracles attributed to relics strengthened the Christian community and expanded it through further conversions. Relics of male saints were certainly also put on display, but less emphasis was put on the importance and effects of the body in life for men than for women. For example, Chrysanthus (Daria’s husband) was stripped for punishment, but not in a sexual way: rather, he was sewed up nude inside an ox hide and set out in the sun, presumably so that the hide should have shrunk and hardened painfully, a result miraculously prevented. As noted at the beginning of this chapter, however, men had other avenues in addition to their bodies by which they might achieve sanctity, while women were largely limited to demonstrating sanctity through their bodily behaviors. This dichotomy is of course a standard outgrowth of the general injustice of patriarchal systems, which Lees and Overing boil down in their comment that ‘women reproduce, men produce’.44 This reproduction need not be literally biological; indeed, Lees and Overing make their pithy observation in their discussion of Abbess Hild’s met-

40

41

42

43

44

Joyce Hill, ‘Ælfric: His Life and Works’, in Hugh Magennis and Mary Swan (eds), A Companion to Ælfric (Leiden, 2009), pp. 35–65, at p. 49, and Michael Lapidge, The Cult of St Swithun (Oxford, 2003), passim. See Susan J. Ridyard, The Royal Saints of Anglo-Saxon England (Cambridge, 1989), p. 107. Clayton, ‘Centralism and Uniformity’, pp. 98–99, citing Rollason, Saints and Relics, and Ridyard, Royal Saints. Clayton, ‘Centralism and Uniformity’, p. 101, citing Ridyard, Royal Saints, pp. 176–196. Lees and Overing, Double Agents, p. 20.

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aphorical ‘mothering’ of bishops and religious men. Nonetheless, the woman’s physical body remains essential. Similar to the way in which a woman’s body functions as ‘a unit of exchange’ of nearly abstract value while still remaining an unavoidably material body,45 mothering can never be fully abstracted from the body, no matter how metaphorical it may be. Thus, women’s bodies in literature and as relics can never escape that association, remaining consistently and fundamentally important in a way that is not true for men.46 It is within this paradigm that Ælfric’s Lives of Saints consistently foreground displays of unmarried women’s saintly bodies. While Ælfric supports and celebrates Christian women who resist pagan culture in defending their virginity, he also needs their bodies to continue reproducing Christianity in a metaphorical sense. Since maternity, even metaphorical maternity, remains inseparable from the body, Ælfric cannot let these saints’ bodies fade into the background, whether rhetorically or narratively. The moments of display therefore gain additional emphasis or duration, as with Agnes and Eugenia, or the anxiety around the display is minimized, as with Æthelthryth. Overt, raw sexual violence was still off limits, as the changes to the threats to Lucy demonstrate, but the non-sexual expansion of the Christian community through displays of the body was still necessary. Observing women’s bodies does not always produce knowledge about the individual in the way O’Brien O’Keeffe finds with mutilation, but a similar power structure operates in both situations. The observation that discerns information subjugates the observed individual – whether a defendant after a trial by ordeal or a monk obeying his abbot – to a hierarchical structure in which the observer has the most power. The observation that expands the Christian community always comes in the context of disparities of power as well. Eugenia’s vita gives a particularly obvious example in her loss of independent action upon revealing her body at trial, but all of the unmarried women saints in Ælfric’s Lives of Saints operate as subjugated individuals in their narratives. Without those imbalances of power, they could never be forced onto display. Even Æthelthryth’s posthumous exhumation and translation reinscribes her body within the church power structure, fully making it an object to be used for the purpose of expanding the community. In each case, the power structure depends at some level on observation, and O’Brien O’Keeffe’s analytical framework thus allows us to discover a variety of effects that it produces.

45 46

Trilling, ‘Heavenly Bodies’, p. 269. As Lees and Overing note (Double Agents, p. 28), ‘Maternity does keep circling sacred narratives’, as they describe the many ways in which Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica reduces Hild’s various activities and achievements to a core of nurturing motherhood.

OVERVIEW OF CAREER

Ώ

Visible Mód: The Scholarship of Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe

Maura Nolan

B

y an extraordinary stroke of luck, I began my academic career in 1996 as the junior colleague of Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe. I became certain of my good fortune after a few months at Notre Dame, when one of the graduate student medievalists confided to me that she and her peers had nicknamed Katherine ‘Obi-wan Kenobi’. The name was, of course, a play on Katherine’s famous initials, ‘Kobok’, but it also identified her as a wise Jedi master for young medievalists: brilliant, immensely learned, kind – and more than a match for the Darth Vaders her students (and junior colleagues) might encounter. Indeed, to extend the comparison, if Star Wars: Episode IV narrated the revival of the Jedi knighthood under the leadership of Obi-wan, it was similarly under Katherine’s leadership between 1993 and 2008 that an extraordinary revival of Medieval Studies in the English Department at Notre Dame was designed and implemented. Nor did her leadership stop there. Katherine was the first-ever woman to chair the English Department at Notre Dame, and shortly after her arrival at Berkeley, she was asked both to chair the English Department and to direct the Medieval Studies Program. Like Obi-wan, she seemed to have superhuman abilities to juggle these demanding jobs, teach courses, mentor graduate students, and to sustain a demanding research agenda. Obi-wan Kenobi tapped into the Force, a mysterious power that enabled adherents to perform impossible feats. But for medievalists, Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe is the Force that has animated, energized, and protected our joint enterprise – both at the university level and across the disciplines of Old English and Medieval Studies. This essay focuses on Katherine’s work as a scholar of Old English and Anglo-Latin. But the essential qualities that make Katherine a remarkable leader and program-builder lie at the root of her ground-breaking research. She combines brilliance in the kind of work traditional to her field (linguistic expertise, paleographical precision, an almost eidetic recall of the manuscripts and texts on which she has worked, an extraordinary gift for textual analysis, all rooted in her formidable logic) with a stunning

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scholarly creativity that sees around corners and across cruces. This latter quality is evident in all of her work, but it becomes most visible when her oeuvre is read as a whole, from 1978 to the present – something I did in preparation for writing this essay. It was a profoundly humbling exercise. One ground-breaking idea after another takes root, puts out shoots, and finally flowers in the form of a monograph, edition, collection of essays, or simply in a sequence of articles. Her brilliant monographs – Visible Song: Transitional Literacy in Old English Verse and Stealing Obedience: Agency and Identity in Late Anglo-Saxon England – are of course the high points of her oeuvre. But in her long sequence of published articles, her many edited collections, her edition of the C-text of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and her seemingly endless list of invited lectures and panels, we find an extraordinary range of themes, concepts, and topics that testify to the capaciousness and agility of her intellect. William James defined genius as ‘the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way’.1 Note that he does not say ‘thinking’ or ‘creating’ in an unhabitual way. The assertion by a scholar that she is breaking with tradition (or habit) is very often merely the assumption of a new habitual guise – a new theory, with its own set of habits that limit perception. Katherine’s resistance to the habitual, however, is never simply the substitution of new tendencies for old. Rather, her formidable knowledge of her field operates in tandem with an attentive curiosity that is remarkably open to the exception – to that uncomfortable detail that refuses to submit to habitual modes of perception and thought. All of her scholarship is characterized by this openness, but a series of essays published in 1983 and 1989 demonstrate it particularly well by virtue of their remarkable prescience. Long before the phrase ‘digital humanities’ was coined, Katherine had recognized the potential of the computer for the analysis of medieval manuscripts.2 In three essays, written in collaboration with colleagues in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, she reported on a series of applications of statistical software and information theory to the textual analysis of large bodies of manuscript texts and to the corpus of Old English. One of the pleasures of reading these essays – apart from observing how similar they are in essence to contemporary digital humanities work – is encountering their technical specifications. The substantial computing power required by Katherine’s projects was only available on her 1 2

William James, The Principles of Psychology, volume II (New York, 1890), p. 110. The phrase ‘digital humanities’ was coined in 2004 by Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth, in their volume, A Companion to Digital Humanities (Oxford, 2004), p. 111. The earliest full-scale scholarly enterprise in the field of Old English to make use of computer technology was the Dictionary of Old English project (https://doe.artsci.utoronto.ca/?page_id=11 [accessed 29 July 2021]), which was founded in 1970; for a brief article about the project, see https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/uoft-dictionary-ofold-english-1.3924775 [accessed 29 July 2021]).



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university’s mainframe computers, whose names recall a lost scholarly world: in the 1983 essays, she used the ‘SsX11Amdahl/470-V8 and 470V6-2’ mainframes; in the 1989 project, she relied on a ‘MIPS M2000 super mini-computer’, both at Texas A&M.3 That lost world is evoked by further details. In one essay, Katherine reports uploading data via computer tape; in another, she suggests writing, via US Mail, to the biostatistician who designed NT-SYS in order to purchase the software on floppy disc.4 But once our nostalgia has faded, there remains a powerful sense of continuity between these essays and current work in the digital humanities. The hardware may be obsolete, the software updated beyond recognition. But the conceptual basis on which Katherine transformed the corpus of Old English into a body of data subject to statistical analysis remains largely the same. The first of these essays (‘Numerical Taxonomy’) introduces the idea of using statistical software to map the relationships of manuscripts for a given text (Aldhelm’s Aenigmata), while the second (‘Exploring…’) goes into greater detail about the specific software (NY-SYS) used to identify connections between manuscripts. In the third essay, written in 1989, Katherine expanded her exploration of computer-aided textual analysis by turning to information theory to analyze the Old English corpus. Her use of the concepts of entropy and redundancy here would go on to form an important element in her ground-breaking 1990 book, Visible Song.

Visible Song The 1990 publication of Visible Song: Transitional Literacy in Old English Verse introduced Katherine’s work to a much wider audience.5 The book 3

4

5

For the 1983 essay, see Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Numerical Taxonomy and the Analysis of Manuscript Relationships’, Manuscripta, 27 (1983), 131–145, [with Alan R. P. Journet] and her ‘Exploring the Applications of NT-SYS for Grouping Manuscript Records of a Medieval Text’, in Sara K. Burton and Douglas D. Short (eds), Sixth International Conference on the Humanities (Rockville, MD, 1983), pp. 311–317 [with Alan R. P. Journet]. For the 1989 essay, see Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘An Information-Theoretic Approach to the Written Transmission of Old English’, Computers and the Humanities, 23 (1989), 459–467 [with William Rundell]. For the detail about computer tape, see O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘An InformationTheoretic Approach’, p. 462; for the reference to floppy discs, see ‘Exploring the Applications of NT-SYS’, p. 316. In fact, NT-SYS remains in use today, albeit in a much-updated form. F. James Rohlf, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at SUNY-Stoneybrook, includes a link on his webpage (https://life.bio.sunysb. edu/ee/rohlf/) through which it can be downloaded. The price has risen from $50 to $200 and, of course, there is no longer any need for floppy discs, bank checks, or postage. See http://www.appliedbiostat.com/ntsyspc/ntsyspc.html. Both websites were accessed on 24 June 2020. Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, Visible Song: Transitional Literacy in Old English Verse, Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England, vol. 4 (Cambridge, 1990; paperback reissue, 2006).

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is as unlike a typical first book as it is possible to be: it is paradigm-shifting but also rigorous, minutely argued but embracing nearly the entire corpus of Old English literature. In addition, the book contributes to several fields, widening its audience from Old English specialists to linguists, scholars of book history, and students of the history and theory of reading. I first read Visible Song in 1995, on my way to an interview with Notre Dame, and was profoundly awed by its erudition. I recently read the book again, twenty-five years later, with vastly more exposure to Old English and much more experience as a medievalist. I was still awed by its erudition. But I could appreciate many other qualities as well: its beautifully logical argument; its judicious balance between minute particulars and generalizing conclusions; the extreme care with which its data was gathered and arranged; and the authoritative style with which it speaks. More importantly, in 2020 I was able to observe thirty years of the book’s astonishing impact on ever-widening circles of scholarship around the globe. One early sign of Visible Song’s widespread future influence was the fact that it was reviewed in The Classical Bulletin by an Oxford classicist, A. M. Devine, who concluded that, ‘The relevance of O’Keeffe’s book to Homeric studies and the Epic tradition as a whole is immediately evident.’6 A quick look at the 250 or so citations Google Scholar lists for Visible Song reveals the truth of Devine’s comment. Multiple classicists (Greek and Latin) cite the book, as do scholars from a wide array of fields that touch on questions of orality and literacy – not only linguistics, literature, and the history of reading, but also studies of cognition and the history of the book. Scholars working on remarkably diverse topics cite Visible Song, including the Iranian national epic; folk music; the Chinese martial arts novel; the history of Jerusalem; the early colonial Andean peoples; cryptography; contemporary Christianity; Mallarmé; early modern French literature; and, of course, Old English, Middle English, and Early Modern English. These citations continue up to the present day, thirty years after the book was published; indeed, a large percentage of them date from after 2010.7 It is extremely rare for a work of scholarship from a small field like Old English to achieve this kind of recognition from the broader world of humanistic inquiry. It is a testimony to the expansiveness of Katherine’s vision that she should write such a book; it is also an object lesson in how such breakout successes are achieved. As Sarah Larratt Keefer remarked in her review of Visible Song, ‘O’Keeffe […] uses modern critical theory and traditional medieval source scholarship with equal fluency, not attempting to impress her readers with facility, but showing the consummate skill 6

7

A. M. Devine, ‘Review of Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, Visible Song: Transitional Literacy in Old English Verse’, The Classical Bulletin, 68 (1992), 118–119, at p. 119. To gain some perspective on this number of citations, I used Google Scholar to compare Visible Song to a number of similar books on Old English literature, published at roughly the same time. None had more than 100 citations.



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of a selective master craftsman.’8 Katherine’s precise and highly skilled observations and analyses of her data lend to her theoretical conclusions a solidity and weight that can be translated to a wide range of contexts. That is why a scholar studying a text far removed in time and space might find resonances in a book about Old English manuscripts. The portability of Visible Song derives from the exquisite care with which it transcribes and translates, its deep engagement with the minutiae of scribal practice, the acuity of its historical vision, the richness of its understanding of textual form, and the interpretive skill with which it elicits meaning. Like Clifford Geertz’s ‘thick description’, these qualities make it possible for scholars in distant fields to apprehend the Old English literary world in all of its richness.9 It is in such thick descriptions that handholds appear, points at which connections can be anchored and thereby explored. Only a very few books achieve this kind of worldwide connectivity and, of those, only a small percentage concern medieval literature. Still fewer focus on Old English. But to those who know Katherine, it is surely unsurprising that one of those books should be Visible Song: it is the product of a wonderfully various and open intelligence, a mind eager to see connections to different fields and modes of thought, a mind always alert to the unhabitual and the unexpected. In a single sentence in its introduction, Visible Song turns the history of Old English literary criticism on its head, thereby exposing a new focus for analysis, the manuscript: The approach taken in this present book shifts attention away from literary texts in their modern, edited and printed condition, to their historical state as manuscript texts in the linked processes of transmission and reception. (Visible Song, 13–14)

Katherine makes the fundamentally simple point that Old English literary criticism has focused almost entirely upon the author, forgetting both the reader – who ultimately interprets the text – and the scribes, who copy and often emend or add to it. Scholars have depended on modern editions of Old English poems, excluding from consideration the manuscripts in which they originally were written and depending on editors to produce an ‘authorial’ version of a given text – or at least, the closest possible approximation of such a version. The enterprise of Old English literary scholarship thus rests on a clear division of labor between editors and critics. A given scholar might wear her editor’s hat while preparing an edition of a text, but should she wish to interpret it, she would rely on 8

9

Sarah Larratt Keefer, ‘Review of Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, Visible Song: Transitional Literacy in Old English Verse’, ANQ 4 (1991), 196–198, at pp. 196–197. Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York, 1973), p. 5; Geertz adapted the concept of ‘thick description’ from the work of British philosopher Gilbert Ryle. See his ‘The Thinking of Thoughts: What is Le Penseur Doing?’, in Collected Essays, 1929-1968: Collected Papers, vol. 2 (London, 2009), pp. 493–509.

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the finished editorial version. Her knowledge of its various manuscript versions would be deployed only in the service of selecting the best, or most authorial, rendering of a particular word, line, or passage.10 Visible Song thus asks a deceptively simple question. What happens when we stop imagining manuscripts as ‘witnesses’? The term ‘witness’ suggests that each individual manuscript copy is merely an observer whose testimony offers a partial view of the authentic object. That testimony can be combined with that of other witnesses to create the most accurate possible version of the original event, i.e., the authorial text. Katherine proposes that each manuscript version be studied as a crafted object in and of itself – not only reading the text it contains (i.e., extracting the words on the page), but also attending to its visual aspect, to the manner in which the text is presented. Visible Song, among other things, is the record of a sustained and scrupulous attention to the words and the pages of a wide range of texts – not one or two representative early books, but a rich panoply of the available Old English manuscripts.11 Katherine’s attention is distinguished by its catholicity: nothing on the page is unworthy of notice. Katherine truly sees medieval books before she interprets them. As in the rebel John Ball’s version of a Latin proverb, her eye is like ‘Johan the Mullere’, who has ‘Ygrounde smal, smal, smal’.12 What she sees with this ‘smal, smal’ vision are oddities – variant spellings and words, scribal pointing, glosses, and other seemingly random marks 10

11

12

This description is a very crude summary of a complex and intricate process. Of course, not all editions are eclectic editions of the type I describe above, in which multiple witnesses are consulted in the process of emending a base text (the copy-text method); best-text editing, which uses a single manuscript, is less common than copy-text editing, but nevertheless offers an alternative. However, even in best-text editions, editors often use a modern mise-en-page and other elements of modern formatting (like lineation for poetry). The scrupulous care with which Katherine attended to the manuscripts she discussed in Visible Song is illustrated very well by a reviewer’s example: ‘[O’Brien] O’Keeffe is accurate in recording manuscript information. For example, she reports “no point between 11a and 11b” of PCP [the Metrical Preface to the Alfredian Pastoral Care], though in her Plate and in Robinson/ Stanley’s facsimile it looks as though there is one; according to my own observation in 1980 [O’Brien] O’Keeffe is right.’ See Peter Lucas, ‘Review of Visible Song: Transitional Literacy in Old English Verse’, The Review of English Studies, 44 (1993), 401–403, at p. 401. Many university administrators, car dealers, insurance companies, cell phone and cable providers and the like have learned to their discomfiture just how ‘smal, smal, smal’ can be the focus of Katherine’s powers of observation, particularly when dealing with deceptive bureaucratic rhetoric. The quotation comes from the ‘Letter of John Ball’, which appears in James M. Dean (ed.), Medieval English Political Writings (Kalamazoo, MI, 1996), lines 7–8. As Richard Firth Green explains, it is a translation of a well-known Latin proverb, ‘Sed deum mola sed tenues molit undique partes’, most famously translated by Longfellow as ‘The mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceedingly small.’ See ‘John Ball’s Letters: Literary History and Historical Literature’, in Barbara Hanawalt (ed.), Chaucer’s England: Literature in Historical Context (Minneapolis, 1992), pp. 176–200, at p. 198 n. 52.



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on each page. As a result of noticing such oddities, Katherine pays special attention to their creators – the scribes who copy the manuscripts. At the time she was writing Visible Song, scribes were generally regarded as obstacles between the scholar and the authentic authorial version of early texts. They were understood to be the equivalent of a 1950s typing pool: a group of machine operators whose task was copying and whose goal was exacting accuracy. Any deviation from the original, in such a model, constitutes an error. Errors are meaningful only qua errors, that is, as evidence of error types or habitual errors. But when Katherine shifts the kaleidoscope to rethink errors as variants – choices by individual scribes – a new portrait emerges of how pre-Conquest English poetic culture adapted to the technology of writing. This portrait depicts orality and literacy as a spectrum rather than an opposition. It suggests that the transformation of oral-formulaic verse into written poetry was a gradual, step-by-step process that took several generations to achieve, as more and more writers, readers, and scribes gradually became familiar with the affordances and limitations of textual transmission. As it was happening, Katherine shows, both scribes and readers engaged in ‘a participatory tradition of reading and reproducing poetic texts’ (Visible Song, 78). The familiarity of such participants with oral-formulaic verse, that is, would produce practices of reading and copying that mimicked composition and performance: ‘As they read familiar formulas, they naturally and quite unconsciously substituted other alliterating words which were also metrically correct’ (Visible Song, 76). This participatory practice left traces in the manuscript copies of Old English texts, which became ‘the literate analogue of oral transmission by performers and poets’ (Visible Song, 76). Visible Song maps the emergence and supersession of this practice of ‘participatory reading’ across the entire range of the Old English poetic tradition, from the eighth-century Caedmon’s Hymn, to Solomon and Saturn I, to the Metrical Preface to Alfred’s Pastoral Care, to the poems of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The book magisterially concludes by examining scribal pointing in all four major codices of Old English verse: the Exeter Book, the Vercelli Book, the Nowell Codex, and the Junius 11 manuscript. Katherine presents evidence of three different types. She begins with mise en page: the curious fact that while early scribes copied Latin poetry in separate, capitalized lines (i.e., using the conventions for verse), they simultaneously copied Old English poetry as prose, without consistent capitalization or punctuation. As Katherine shows, the answer to this well-known conundrum turns out to be a simple matter of adjusting our perspective to think about the readers of Latin and Old English verse. Early English readers knew what verse in their vernacular looked like – or rather, sounded like. Accustomed to hearing Old English poetry performed, they recognized its meter and its style, its formulas and its tropes, when encountering it in writing. In contrast, Latin verse was not recognizable from an oral tradition; readers needed lineation and other

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visual markers to help them understand what was metrical, how linguistic patterns (like rhyme) structured the verse, and so on. The second type of evidence Katherine presents derives from the immersion of scribes within the Old English oral tradition, which meant that they were capable of engaging in formulaic substitution. The practice of copying became in part a form of composition, as scribes repeatedly substituted one formulaic phrase for another alliterative and metrical match, thus ‘draw[ing] on formulaic possibility’ (Visible Song, 41). The scribal use of oral conventions for the reproduction of poems they copied created large numbers of variants from copy to copy. Such variance forms a key piece of evidence for Katherine’s concept of ‘transitional literacy’, a ‘state between pure orality and pure literacy whose evidence is a reading process which applies oral techniques for the reception of a message to the decoding of a written text’ (Visible Song, 41). The third category of evidence Katherine adduces, the use of pointing in the four Old English codices, depends on a conceptual reversal similar to her shift from writer to reader, above. If the lack of visual cues in early English poetic texts suggests that their readers were immersed in oral poetic culture, then the presence of those cues in later manuscripts implies that readers’ perceptions have shifted. As Katherine explains, that shift was reflected on the manuscript page; moving from oral to literature culture ‘required the invention of significant manuscript space’ (Visible Song, 22). By this she means that both writers and readers had to learn techniques for representing aural language in visual terms: Writing thus introduces a new element of meaning into previously aural language: significant space. Irregular pauses in the stream of speech become conventionalized in writing by more or less regular spaces between ‘words’. Dots and marks indicate special status for portions of text; scripts and capitals indicate a hierarchy of material and meaning. (Visible Song, 4)

This shift from aural to spatial cues conceptually reorganizes the linguistic transfer of information, replacing the linear unfolding of the text that occurs in oral performance with the simultaneous spatial rendering of data that appears on a manuscript page. Readers and scribes learned to regard vernacular poetry in spatial terms; in the process, they came to rely on visual and spatial cues for information once supplied by the human voice – line endings, for example, and grammatical pauses or syntactical units. This shift from a temporal to a spatial mode of representation was fundamental to the emergence of a fully written culture, not just as ex post facto evidence of this cultural shift, but as an a priori condition for it. Visible Song concludes with a true tour de force, which Katherine modestly describes as ‘two chapters [that] consider the significance of pointing and format in the four great codices of Old English verse’ (Visible Song, 22). These four manuscripts – the Exeter Book, the Vercelli Book, the Nowell Codex, and the Junius Manuscript – contain nearly all of the poetry written in Old English. By examining the punctuation in these



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manuscripts, Katherine provides a panoramic view of the transition from oral to literate culture that Visible Song narrates. This transition starts with an oral tradition so vibrant that readers seeing an unmarked block of prose were expected to hear the intonation, emphasis, and rhythm of poetic performance. The first three codices she discusses – the Exeter Book, the Vercelli Book, and the Nowell Codex – represent early, very varied attempts to compensate for the loss of oral performance by introducing pointing and formatting. None of them uses pointing in a systematic way, according to a pre-existing set of conventions. As Katherine remarks, ‘[the points] constitute in themselves discrete readings of the transmitted, realized texts and indicate developing conventions of use’ (Visible Song, 166–167). At this juncture, she is referring to the Vercelli Book, but the analysis holds true for all three of the early codices. The Exeter Book is similarly variable; its pointing is neither fully syntactic nor fully metrical, nor can any systematic use of points be extrapolated from their use in this manuscript. The Nowell Codex – otherwise known as the Beowulf manuscript or London, British Library MS Cotton Nero A. x – fits this description as well, but because Beowulf is so central to the study of Old English literature, Katherine discusses it at some length. At issue (then as now) is the dating of the poem and manuscript. Visible Song responds to a then-recent proposal by Kevin Kiernan that the earliest possible date for Beowulf is 1016. Based on paleographical evidence, Kiernan argues that the Nowell Codex is an eleventh-century manuscript. But Katherine shows that Kiernan fails to take account of the manuscript’s use of punctuation, which clearly demonstrates that it pre-dates the eleventh-century practice of pointing (illustrated by the Junius 11 manuscript): The relatively undeveloped punctuation, which marks an understanding of statements, suggests a pointing of the text from a time in the tenth century antedating, or at the latest, contemporary with, the copying of the B-text of the Chronicle. (Visible Song, 179)

This analysis of punctuation in the Nowell Codex contributed a key building block to the overall case for an early date for Beowulf. The final codex Katherine discusses, Junius 11, is the youngest of the four; it testifies to the continuing changes to reading and writing being wrought by the ‘transitional literacy’ that Visible Song explores. Its use of pointing differs strikingly from the Exeter Book, Vercelli Book, and the Nowell Codex; Junius 11 is distinguished by ‘unusual regularity and frequency of pointing […] unambiguously metrical marking of half-lines [and a] relatively early date for such marking’ (Visible Song, 183). These characteristics, Katherine explains, indicate that Junius 11 was modeled on manuscripts of the most important Latin poetic texts. Those manuscripts were distinguished by having space for illustrations, elaborate capitals, and, most importantly, pointing that was rule-driven (that is, metrical) rather than responsive to individual texts. The points in Junius

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11 thus ‘represent a new style in the pointing of Old English verse’ (Visible Song, 183). With the advent of this ‘new style’, Visible Song brings its argument to a close, having shown how the development of visual cues in Old English manuscripts charts a diminution of orality even as it testifies to the growth of textual literacy. Katherine concludes the book by reaffirming a key premise: ‘Scribal reading and copying of verse implies scribal participation in the making of the text’ (Visible Song, 193). In 1990, making such a claim was more than ground-breaking; it was ground-dissolving. Modern editions of medieval texts, for the most part, posit the existence of an ‘authorial version’ or ‘author’ as both the fons et origo of a given literary work and the telos of the editor’s labors. Manuscript witnesses always exist at one remove (or more) from this putative authorial source. They therefore lack the status of being original works of art; they merely witness an absent exemplar, which may be authorial or may be yet another witness, a step closer to the much-desired original exemplar. Visible Song was the leading edge of a movement that aimed to focus scholars’ attention on manuscripts, not merely as witnesses, nor as part of paleographical and book history, but as complex, crafted, multimedia works of art that make meaning in and of themselves.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle During the 1990s, Katherine worked extensively on both the theory and practice of editing medieval manuscripts; in true Katherine fashion, she not only broke methodological new ground via her analyses of editing practices, but she also put her methods to the test by producing a modern edition, the C-text of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.13 As the reviewer for Speculum concluded, ‘This edition of the C-text of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a major work and a clear confirmation that O’Brien O’Keeffe’s theoretical work on textual editing can pay dividends in practice.’14 Another reviewer, Patrick Conner, praises the edition’s exhaustive apparatus and draws particular attention to Katherine’s superb editing of the text on the page. As he states, ‘the unedited prose of the ASC presents a serious challenge to the editor whose duty it is to punctuate the text to aid the modern reader.’15 Conner cites a number of instances at which Katherine has used her judgment to punctuate the text in such a way that the Old English prose is both readable and stylistically accurate, though not consistent

13 14

15

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition: MS C (Cambridge, 2001). Thomas A. Bredehoft, ‘Review of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition, 5: MS. C by Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe’, Speculum, 78 (2003), 579–581. Patrick Conner, ‘Editing the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle’, JEGP, 103 (2004), 369–380, at p. 375.



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with the series guidelines. As she herself states, ‘the course of greater wisdom was to punctuate for meaning rather than consistency’ (ASC, lxxiv). Conner further points out that, in so doing, Katherine renders the rhetorical structure of the Old English prose legible to modern readers; she thereby achieves a text truer to the intent of the original than one that simply let the manuscript punctuation stand on its own. As Visible Song showed, Katherine always understands texts as part of a reading process in which multiple parties are involved: writer, scribe, editor, and reader. The task of the editor involves endless decision-making in order to balance the needs of all participants with the complexity of the text. Katherine’s edition of the ASC brilliantly showcases the effectiveness of her method and remains the centerpiece of her influential body of work on textual editing in general. The ASC was by no means her only contribution to that field. She co-edited two key volumes on editing, New Approaches to Editing Old English Verse in 1998 and Electronic Textual Editing in 2006.16 As with Visible Song, the impact of these volumes was widespread, both within the narrow field of Old English textual editing and across the rapidly-growing field of electronic editing. In addition, Katherine wrote a number of articles that focused on textual editing, as well as several that addressed broader questions of interpretation within the field of Old English.17 These latter essays reflect the pressure exerted on Medieval Studies during the 1990s by the emergence of poststructuralism in the humanities, which began in the 1970s and reached an apex in the 1980s. Katherine wisely charted a middle course through these waters, neither fully embracing the poststructuralist turn nor retrenching to the safety of traditional scholarship. Instead, she operated on the premise that past and present should be interlocutors, constant companions in a mutually informative relationship.

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New Approaches to Editing Old English Verse (Cambridge, 1998) [co-edited with Sarah Larratt Keefer]; Electronic Textual Editing (New York, 2006) [co-edited with Lou Burnard and John Unsworth]. Katherine’s articles on textual editing include ‘Editing and the Material Text’, in D. G. Scragg and Paul E. Szarmach (eds), The Editing of Old English (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 143–149; ‘Texts and Works: Some Historical Questions on the Editing of Old English Verse’, in Jeffrey N. Cox and Larry J. Reynolds (eds), New Historical Literary Study (Princeton, 1993), pp. 54–68; and her foreword to the reprinted edition of Kevin Kiernan’s Beowulf and the Beowulf Manuscript (rev. edn, Ann Arbor, MI, 1996), pp. ix–xiii. Her methodological discussions include ‘Diction, Variation, Formula’, in Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles (eds), A Beowulf Handbook (Lincoln, NE, 1997), pp. 85–104; ‘Source, Method, Theory, Practice: On Reading Two Old English Verse Texts’, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 76 (1994): pp. 51–73; ‘The Geographic List of Solomon and Saturn II’, Anglo-Saxon England, 20 (1991), 123–141; ‘Heroic Values and Christian Ethics’, in Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature (Cambridge, 1991), pp. 107–125.

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1 Maura Nolan The Body and the Law

One of the most significant threads in Katherine’s writing – and one in which the tension between the thought forms of the present and those of a very different past is explicitly investigated – concerns the way in which ideas about the body are manifested within the legal system. This thread began with two co-edited editorial projects, Cultural Artifacts and the Production of Meaning: The Page, the Image, and the Body (1994) and The Book and the Body (1997).18 She followed these collections with one of her most significant publications, the 1998 article, ‘Body and Law in AngloSaxon England’.19 In this project, Katherine painstakingly disentangles a complex knot of juridical and theological ideas about the body between the years 970 and 1035, which appear in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the hagiography of St Swithun. She focuses particularly on judicial mutilation: punishing criminals by amputating their hands or feet; by removing parts of their sensory organs (the upper lip, parts of the nose or ear); by blinding them; by removing their scalps; and by branding their crimes on their bodies for all to see (the forehead was a favorite location for these indictments). Mutilation is a horrifying practice to modern eyes, but to commentators and jurists it represented an amelioration of the law. Criminals who would once have been executed upon conviction were now subject to bodily mutilation. This new punishment (so went the logic) was a kinder, gentler, and more Christian mode of social regulation. Executed criminals’ immortal souls were at risk; they lacked time for reflection – for the examination of conscience that would produce true repentance – as well as for the performance of penance. Mutilation offered both time and suffering; the convict’s physical and emotional pain from the disfigurement functioned as a kind of Purgatory on earth that might ultimately lead to heaven. Katherine’s investigation of judicial mutilation produces an important challenge to Michel Foucault’s well-known thesis about the role of confession in the emergence of the notion of subjectivity in the West. Foucault identified verbal confession, made mandatory by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, both as a ‘point of departure for the western deployment of law’ (‘Body and Law’, 231) and as a key building block for the idea of subjectivity as a form of interiority – a self that looks inward. In contrast, judicial mutilation constructs a subject on whose body is written its identity: thief, adulterer, murderer, rapist. Disfigurement becomes a form of knowledge about the other, produced as an ancillary effect of

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Cultural Artifacts and the Production of Meaning: The Page, the Image, and the Body (Ann Arbor, MI, 1994) [co-edited with M. J. M. Ezell]; The Book and the Body (Notre Dame, IN, 1997) [co-edited with Dolores Warwick Frese]. ‘Body and Law in Late Anglo-Saxon England’, Anglo-Saxon England, 27 (1998), 209–232.



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what Katherine calls a ‘synergism of monastic and royal concerns for regulation’ that sought to ‘extend the power of the law … inward into the criminal’s soul’ (‘Body and Law’, 230). That extension inward essentially turned the subject inside-out; what inwardness had allowed her to hide (her criminality, her sin), the law extracted and wrote upon her skin for all to see. In her most recent projects, Katherine has returned to this earlier work on the body to explore its place at the intersection between clerical theology and secular jurisprudence during the Viking invasions of the tenth and eleventh centuries. In two articles published in 2016, she brilliantly maps the historical shift from a fine-based system of compensation – which emphasized the kin-group and the community – to individual satisfaction, in which the repentance and payment of an individual sinner could both heal the worldly breach caused by the crime and appease an angry God. The first article, ‘Making Satisfaction: Compensation and the Body in Anglo-Saxon England’, shows how this shift emerged as the interlocking domains of law and religion attempted to address the cultural trauma of the Viking invasions of the tenth century.20 The second of these 2016 articles, ‘Appraising the Senses’, approaches the question of judicial mutilation from a different angle, exploring the way in which injury to the organs of sense was both compensated and inflicted, as part of the same historical shift from monetary restitution for crime to penitential expiation for sin.21 She explores the status of the senses during the tenth and eleventh centuries, noting that while the sense organs and their functions were assigned monetary values in secular law, for Latin theologians ‘the senses as such acted as conduits of information between the body and the soul, the material and spiritual’ (‘Appraising’, 106). Faced with the terror of the Viking invasions, archbishop and king’s legislator Wulfstan used this notion of the senses-as-mediators to devise a penal system in which individual punishment became societal penitence. Because the senses represent a kind of portal between world/body and soul/God, mutilation of the sense organs functions as a means of transmitting penitence from the Christian community to its injured divinity. These payments, it was hoped, would compensate for God’s injury and encourage him to stop extracting satisfaction via the Viking hordes. In all of her work on the body, Katherine untangles complex intersections between ideological and discursive domains, which yields a new understanding of the sensory and somatic world inhabited by early English Christians. This work has been immensely productive for the many scholars it has influenced, both in Old English and Medieval Studies more generally. It also 20

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Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Making Satisfaction: Compensation and the Body in Anglo-Saxon England’, Questiones Medii Aevi Novae, 21 (2016), 321–340, at p. 336. Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, ‘Hands and Eyes, Sight and Touch: Appraising the Senses in Anglo-Saxon England’, Anglo-Saxon England, 45 (2016), 105–140.

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intersects in crucial ways with her 2012 book, Stealing Obedience: Narratives of Agency and Identity in Later Anglo-Saxon England, an extraordinary work of cultural analysis and interpretation that will shape the field of early English for many years to come.22

Stealing Obedience In between writing her first essay on the body and the law and revisiting the topic eighteen years later, Katherine produced (among many other, smaller works) her third major project, Stealing Obedience. Published in 2012, the book offers a transformative account of agency and identity, two conceptual categories fundamental to modern life. It begins with a paradox: while the notion of free will is central to Christian doctrine, the concept of freedom articulated by figures like St Augustine looks very much like unfreedom to a twenty-first-century audience. When a Christian chooses obedience to God by subordinating her will to his, she thereby achieves freedom: not freedom to act, but freedom from sin. Obedience must be freely chosen, but obedience is at the same time the proper condition of human beings. There is no state prior to the state of obedience; no prior existence in which the choice to obey can be neutrally weighed. Though this contradiction – the choice that is both free and compulsory – is experienced by all Christian subjects, it is within the clerical world that it appears in its starkest and most uncompromising form. Stealing Obedience presents a series of tenth- and eleventh-century studies from the records of the English Benedictine monastic world, all of which constitute ‘hard cases’ for the contradictory concept of agency or choice. To parse these cases, Katherine distinguishes two types of agency, one medieval and one modern. The former she labels ‘agent action’: Narratives of monastic life in Anglo-Saxon England understood individual men, women, and children as responsible agents in the assumption and performance of religious identities, even as – to modern eyes – they portray the circumstances in which those ‘choices’ are made as compulsory. (Stealing, 246)

The individual Christian is possessed of free will, which she must use to fulfill her responsibilities – to adhere to Christian precepts and submit to the identity chosen for her, by God or her parents. Those acts of obedience and submission must be freely chosen, even though they are not really optional: a choice between ‘obey and achieve salvation’ and ‘disobey and burn in torment for all eternity’ is not, to our modern understanding, a free choice. That modern notion of agency Katherine defines as: ‘an indi-

22

Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, Stealing Obedience: Narratives of Agency and Identity in Later Anglo-Saxon England (Toronto, 2012).



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vidual’s improvisation when confronted with cultural norms at moments of ideological incoherence, contradiction, or conflict’ (Stealing, 247). Though several of her examples in the book concern such improvisation, the project is organized as a series of case studies that illustrate the working of the more medieval notion of agent action. Each of these case studies focuses on an actor or actors who are making a commitment to the religious life: the St Dunstan of Osbern’s vita; the schoolboys of Ælfric’s Colloquy; young St Edith of Wilton; royal daughter Gunhild, abducted from Wilton; and finally Eve, one time of Wilton and later recluse of Angers. Each chapter of Stealing Obedience shows us agent action in a different guise; at the same time, in each of these cases, the straightforward working of agent action is threatened, either by a conceptual contradiction (as in the two accounts that involve oblation, the boys of the Colloquy and St Edith), or by resistance from the subject himself or herself (as in the cases of St Dunstan and Eve), or, finally, by the violent intrusion of a conflicting cultural imperative (as when a land-hungry Count Alan Rufus abducts the heiress Gunhild from Wilton as a spoil of war). At moments when reaffirming agent action fails to allay such threats, Katherine shows how a more modern notion of agency-as-improvisation comes to the fore. Put another way, figures like Eve of Wilton – who leaves her nunnery and the spiritual guidance of Goscelin, her mentor, in order to embrace a new life as an anchoress – improvise within the strictures of the monastic life in order to choose their own fates. The life of an anchoress was a far more challenging and lonely life than that of a nun in a community of sisters. But choosing a harder life of devotion enabled Eve to choose for herself – to clear a space within the narrow confines of a nun’s life within which she could act freely. But Eve’s agency, which concludes the book, is not the only form of medieval agency to resonate with contemporary concepts of ‘choice’ and ‘freedom’. Indeed, since the book was published in 2012, various cultural controversies have arisen for which agency and identity are flashpoints. The most obvious of these controversies is of course the #metoo movement, whose focus on agency and consent resonates very powerfully with Katherine’s discussion in Stealing Obedience of the letters of Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, to Gunhild, a nun at Wilton. Gunhild, the daughter of Harold II, was abducted from her convent in 1093 and taken to the Norman estate of Count Alan Rufus. Scholars of previous generations described this abduction as (for example) ‘a strange and passionate romance’ – in other words, as a consensual act on Gunhild’s part, whereby she abandoned the convent for the joys of secular love.23 But as Katherine shows, there is no evidence to suggest that Gunhild had any choice in the matter at all. Indeed, there is convincing evidence that she was abducted 23

The quotation is from Richard Southern, St Anselm and His Biographer: A Study of Monastic Life and Thought 1059–ca 1130 (Cambridge, 1963), p. 185; quoted in O’Brien O’Keeffe, Stealing Obedience, p. 205.

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against her will. So why, apart from masculine bias, do modern scholars describe her as having ‘thrown off the habit’ and ‘cast off her own veil’?24 The violent assertion of self implied by these phrases – throwing off the habit, casting off the veil – calls to mind iconic images of liberated women, from feminists at the 1968 Miss America pageant throwing bras and girdles in a trash can to their less radical sister, Mary Tyler Moore, tossing her tam o’shanter in the air as she ‘makes it after all’ each week in TV land.25 But Gunhild hardly qualifies as the Mary Tyler Moore of eleventh-century Wilton. Katherine shows how Anselm’s letters to her – the only evidence we have for the episode – endow Gunhild with the capacity to choose her fate as they exhort her to return to the convent. It is from Anselm’s original construction of the abduction scenario that scholars derived the Nancy Sinatra-esque image of a liberated Gunhild, casting off habit and veil and riding into the sunset.26 To account for this oddity – the insistence by Anselm that Gunhild controls her own fate, despite the extreme unlikelihood that she does – Katherine coins the phrase ‘phantom agency’. As she explains, ‘phantom agency … has only a rhetorical existence and functions solely to indict [Gunhild] for collusion in her own rape’ (Stealing, 185). Anselm constructs this phantom agency on two grounds, both ‘instances of passivity’ (Stealing, 190) that he identifies as symbols of intention or will. The first of these instances, the fact that Gunhild wore a nun’s habit while at Wilton, provides the interpretive precedent by which the second indicts and convicts her. Katherine explains that Anselm cites the wearing of the habit as an unmistakable sign that a woman has chosen spiritual marriage with Christ, even in the absence of the ritual of consecration. An external aspect of a person can reveal her intention, even if she does not disclose her will in speech or writing. Thus, when Anselm describes Gunhild’s residence with Count Rufus (and later his brother), he aligns it with her wearing of the habit as an external sign that discloses intention. She puts on the habit

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Richard Sharpe, ‘King Harold’s Daughter’, Haskins Society Journal, 19 (2007), 1–27. Karen Heller, ‘The bra-burning feminist trope started at Miss America. Except, that’s not what really happened’, The Washington Post, 7 September 2018. Accessed 29 July 2020 at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/ wp/2018/09/07/the-bra-burning-feminist-trope-started-at-miss-america-exceptthats-not-what-really-happened/. For the hat-toss during the opening credits of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, see Catherine Thorbecke, ‘The Story Behind the Iconic “Mary Tyler Moore Show” Opening’, ABC News, 26 January 2017: https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/story-iconic-mary-tyler-moore-showopening/story?id=45052349 [accessed 29 July 2020). This 1960s image of the liberated woman casting off her chains was crystallized in Nancy Sinatra’s most famous song, ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin’; see Ayun Halliday, ‘“These Boots Are Made for Walkin”: The Story Behind Nancy Sinatra’s Enduring #1 Hit (1966)’, Open Culture, 3 February 2020: http://www. openculture.com/2020/02/these-boots-are-made-for-walkin-the-story.html [accessed 30 July 2020).



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and is presumed to have willed her spiritual marriage; having discarded the habit, she dons a new garment (secular dress in the castle of the count) and is presumed to have willed her adultery. Anselm’s interpretation of Gunhild’s abduction is not an idiosyncratic one. Crucially, Katherine shows how it is enabled by the idea and the ritual of consecration itself, whereby ‘the object that is conveyed wills the conveyance’ (Stealing, 203). In an extraordinarily nuanced reading of the liturgy of consecration, she maps a logic that may be very far away from twenty-first-century Western society in cultural and temporal terms, but is nevertheless strikingly resonant with attitudes toward the sexual violation of women expressed by (to cite the United States as one example) one or more Supreme Court justices, various legislators, and the 45th President. Katherine’s analysis of the liturgy of consecration shows that phantom agency resolves a contradiction that arises both at the moment of consecration and on the occasion of marriage, two rituals that govern the transition from innocent girlhood to sexually mature adulthood. It is during this transition that a woman’s sexuality is policed most intensively, either via the patriarchal and clerical control of marriage (the institution that licenses her loss of virginity) or consecration (i.e., her spiritual marriage to Christ, which preserves her virginity). Both the ceremony of marriage and the ritual of consecration centrally feature the girl’s father, as he gives the gift of his daughter to her husband or to Christ. At the same time, as Katherine shows, the disciplinary function of these rituals was concealed by the invocation of phantom agency: whether the marriage was spiritual or secular, the bride’s active consent to the union was a central feature of the rite. Of course, in a secular wedding, both parties state their consent when they take their vows. But as Katherine shows, in the ritual of consecration for nuns, women are not asked to consent explicitly, as monks are when making their profession. A novice monk is asked if he ‘renounces of his own free will the world and everything having to do with the world’ (Stealing, 203). In contrast, consent for novice nuns is established via the mediating device of the habit. Once a girl has been formally presented to the bishop by her father, she dons the habit and veil – signs that she ‘receives her consecration by her free consent’ (Stealing, 201). Put differently, phantom agency resides in the image of the consecrated nun, rather than in her actions or words. When Anselm writes to Gunhild, he activates the discourse of phantom agency familiar from the consecration: intention can be read from the garments and location of a silent woman. Therefore, if Gunhild is wearing secular clothing and residing at the home of Count Rufus, she must have chosen to do so. If she has made the choice to leave Wilton, she can equally well make the choice to return. As Katherine puts it, ‘Phantom agency proclaims intention from silence and incurs guilt’ (Stealing, 208). It is no coincidence that phantom agency emerges in tandem with sexual violence. The crime of rape, as suggested by its root in raptus (meaning ‘to

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carry off by force’), is an act that deprives another person of agency.27 As its Latin definition specifies, rape is accomplished by force, the physical compulsion necessary to overcome the contrary intention of the victim. It is the existence of this contrary intention that phantom agency is meant to counter. It is baked into the discourse about rape in contemporary culture. ‘What was she wearing?’ ‘Was she drunk?’ ‘Had she had sex with other men? With this man at another time?’ These or similar questions are repeatedly raised in rape cases – from the moment the accusation is made to the end of the trial – by journalists, defense attorneys, judges, friends and family of the accused, and the man (and sometimes woman) in the street. Every one of them is designed to attribute agency to the victim and to diminish the agency of the perpetrator. If the victim was dressed in a seductive outfit, then she was asking to be raped. If the victim had been drinking, then surely she must have consented and has now forgotten. If she had had sex with other men, then she was known to be interested in casual sex and thereby invited an assault. If she was assaulted by a partner or spouse, then she had automatically consented by virtue of having had sex with that man before. Anselm’s letter to Gunhild similarly focuses on what she was wearing when she was assaulted and what she is wearing now. As in contemporary trials, intention is deemed to be legible from a woman’s appearance. And, like the rape trial, Anselm’s judgment of Gunhild’s intention is ex post facto. The abduction and rape have occurred; Gunhild now wears secular garments. That choice of outer covering is then projected back in order to conceal the dramatic violation of agency exercised by Count Alan. Gunhild’s life history then appears to be a succession of choices about what to wear: she is born; she chooses to wear the habit of a nun; she departs the convent and chooses secular garments; Anselm and his readers hope she will re-choose the habit and the religious life. I have lingered so long over a single chapter of Stealing Obedience because, to my mind, it illustrates the true genius of Katherine’s scholarship. It is not merely that her work offers an acute conceptual analysis of present-day culture and ideology. It is that she recognizes that only the most scrupulous attention to the past on its own terms will provide conceptual purchase on the parallel tropes, forms, identities, and structures of relation found in the present. By patiently and skillfully disassembling the mechanisms by which agency and obedience are produced in tenthand eleventh-century Christian monasticism, Katherine shows us various techniques of power: its use of rhetoric in the wake of force; its reliance on the image as well as the word, both to represent itself and to characterize its subjects; its reliance on concepts or abstractions to render judgment rather than on facts and details; and correspondingly, its classification of 27

Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary (Oxford, 1879), s.v. ‘raptus, ūs, m’, definition I, ‘a carrying off by force’; and II, ‘a carrying off, robbing, plundering’.



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persons according to type or estate rather than as individuals. Of course, we live in a world unimaginable to Anselm or Dunstan or Goscelin. But a woman like Gunhild might very well recognize the version of herself she found in Anselm’s letters in a myriad of twenty-first-century characterizations of women who report being raped. Katherine’s identification of this formal feature of the discourse about women’s sexuality is critical to understanding how the concept of agency works. Her book brilliantly shows how the attribution of agency to a person or group is not always a form of empowerment. It is rather a neutral tool whose meaning resides in its context and its consequences. This observation reaches far beyond the late eleventh century, far beyond the English Benedictines and the Norman Conquest. Like so much of Katherine’s work during her career, it offers not only a new way of thinking about the Middle Ages, but also a new tool for analyzing our own historical moment. From the worldwide impact of Visible Song; to her bold and prescient embrace of computer-aided literary analysis; to her endlessly generous editorial work (she has edited or co-edited nine collections of essays, including two festschrifts); to her remarkable work on the body in law and theology; to Stealing Obedience’s surgically precise excision of institutional power from individual agency – and the notion of phantom agency thereby revealed – Katherine’s scholarship has profoundly enriched the discipline of humanistic study. The best scholarship is the scholarship that lasts, the books still being read after thirty, or fifty, or one hundred years. We already know that Katherine’s work endures; Visible Song is being read as assiduously now as when it first was published. So too will Stealing Obedience remain a linchpin work for medievalists and for humanists in general, as will her edition of the ASC, and her many landmark studies of the body, the law, and the culture of pre- and post-Conquest England. But her scholarship will endure in another way as well, in the brilliant cadre of graduate students that she mentored at Notre Dame and Berkeley. Now teaching at a wide range of universities, these students have become leading scholars of Old English and Anglo-Latin themselves. It is by teaching and mentoring such students that Katherine has ensured the survival of her field amidst ongoing threats to humanistic scholarship and the liberal arts. I hesitate to end on this note, because it is so often the case that women scholars, however distinguished their academic accomplishments and however extraordinary their work, find themselves lauded primarily as kindly caretakers and nurturers in encomia such as these. So I hasten to say that Katherine shall be remembered as a giant in the field for many years to come. Her ability to combine traditional rigor with dazzling conceptual analysis has set a new standard against which future scholarship will be judged. Having put down that marker, however, let me be sure to record for posterity Katherine’s remarkable intellectual generosity, her unparalleled success as a mentor to graduate students and faculty alike, and her extraordinary skill as a program-builder and leader. Her legacy

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will persist between the covers of her books; in the writing and teaching of her Ph.D. students; in the thriving Medieval Studies programs she designed and built; and above all, in the gratitude and affections of everyone she touched during her career, from the cafeteria worker whose access to English as a Second Language classes she fought for; to the struggling colleagues whose careers she protected and defended; to the undergraduate in crisis whose rent she paid; to the innumerable students she inspired; to her closest colleagues and friends at universities from New York to Texas, from Indiana to California, from Cambridge MA to Cambridge UK, from North Carolina to Oxford and around the world. In the chapters of this volume can be seen the diversity and brilliance of Katherine’s legacy; it is truly a fitting tribute to her as a scholar and mentor.

Ώ

The Writings of Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe

Books Stealing Obedience: Narratives of Agency and Identity in Late Anglo-Saxon England (Toronto, 2012). Electronic Textual Editing (New York, 2006) [co-edited with Lou Burnard and John Unsworth]. Latin Learning, English Lore: Studies in Anglo-Saxon Literature for Michael Lapidge (2 vols, Toronto, 2005) [co-edited with Andy Orchard]. Unlocking the Wordhord: Anglo-Saxon Studies in Memory of Edward B. Irving, Jr (Toronto, 2003) [co-edited with Mark Amodio]. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition: MS C (Cambridge, 2001). New Approaches to Editing Old English Verse (Cambridge, 1998) [edited with Sarah Larratt Keefer]. Reading Old English Texts (Cambridge, 1997) [edited, with an introduction]. The Book and the Body (Notre Dame, 1997) [co-edited with Dolores Frese]. Old English Shorter Poems, Basic Readings in Anglo-Saxon England (New York and London, 1994) [edited]. Cultural Artifacts and the Production of Meaning: The Page, the Image, and the Body (Ann Arbor, MI, 1994) [co-edited with M. J. M. Ezell]. Visible Song: Transitional Literacy in Old English Verse (Cambridge, 1990; paperback reissue, 2006).

Codicological Descriptions Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile, vol. 28, Bede Manuscripts (Tempe, AZ, 2020). Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile, vol. 10, Manuscripts Containing Works by Bede, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and Other Texts (Tempe, AZ, 2003).

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1 The Writings of Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe Articles and Chapters

‘The Wife’s Lament and the Poetics of Affect’, in Lindy Brady (ed.), Old English Tradition: Essays in Honor of J. R. Hall (Tempe, AZ, 2021), pp. 37–51. ‘The King (and Queen) and “I”: Self-Construction in Some Anglo-Saxon Royal Documents’, in Maren Clegg Hyer, Haruko Momma, and Samantha Zacher (eds), Old English Lexicology and Lexicography: Essays in Honor of Antonette diPaolo Healey (Cambridge, 2020), pp. 129–142. ‘Hands and Eyes, Sight and Touch: Appraising the Senses in Anglo-Saxon England’, Anglo-Saxon England, 45 (2017), 105–140. ‘Anglo-Saxon Vernacular Literary Culture’, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature (2017), . ‘Making Satisfaction: Compensation and the Body in Anglo-Saxon England’, Quaestiones Medii Aevi Novae, 21 (2016), 323–341. ‘Writing Community: Osbern and the Negotiations of Identity in the Miracula S. Dunstani’, in Rebecca Stephenson and Emily Thornbury (eds), Latinity and Identity (Toronto, 2016), pp. 202–218. ‘Old English Literature and the Negotiations of Tradition’, in Samantha Zacher (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to British Literature, vol. 1 (Oxford, 2014), pp. 16–29. ‘The Architecture of Old English Editions’, in Anne Hudson and Vincent Gillespie (eds), Probable Truth: Editing Medieval Texts from Britain in the Twenty-First Century (Turnhout, 2013), pp. 73–90. ‘Values and Ethics in Heroic Literature’, in Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature, 2nd edn (Cambridge, 2013), pp. 101–119. ‘Orality and Literacy’, in Karl Reichl (ed.), Oral Literature of the Middle Ages (Berlin, 2011), pp. 120–139. ‘Goscelin, the Liber confortatorius and the Library of Peterborough’, in Catherine E. Karkov (ed.), Poetry, Place and Gender: Studies in Medieval Culture in Honor of Helen Damico (Kalamazoo, MI, 2009), pp. 151–170. ‘Inside, Outside, Conduct and Judgment: King Alfred Reads the Regula pastoralis’, in Silvana Serafin and Patrizia Lendinara (eds), ‘Un tuo serto di fiori in man recando’: Scritti in onore di Maria Amalia D’Aronco (2 vols, Udine, 2008), vol. 2, pp. 333–347. ‘Leaving Wilton: Gunhild and the Phantoms of Agency’, JEGP, 106 (2007), 203–223. ‘Goscelin and the Consecration of Eve’, Anglo-Saxon England, 35 (2006), 251–270. ‘Deaths and Transformations: Thinking Through the “End” of Old English Verse’, in Mark C. Amodio (ed.), Unbinding Proteus: New Directions in Oral Theory (Tempe, AZ, 2005), pp. 149–178. ‘Edith’s Choice’, in Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe and Andy Orchard (eds),



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Latin Learning, English Lore: Studies in Anglo-Saxon Literature for Michael Lapidge (2 vols, Toronto, 2005), vol. 2, pp. 253–274. ‘Listening to the Scenes of Reading: King Alfred’s Talking Prefaces’, in Mark Chinca and Christopher Young (eds), Orality and Literacy in the Middle Ages: Essays on a Conjunction and its Consequences in Honour of D. H. Green, Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy, 12 (Turnhout, 2005), pp. 15–34. ‘Guthlac’s Crossings’, Quaestio, 2 (2001), 1–26. ‘Keeping the Conversation Going: Critical Strategies and Old English Texts’, Old English Newsletter, Subsidia, 27 (1999), 15–27. Preface to the 1999 edition of Edward B. Irving, Jr, A Reading of Beowulf (Provo, UT, 1999), pp. v–viii. ‘Body and Law in Late Anglo-Saxon England’, Anglo-Saxon England, 27 (1998), 209–232. ‘Reading the C-Text: The After-Lives of London, British Library, Cotton Tiberius B. I’, in Phillip Pulsiano and Elaine Treharne (eds), Studies on Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts and Their Heritage: 10th-12th Century (Aldershot, 1998), pp. 137–160. ‘The Performing Body on the Oral-Literate Continuum: Old English Poetry’, in John Miles Foley (ed.), Teaching Oral Traditions (New York, 1998), pp. 46–58. ‘Diction, Variation, Formula’, in Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles (eds), A Beowulf Handbook (Lincoln, NE, 1997), pp. 85–104. Foreword to Kevin Kiernan, Beowulf and the Beowulf Manuscript, rev. edn (Ann Arbor, MI, 1997), pp. ix–xiii. ‘Source, Method, Theory, Practice: On Reading Two Old English Verse Texts’, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 76 (1994), 51–73. [Reprinted in Donald Scragg (ed.), Textual and Material Culture in Anglo-Saxon England (Cambridge, 2003), pp. 161–182.] ‘Editing and the Material Text’, in D. G. Scragg and Paul E. Szarmach (eds), The Editing of Old English (Woodbridge, 1994), pp. 143–149. ‘Texts and Works: Some Historical Questions on the Editing of Old English Verse’, in Jeffrey N. Cox and Larry J. Reynolds (eds), New Historical Literary Study (Princeton, 1993), pp. 54–68. ‘The Geographic List of Solomon and Saturn II’, Anglo-Saxon England, 20 (1991), 123–141. ‘Heroic Values and Christian Ethics’, in Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature (Cambridge, 1991), pp. 107–125. ‘An Information-Theoretic Approach to the Scribal Reading of Old English’, Computers and the Humanities, 23 (1989), 459–467 [with W. Rundell]. ‘Orality and the Developing Text of Caedmon’s Hymn’, Speculum, 62 (l987), 1–20. [Reprinted in Mary P. Richards (ed.), Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: Basic Readings (New York, 1994), pp. 221–250. And reprinted in Roy M. Liuzza (ed.), Old English Literature (New Haven, 2002), pp. 79–102.]

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‘Graphic Cues for the Presentation of Verse in the Earliest English Manuscripts of the Historia ecclesiastica’, Manuscripta, 32 (1987), 139–146. ‘Printing Strategies for Old English Characters Using WordPerfect’, Old English Newsletter, 21 (Spring 1987): 28–30 [with S. Perkins]. ‘The Text of Aldhelm’s Enigma no. C in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Rawlinson C. 697 and Exeter Riddle 40’, Anglo-Saxon England, 14 (l985), 61–73. ‘Numerical Taxonomy and the Analysis of Manuscript Relationships’, Manuscripta, 27 (l983), l3l–145 [with A. Journet]. ‘Exploring the Applications of NT-SYS for Grouping Manuscript Records of a Medieval Text’, in Sara K. Burton and Douglas D. Short (eds), Sixth International Conference on Computers and the Humanities (Rockville, MD, l983), pp. 311–317 [with A. Journet]. ‘Six Hexameral Blessings: A Curiosity in the Benedictional of Archbishop Robert’, Medievalia et Humanistica, NS, 11 (1982), 99–109. ‘Beowulf 702b-836: Transformations and the Limits of the Human’, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 23 (1981), 84–94. ‘Exeter Riddle 40: The Art of an Old English Translator’, Proceedings of the Patristics, Medieval, and Renaissance Conference, 5 (1980), 107–117. ‘The Use of Bede’s Writings on Genesis in Alcuin’s Interrogationes’, Sacris Erudiri, 23 (1978–1979), 463–483. ‘Three English Writers on Genesis: Some Observations on Ælfric’s Theological Legacy’, Ball State University Forum, 19 (1978), 69–78.

Work Forthcoming or Under Contract ‘Who Reads Now? The Anxieties of Millennial Reading’, in Daniel G. Donahue, James Simpson, Nicholas Watson, and Anna Wilson (eds), Reading Then, Reading Now (Cambridge, forthcoming). ‘The Wayward Tongue of Folcleasung in Alfred 32: Oaths, Bodies, and Communal Truth’, in Francis Leneghan and Amy Faulkner (eds), The Age of Alfred (Turnhout, forthcoming). ‘The Old English Boethius and its Early Editions’, Festschrift for Kevin Kiernan, edited by David Johnson (forthcoming).

Encyclopedia Articles ‘Old English Prose and Poetry’, in Robert E. Bjork (ed.), The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages (Oxford, 2011), pp. 1009b–1010b. ‘The Wife’s Lament’, in Paul E. Szarmach, M. Teresa Tavormina, and Joel T. Rosenthal (eds), Medieval England: An Encyclopedia (New York, 1998), pp. 786–787. ‘Solomon and Saturn’, in Paul E. Szarmach, M. Teresa Tavormina, and Joel



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T. Rosenthal (eds), Medieval England: An Encyclopedia (New York, 1998), pp. 702–703. ‘Caedmon’, in Michael Lapidge, Simon Keynes, and D. G. Scragg (eds), Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 1999), p. 81. ‘Literacy’, in Michael Lapidge, Simon Keynes, and D. G. Scragg (eds), Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 1999), pp. 289–290. ‘Punctuation’, in Michael Lapidge, Simon Keynes, and D. G. Scragg (eds), Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 1999), pp 381–382. ‘Solomon and Saturn’ (poetic), in Michael Lapidge, Simon Keynes, and D. G. Scragg (eds), Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 1999), pp. 424–425. ‘Solomon and Saturn’ (prose), in Michael Lapidge, Simon Keynes, and D. G. Scragg (eds), Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 1999), p. 425.

Selected Reviews and Review Articles Review of Scott Bruce, Silence and Sign Language in Medieval Monasticism: The Cluniac Tradition c. 900-1200, Speculum, 84 (2009), 676–677. Review of Roy Michael Liuzza, Beowulf, The Medieval Review, July 2001 [http://www.hti.umich.edu/b/bmr/tmr.html]. Review of Eric John, Reassessing Anglo-Saxon England, Arthuriana, 10, no. 4 (2000), 77–78. Review of Allen J. Frantzen, Beyond the Closet: Same-Sex Love from Beowulf to Angels in America, Studies in the Age of Chaucer (2000), 491–495. Review of M. J. Swanton (trans.), The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Speculum, 73 (1998), 905–907. Review of M. Clayton and H. Maginnis, The Old English Lives of St Margaret, Speculum, 72 (1997), 451–453. ‘Individual Poems’, Year’s Work in Old English Studies, 29.2 (Winter, 1996), 33ba–37b. ‘Individual Poems’, Year’s Work in Old English Studies, 28.2 (Winter, 1995), 29a–32b. ‘Individual Poems’, Year’s Work in Old English Studies, 27.2 (Winter, 1994), 38a–41b. ‘Individual Poems’, Year’s Work in Old English Studies, 26.2 (Winter, 1993): 26a–31b. Review of John Miles Foley, Immanent Art, Speculum, 69 (1994), 468–470. ‘Individual Poems’, Year’s Work in Old English Studies, 25.2 (Winter, 1992), 33b–37a. Review of Douglas Moffat, The Old English ‘Soul and Body’, Speculum, 67 (1992), 1012–1013.

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‘Individual Poems’, Year’s Work in Old English Studies, 24.2 (Winter, 1991), 26b–30a. ‘Individual Poems’, Year’s Work in Old English Studies, 23 (Fall, 1989): 60b–64b. Review of Texts and their Traditions in the Medieval Library of Rochester Cathedral Priory, Year’s Work in Old English Studies, 23 (Fall, 1989), 80–81. ‘Individual Poems’, Year’s Work in Old English Studies, 22 (Fall, 1988), 66–72. Review of Four Corpus Christi Mystery Cycles, South Central Review, 5.4 (1988), 72–73. ‘Individual Poems’, Year’s Work in Old English Studies, 21 (Fall, 1987), 74–82. ‘Individual Poems’, Year’s Work in Old English Studies, 20 (Fall, 1986), 68–74.

Ώ

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Ώ

Index of Manuscripts

Augsburg, Universitätsbibliothek, Cod. II.1.2° 38 18n.21 Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, bibl. 1 71n.4 Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 23 103n.48 Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 41 172, 193n.70 Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 173 136n.4 Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 223 17, 18, 20, 22–3, 24–5, 26 Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 318 185n.43 Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 422 100n.39 Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, MS 144/194 19–20 Cambridge, Sidney Sussex College, MS 102 172n.5 Cambridge, Trinity College, MS B.15.34 193 Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.5.22 172n.5 Cambridge, University Library, Dd.3.12 173n.10, 173n.12, 174n.14, 176n.21 Cambridge, University Library, Ff.1.23 100n.38, 101n.42 Cambridge, University Library, MS Gg.3.28 183, 194, 203 Cambridge, University Library, Gg. 5.35 19–20 Cambridge, University Library, Kk.3.18 172 Durham, Cathedral Library, MS B.IV.9 17, 18, 21, 22–3, 24, 26 Exeter, Exeter Cathedral Library, MS 3501 107–9, 111n.12, 115, 122, 267, 268–9 London, British Library, MS Add. 10546 71n.4 London, British Library, MS Add. 21926 73n.10, 73n.11 London, British Library, MS Add. 25384 175n.18 London, British Library, MS Add. 34600 175n.20 London, British Library, MS Add. 34601 174n.16, 175n.19, 176n.23, 177n.27, 178n.30 London, British Library, MS Add. 49598 98n.34 London, British Library, MS Burney 3 73n.9 London, British Library, MS Cotton Claudius B.iv 72n.5, 98n.33 London, British Library, MS Cotton Cleopatra C.viii 103n.48 London, British Library, MS Cotton Otho A.vi 37 London, British Library, MS Cotton Otho B.XI 171–2 London, British Library, MS Cotton Tiberius C.II 172n.5 London, British Library, MS Cotton Vitellius A.XV 267, 268–9

316

1 Index of Manuscripts

London, British Library, MS Harley 374 172n.6, 173n.11, 176n.22, 176n.25, 177n.26, 176n.28, 176n.29, 198n.91
 London, British Library, MS Harley 440 178n.30 London, British Library, MS Harley 2904 100n.39 London, British Library, MS Harley 3826 23–4 London, Society of Antiquaries, MS 60 209n.7 Munich, Bayerische Staatsbiblitek, Clm. 4453 101n.42 New York, The Morgan Library and Museum, MS M.302 73n.10 New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS M.709 100n.38, 101n.42 Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Auctarium F.3.6 17–18, 21–2, 26 Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Auctarium F.4.32 105n.54 Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 180 37 Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Hatton 20 145n.29 Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 11 5, 70–99, 102–6, 267, 269 Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Tanner 67 174n.14 Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Tanner 70 173n.11 Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, 512 (805) 18n.21 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, fr. 6275 73n.10 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 1 71n.4 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 4841 18n.21 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 8084 15n.8 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 8085 14n.6, 18 Rochester, Cathedral Library, A.3.5 136n.4 Rome, San Paolo fuori le Mura 71n.4 Rouen, Bibliothèque Municipale, A. 292 [26] 101n.40 Rouen, Bibliothèque Municipale, Y. 6[274] 100n.39 Salisbury, Cathedral Library, MS 154 232n.35 Valenciennes, Bibliothèque municipale, 413 23 Vercelli, Biblioteca Capitolare CXVII 31n.67, 267, 268–9

Ώ

General Index

Abbo of Saint-Germaindes-Prés 23 Abel 16, 98, 102 Acts of the Apostles 135 Adam 188–9, 190, 232. See also Genesis A, Genesis B Adams, Sir Thomas 173, 178–9 Ælfgar, earl of East Anglia and Mercia 154, 155, 160 Ælfgifu of Northampton 155 Ælfric 7, 27, 28 Catholic Homilies 7, 27, 138, 170n.3, 172, 177–8, 183, 184, 187, 188–9, 190–1, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196–8, 199–200, 201–3, 229–30, 231, 232–33, 235–6, 247, 250 Colloquy 1, 3, 6, 13, 122, 128–9, 275 grammatical texts 228 Lives of Saints 9, 183, 244–6, 251–8 Ælric, kinsman of Godwin 150, 156 Æthelbald, king of Kent 122 Æthelbald, king of Mercia 122 Æthelbryht 136–7 Æthelred II “the Unready” 151–2 Æthelred of Mercia 209–10, 212, 220 Æthelstan 186, 256 Æthelthryth, Saint, abbess of Ely 9,199, 218–19, 245n.5, 251, 254–6, 257 Æthelwold, bishop of Winchester 211, 218–24, 248 affective piety 5 afterlife, the 16, 28, 31, 194. See also heaven, hell, purgatory

Agatha, Saint 9, 245, 251. See also martyrs Agatho, pope 209, 211, 220 agency 1, 4, 6, 8–10, 28, 34, 56, 64, 111, 119–20, 126, 129, 139, 225–6, 237, 243, 253, 274–9 Agnes, Saint 9, 244–5, 251–2, 253, 254, 258. See also martyrs Ahmed, Sara 70, 79 Aidan, bishop of Lindisfarne 187 Alcuin 23, 28, 32n.74 De ratione animae 26 De virtutibus et vitiis 185, 188, 194 Aldhelm 246n.6, 263 Alfred Ætheling 150 Alfred the Great 6, 8, 55, 65, 68, 118, 122, 256 educational reform 55, 68 law code 135–7, 139–49, 186 and OE Boethius 37n.12, 40n.23, 48n.49 preface to Pastoral Care 144–8, 267 as translator of Bede 170, 173n.11, 175 see also Asser, Life of Alfred, Gregory the Great, Pastoral Care Alhhum of Worcester, bishop 123n.49 alliteration 221 Amalarius of Metz 232–5 Ambrose, Explanatio psalmi cxviii 31n.73 Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 3, 10, 118, 153, 154, 157–9, 165, 165–8, 171–2, 185, 207, 224, 262, 267, 269, 270–1, 272, 279 Northern Recension, the 8, 153, 167, 207

318

1 General Index

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (cont’d) Peterborough Chronicle 8, 9, 207–24 Peterborough Interpolations 8, 207–8, 211–13, 215, 218, 219, 224 animal studies 108–9 Annals of St Neots 118 Anselm of Canterbury 101, 275–9 Apostolic Canons 184 Arendt, Hannah 6, 137, 142–3, 146–7, 148–9 Aristotle 35 Ascension 102, 104, 113n.15, 192. See also Christ Asser, Life of Alfred 122 audience 5, 32, 36–8, 40, 44, 45, 48, 51, 52, 65–7, 80, 214, 252, 255–6, 263–4, 274 Augustine of Hippo, Saint 27, 48, 56, 77, 97, 104, 188, 231–5, 251, 274 Ball, John 266 baptism 8–9, 137, 186, 188–9, 194, 201–2, 226, 227–37, 238–9, 243 Barrett, Sam 25n.38, 25n.40, 26 Battle of Maldon 122n.44, 123 Bayeux Tapestry 72 Bede 23, 250 Ecclesiastical History of the English People  7, 170–5, 178, 179–85, 187–8, 191, 192–6, 198–200, 202, 204, 242, 254–6, 258n.46 On Genesis 77, 103–4, 105 Life of St. Cuthbert, 118n.32 see also Wheelock, Abraham Bellarmine, Robert, cardinal 184 Benedictine Reform 34, 223, 257 Benedictine Rule 13, 248 Beowulf 64, 120, 123, 269 Berhtwald, archbishop of Canterbury 184n.40 Bible, the 16, 136n.3 birds see Fortunes of Men, The Bjork, Robert E. 30n.64 Black Book of Peterborough see cartularies blood 62–3, 201, 202, 203, 228, 233n.40

Bloomfield, Morton 132 body 3, 4, 9, 14, 15–16, 25–6, 27–9, 56, 62, 68, 79, 117, 119–20, 131, 188, 193, 227–9, 241, 251, 255–6, 258 mutilation of 120, 121, 244–7, 257, 272–3 nakedness 5, 74, 76, 77–9, 80, 96–7, 98–9, 104, 105, 244–5, 251–2 Boethius (Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius), Consolation of Philosophy 4, 13, 27, 28, 56 Old English Boethius 4, 34–53, 65n.31, 68–9 Boniface 122, 233 Brady, Lindy 120 brain see cognition, mind Burghal Hidage, the 185 Burgred of Mercia 123 Bynum, Caroline Walker definition of wonder 35, 41, 44, 47, 48–9 Cadwallon, king of Gwynned 199 Cain 16 Calvin, John 184, 189, 191 Cambridge 107, 173, 174, 191 Canterbury 16, 101n.42, 103n.48, 226n.5 cathedral priory/Christ Church 72, 103n.48 see also Robert of Jumièges, St. Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury Capitulare Saxonicum 140 cartularies 208 Black Book of Peterborough 209–11, 218, 220, 224 Ceolfrith 202 Chaganti, Seeta 65n.31 Charlemagne 66, 139, 140n.16, 142 Charles I, king of England 176, 186 Chaucer, Geoffrey 110, 124 children 78, 112, 116, 124, 131, 138, 156, 165, 202, 225, 226–36, 242, 274



General Index  1

Christ 14, 16, 25, 48, 102–4, 112–13, 180, 188–90, 191–2, 199, 201, 213, 214, 217, 223, 227–8, 231–3, 238–41, 253 at Crucifixion 100, 101–2, 104, 112, 188, 200 and eucharist 201, 202–3 as intercessor 7, 196 spiritual marriage with 276–7 Chrodegang of Metz 177–8, 185 Clemoes, Peter 29 cognition , 3–4, 9, 35–6, 42–5, 47, 51, 56, 57, 64, 111, 126, 230, 243, 264. See also emotion, wonder Cole, Andrew 97 Communion, Holy see Eucharist community 6, 8, 139, 142–3, 226, 237, 273 birds 130 Christian 4, 9, 227, 230, 235–6, 238, 240, 243, 244, 257–58, 273 reading 20, 111 religious 225, 229, 241, 249, 275 confession 193–4, 203, 272 Conquest, Norman 2, 4, 7, 13, 14, 16, 19, 24, 26–7, 32–3, 72n.8, 150, 153, 173, 211, 221, 267, 279 Cotton, Robert 171 Cotton, Thomas 171 Cramer, Peter 235 Crane, Susan 108–9 criminals 9, 110, 112, 117, 119, 130, 131, 246–7, 272 Cross, J. E. 121, 127 Crucifixion, the see Christ Cyneburh, sister of Wulfhere 212, 217 Cyneswith, sister of Wulfhere 212, 217 Cynewulf 30–32 Guthlac B 30n.64, 31n.70 Dammers, Richard 124 Daniel, Roger, printer 170, 176, 178, 191n.64 Danvers, Alexander 44, 46–7 Daston, Lorraine 35, 44, 48, 49 Davenant, John 191 Davis, Kathleen 59–60 Davis-Secord, Jonathan 9

319

death 5, 28, 71, 74, 98, 99, 100–1, 102, 104, 110, 112, 114, 117, 119, 120, 125, 188, 190, 246 Deleuze, Gilles 109, 110n.9, 126–8, 129, 131–2 Derrida, Jacques 124–5 desire 4, 13, 16, 36, 55–6, 57–60, 65–7, 68–9, 71, 76, 80, 97, 249, 251 despair 73, 77, 117. See also emotions Deusdedit, archbishop of Canterbury 212, 217, 220 Deuteronomy 98, 135 D’Ewes, Sir Simonds 172n.6, 173n.11, 175–7, 198n.91, 204 Dickinson, Tania 118n.34 digital humanities 262 DiNapoli, Robert 124 Discenza, Nicole Guenther 4 Disticha Catonis 13, 14, 19 Dodwell, C. R. 77n.16, 98n.35 Dryhthelm 194–5 Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury 105n.54, 222–3, 275 Ecclesiastical History of the English People, An see under Bede Eden, garden of 72, 100, 114 Edgar, king 210–11, 218–19, 220n.47, 222–3 Edict of Milan 226 Edith, queen 153, 155, 162, 167 education 4, 5, 13, 26, 32, 48, 55, 65, 68, 156, 192–3, 197 Edward the Confessor 6, 8, 150, 152–69 Uita Ædwardi regis 152–3, 156–62, 163–7 Ellard, Donna Beth 109, 131 Ely Abbey 183, 199, 215–16, 219, 256, 257 Emma of Normandy 160 Encomium Emmae Reginae 152, 153n.15 emotions 4–5, 35–6, 37–9, 41–2, 43–7, 49, 51, 56–7, 59, 60, 64–5, 68, 73, 77, 98, 100, 272 See also cognition, despair, grief, joy, lust, pride, sadness, shame, wonder

320

1 General Index

Ethelburga, abbess of Barking 195 eucharist 186, 201–2, 203, 243 Eugenia, Saint 9, 245, 251, 252–3, 257, 258 Eustace of Bologne 157–9, 165, 168 Eve 190, 197 Exeter Book riddles 109, 122 Exodus 139 Fall, the 70–1, 73, 74–79, 96–100, 104, 106, 114, 120, 189 fate 31n.73, 111, 116, 117, 119–21, 125, 127–8, 130, 132, 190, 275, 276 Fates of Men, The see Fortunes of Men, The Fates of Mortals, The see Fortunes of Men, The Fleming, Robin 150n.1 flight 5, 108, 110–11, 112–14, 115, 116–19, 121, 131 Floridi, Luciano 234n.41 font (baptismal) 201, 230–1, 239 font (printing) 170–1, 188 Fortunes of Men, The 5, 107–32 falconer 121–2, 128 hawk taming 110, 112, 114, 116, 121–5, 128–9, 130 raven 110, 112, 114, 117–21, 125 tree-climber 5, 110, 112, 113–14, 116, 120–1, 125, 128, 129, 131 Foucault, Michel 247, 272 Foxe, John 203 free will 2–3, 13–14, 16, 36, 37, 126, 188–91, 274–7 Fuller Brooch 76 Fursey 193 Galen 251 Gameson, Richard 18 Genesis A 74n.13, 76, 79n.24, 80, 96, 99, 102n.43, 104n.52 Genesis B 5, 70–80, 97, 98–100, 104, 106 Genesis, Book of 74, 77, 80, 96, 98, 102, 104, 113–14 Genesis, Old Saxon 71n.4, 73–4, 97 Genius 3, 262 Gennadius of Marseilles 15, 17, 18 Germanus, bishop of Auxerre 188

gestures 5, 71–3, 77–80, 96, 98–106 glossing 4, 5, 16,17–18, 19–26, 29–30, 56, 137, 238n.61, 266–7 God 9, 27–8, 72, 74–6, 79–80, 96, 99, 100n.38, 106, 113–14, 139, 195, 244, 252–3, 255, 273, 274 in Ælfric, Catholic Homilies 138 in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 214 in Apotheosis 15, 25 and baptism 230–1, 235, 236, 238–40 in the Benedictine Rule 248 in Fortunes of Men 5, 110–11, 115–16, 121, 125–6, 129, 130, 131 in Hamartigenia 16 in the Junius MS 5, 103–4 in OE Boethius 36–7, 38–9, 41, 42, 43–4, 45–9, 51, 52 in OE Pastoral Care 55, 59, 146 in Vita S. Rumwoldi 226, 228 in Wheelock 178, 182, 187–8, 189–92, 196–7, 199, 202 Godden, Malcolm 26, 28–29, 37, 48n.49, 52, 64, 65, 66 Godgifa, sister of Edward the Confessor 158 godparents 202, 230–1, 233, 239 Godwin, Earl of Wessex 6–7, 8, 150, 152–69 Gospel of Nicodemus, Old English 185 Graham, Timothy 7 Gregory the Great Dialogi 97 Pastoral Care 4, 54, 57, 58–9, 60–3, 67, 69 Old English Pastoral Care, 4–5, 54–6, 57, 58–64, 66–7, 68–9 see also Alfred the Great grief 57, 59, 62, 63, 69, 71n.4, 73, 77n.16, 97–9, 100–1, 102, 103, 104–6, 107, 120. See also emotions Grimbold of Saint-Bertin 142 Gruffudd ap Llywelyn 154 Guattari, Félix 109, 110n.9, 126–8, 129, 131–2 Gunhild, Wilton nun, daughter of Henry II 275–9



General Index  1

Guthlac B see under Cynewulf Gytha, mother of Queen Edith 155 Hædda, 209, 211 Haraway, Donna 127 Harbus, Antonina 35n.10 Harold Godwineson 154, 164 Harthacnut 156, 160 hearing 51, 52, 75, 76, 198, 250, 255, 267, 269. See also senses heaven 16, 29, 31, 75, 103, 108, 109, 113, 194, 196–7, 203, 231, 237, 243, 245, 248, 272 Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine 200 hell 16, 29, 71, 76, 99–100, 189, 193 hellmouth 99, 103n.48 Henry I, king of France 164 Henry VIII, king of England 203 Hexateuch, Old English 72, 98, 106n.55 Hild, abbess of Whitby 257–8 Hill, Thomas 120 Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum see under Bede Hobson, Jacob 6–7 homilies 15, 27, 100n.37, 137–8, 177, 181–2, 185, 188–9, 200. See also Ælfric, Gregory the Great Howard, Edwin J. 114 Howe, Nicholas 2, 116, 128, 131 Hugh Candidus 208, 221 humility 58, 70n.1, 113, 138, 148, 238 identity 1, 9, 32–3, 152, 163, 169, 225–9, 236, 237–8, 241, 243, 245, 272, 275 imagination 143, 146–9, 236 Ine, king of Wessex 136–7, 147–8 intoxication 80, 187 Irvine, Martin 30 Irvine, Susan 37, 208, 221 Isaacs, Neil 113n.15 Isidore of Seville 125, 228, 250 James, William 3, 262 Jerome 15, 250 Jerusalem 190, 200, 264 John, apostle 100–3

321

John, book of 100–3, 231, 240n.71 John the Baptist 197–8, 201, 239 John the Deacon 232 John the Old Saxon 142 Jorgensen, Alice 80 joy 4, 36, 54, 57, 58–64, 68–9, 102n.43, 123n.50, 165, 236n.50, 253, 275. See also emotions Judith of Flanders 100n.38, 101 Justinian, Digesta 141–2 Kant, Immanuel 137, 142–3, 146–7, 148 Karkov, Catherine 73n.12, 98n.35, 101n.40, 106n.55 Kenobi, Obi-Wan see O’Keeffe, Katherine O’Brien kingship 6, 8, 55–6, 135–7, 143–5, 148–9, 150–2, 155–7, 159–161, 164, 166 Kiser, Lisa 124–5 Klein, Stacy 5 Lapidge, Michael 19–20 Larrington, Carolynne 115, 127 Last Judgment 14, 15, 28 Laud, William, archbishop of Canterbury 190 law 6, 8, 135–37, 139–45, 147–9, 161, 162, 164, 185–6, 246, 272–4 Lees, Clare 245n.5, 257–8 Lendinara, Patrizia 23, 24 Leofric, abbot of Peterborough 216 Leofric, earl of Mercia, 154, 155, 158, 160 Leofwine Godwineson 164 Lévi-Strauss, Claude 111n.10, 130 Liber ex lege Moysi 139 L’Isle, William 203 literacy 2, 10, 146, 264, 267, 268, 269–70 Lockett, Leslie 4, 56, 63–4 Lorden, Jennifer 4–5 Lucy, Saint 9, 245, 251, 253–4, 258. See also martyrs Luke, book of 188 lust 62, 76, 77–8, 96–7, 250, 253. See also emotions

322

1 General Index

Luther, Martin 187 MacDonald, Helen, H is for Hawk, 107, 110, 130 Magoun, Francis P. 117 Marenbon, John 36n.11 Maring, Heather 109, 113 marriage 227, 254, 276–7 Martianus Capella 23 Martin, John Levi 111n.10 Martin, Molly 78, 96 martyrs 77n.18, 138, 197–8, 203 St. Basilissa 244n.3 St. Cecilia 244n.3 St. Chrysanthus (husband of Daria) 244n.3, 257 St. Daria 244n.3 virgin 9, 244–58 see also Agatha, Saint, Agnes, Saint, and Lucy, Saint Mary, Virgin 100–1, 102, 187, 196–7, 216, 257 Annunciation 196–7 parents 196 Mathews, Karen Rose 72n.7 Matthew, book of 101–2, 195–6, 232n.37 Maxims I 115 Maxims II 115, 128 Medeshamstede See Peterborough Abbey Messiaen, Olivier 126, 131–2 Michael, archangel 196 mind 26, 29, 46, 55–7, 59, 60, 63–4, 75–6, 96, 107, 112, 114–15, 117, 130, 143, 144n.28, 149, 167, 198, 235n.47, 251, 265. See also mod mod 34, 37n.14, 51, 52, 59, 99, 248 in OE Boethius 39 see also mind monasticism 1, 3, 6, 9, 13, 14, 25, 29, 32, 156, 178, 218, 225, 238, 273, 274, 275, 278. See also Benedictine Rule Moore, Mary Tyler 276 Mulvey, Laura 249 musical notation 16, 17–18, 24–6 Nechtan, king of the Picts 202

Neoplatonism 27, 28n.55, 45 Neville, Jennifer 114 New Testament 16, 135, 203 Noah 80, 96 Nolan, Maura 3 Norman Conquest see Conquest, Norman Nowell, Laurence 171 O’Brien O’Keeffe, Katherine xi, 13 on Ælfric’s Colloquy 1, 3–4, 6, 13, 275 on the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 153n.17, 262, 270–1, 272 on the Benedictine Rule 13 on bodily mutilation 244, 246–7, 258, 272 on the body 272–4 on the Disticha Catonis 13 on editing 270, 271 influence and mentorship 10, 32, 33, 34, 53, 69, 70n.1, 279–80 on Latin curriculum 13 as Obi-Wan Kenobi 261 overview of work 1–3, 261–80 on Pastoral Care 55, 58–9, 64, 66 on Prosper, Epigrammata 13 Stealing Obedience 32, 126, 225–6, 237, 248, 262, 263, 274–80 Visible Song 262, 263–70, 271 Odda, earl 163, 165 Odin 112–13, 117 Offa, king of Mercia 123, 136–7, 147 Old Testament 16, 108n.3, 139 orality 34, 264, 267–8, 270 Osgod Clapa 154, 157 O’Sullivan, Sinéad 22 Oswald, archbishop of York 222–3 Oswald, king of Northumbria 199–200 Oswiu, king of Northumbria 209, 212–13 Otto I 139 paratext 16, 20, 29, 31 Park, Katharine 35, 44, 48, 49 Parker, Matthew, archbishop of Canterbury 177, 203



General Index  1

Peada, king of Mercia 191, 209, 212–13, 242 Pelagianism 188 Penda, king of Mercia 191, 212, 227–8, 242 Peterborough Abbey 207–8, 209, 210–11, 212–14, 215–16, 220, 221–2 Phoenix, Old English 109 Pippin 140–1 Plato 35 poverty 57 power 159, 161, 162, 164–5, 167, 212, 217, 221, 242, 247–9, 251, 256 and bodies 9, 258 in Fortunes of Men 110–11, 113, 119, 121, 124–7, 129, 130 God’s 36, 38, 42n.30, 108, 240 and kingship 6–7, 141, 144n.27, 150, 152, 155–7, 169 in OE Boethius 43–4, 46, 47, 49, 51 in OE Pastoral Care 54, 55–6, 58, 66–9 of sacraments 201, 202, 233–4 pride 57, 59, 79n.22, 125, 162. See also emotions Prosper, Epigrammata 13, 14 Prudentius (Aurelius Prudentius Clemens) 4, 56 Apotheosis 4, 13, 1, 15, 16, 17–18, 20–21, 22–3, 24–5, 26, 27–8, 29, 30, 32 Cathemerinon 25 Hamartigenia 4, 13, 15–16, 17–20, 21, 23, 24, 26, 27–8, 29–30, 31, 32 Peristephanon 17 Psychomachia 14–15, 16, 18, 30, 103n.48 Psalms 108n.3, 137n.7, 173n.12, 187, 237, 248, 255 psychology 13, 14, 26–9, 32, 44–6, 56–7, 59–64, 78 purgatory 7, 31n.73, 177, 180–1, 186, 192–5, 272 Quinn, Dennis 35, 40

323

Ralph, earl of Hereford 154, 155, 158, 160 Ramsey Abbey 216 Rankin, Susan 24 rape 72n.8, 254, 276, 277–9 Raw, Barbara L. 71n.4 readers 2, 31, 101, 264, 265, 267–9, 270, 271, 278 of Fortunes of Men, The 113, 120, 125, 128, 131 of Genesis B 5, 77, 96 monastic 6, 13 of OE Boethius 36, 37, 40, 42–3, 45, 47, 49, 51 of Prudentius 4, 14–16, 18, 20, 22, 25, 26–7, 29, 32 in Wheelock 175, 178, 179, 180–1, 188, 193, 194, 197 Reformation, the 187 Regula Pastoralis See Gregory the Great Relics 7, 9, 186, 195, 197–9, 241, 256–8 Relihan, Joel C. 36n.11, 45 Remigius of Auxerre 19, 23 Reuter, Timothy 151 Roach, Levi 144n.27, 144n.28 Robert De Bello 72–3 Robert of Gloucester, Metrical Chronicle 186 Robert of Jumièges, archbishop of Canterbury 6, 100n.39, 150, 153, 154, 155, 156–7, 159, 161, 162, 164, 168 Roberts, Jane 30 Rosier, James L. 70n.1 Russom, Geoffrey 127 sacraments 186, 201–3, 228–9, 233–7, 238–9, 243. See also baptism, confession, eucharist sadness 54, 57, 58–64, 68–9, 77, 98, 100, 105. See also emotions St. Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury 19, 72, 73, 153, 165, 210 saints 7. See also martyrs Saltzman, Benjamin 5, 60, 68

324

1 General Index

Satan 74, 99, 227, 230, 231n.27 satire 36n.11 scribes 2, 8, 14n.6, 18, 19n.24, 20–2, 29, 31n.67, 207, 217, 221, 238n.61, 265, 267–8, 271 Seafarer, The 29, 108–9 Seasons for Fasting 185 Seaxwulf, abbot of Peterborough 212–14, 216–17 Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky 78–9 Sedulius, Caelius  19 senses, the 29, 70n.1, 76, 105, 187–8, 198, 250–2, 273. See also hearing, sight, taste Sermon on the Mount 135 shame 5, 71, 73, 77–80, 96–7, 98–9, 104–5, 106. See also emotions sheela-na-gig 72n.7 Shiota, Michelle 44, 46–7 Shippey, Thomas 121 sight 5, 9, 71, 73–7, 96, 103–4, 105–6, 117, 119, 248, 250–1. See also senses, the sin 9, 13, 61–2, 65, 97, 191, 201–2, 228, 231–2, 239, 249–50, 273, 274 Cynewulf 31 original 7, 76, 97, 100n.38, 186, 188–9, 196–7, 232, 235, 237 of pride 59 in purgatory 193–4 and vision 103n.48 see also Hamartigenia Sinatra, Nancy 276 Smith, Scott Thompson 8 soul, the 4, 13, 77, 105, 109, 188, 189, 194, 213, 251, 272–3 in Ælfric, Catholic Homilies 250 in Cynewulf 31 in Fortunes of Men, The 112, 114, 117, 119, 129 in Genesis B 75 in Prudentius 14, 15, 16, 25, 26–9, 32, 56 in OE Boethius 46 speech act theory 8, 229, 231, 233 Spelman, Sir Henry 173–9, 186, 204 Stafford, Pauline 155

Stigand, bishop of Winchester 155, 161–2, 168 Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars 141 Swithun, Saint 256–7 Synod of Dort 189 taste 250. See also senses, the Ten Commandments, the 135, 190 Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury 178, 184n.40 Theodoric, emperor 36 Theodulf of Orléans, Capitula, Old English 185 Thinking see cognition Thirty-Nine Articles, the 7, 186–7, 189, 191, 195, 201 Thornbury, Emily 6 Tomkins, Silvan 78, 80 Tommaso Masaccio 73 translation, practice of 4, 36, 67 Tree of Knowledge 74, 100n.38, 120 Trent, Council of 180, 181n.33, 194, 198 Trinity, the 15, 178, 233n.38, 238, 239–40, 241n.75, 241n.78 Trinity Homilies, the 137 Tripp, Raymond 113n.15 Ussher, James, archbishop of Armagh 181 Vikings 119, 148, 273 virginity 9, 219, 245, 252, 254–5, 258, 277 vision see sight Vita S. Rumwoldi 8–9, 225–6, 227–9, 236–43 Wanderer, The 29, 64 war 117, 118, 122, 159, 166, 167, 169, 179, 242, 275 Ward, Benedicta 48–9 wealth 57, 63, 75, 125–6, 162, 219 West, Benjamin 73 Wheelock, Abraham 7, 8, 170–204 White, T. H. The Once and Future King 107 Wilcox, Jonathan 79n.24, 98n.33, 98n.35, 106n.55



General Index  1

Wilcox, Miranda 8–9 William of Malmesbury 170n.3 Willibrord, missionary 197–8 wisdom 113, 125 in the OE Boethius 34, 36, 37–9, 41–9, 51–3 Wisdom literature 5, 107–8, 115–16, 126, 131. See also Fortunes of Men, The witan 144, 148, 150, 152, 154, 156, 158, 159–62, 163, 167–8, 169, 212

325

women 9, 102, 244–58 wonder 4, 34–49, 51–3 Wulfhere, king of Mercia 209–14, 216–17, 220 Wulfstan, bishop of London, archbishop of York 100n.37, 185, 202, 219, 273 Wulfstan of Winchester, Vita S. Aethelwoldi 219 wyrd see fate Ziolkowski, Jan 25

Ώ

Tabula Gratulatoria

Mark C. Amodio † George H. and Phyllis R. Brown Jorge L. Bueno Alonso Robert E. Bjork Siobhain Bly Calkin Katy Cubitt Richard Dance Jonathan Davis-Secord Kees Dekker Antonette diPaolo Healey Claudia Di Sciacca A. N. Doane Daniel Donoghue Leslie A. Donovan Jacqueline Fay Roberta Frank R. D. Fulk Lori Ann Garner Timothy Graham Nicole Guenther Discenza J. R. Hall John Hines Jacob Hobson Karen Louise Jolly Christopher A. Jones Leena Kahlas-Tarkka Kevin Kiernan Stacy S. Klein Johanna Kramer Michael Lapidge & Jill Mann Christina Lee

Patrizia Lendinara Francis Leneghan R. M. Liuzza Leslie Lockett Jennifer A. Lorden Rosalind Love Peter J. Lucas Hugh Magennis Brian J. McFadden Carol Neuman de Vegvar Jennifer Neville John D. Niles Maura Nolan Gale R. Owen-Crocker Christine Rauer Jane Roberts Joel T. Rosenthal Sharon M. Rowley Benjamin A. Saltzman Mercedes Salvador-Bello Bill Schipper Scott T. Smith Rebecca Stephenson Emily V. Thornbury M. J. Toswell Renée R. Trilling Erica Weaver Jonathan Wilcox Miranda Wilcox David Wilton

Anglo-Saxon Studies ISSN 1475-2468

general editors John Hines Catherine Cubitt ‘Anglo-Saxon Studies’ aims to provide a forum for the best scholarship on the Anglo-Saxon peoples in the period from the end of Roman Britain to the Norman Conquest, including comparative studies involving adjacent populations and periods; both new research and major re-assessments of central topics are welcomed. Books in the series may be based in any one of the principal disciplines of archaeology, art history, history, language, and literature, and inter- or multi-disciplinary studies are encouraged. Proposals or enquiries may be sent directly to the editors or the publisher at the addresses given below; all submissions will receive prompt and informed consideration. Professor John Hines, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, Wales, CF10 3EU, UK Professor Catherine Cubitt, School of History, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, NR4 7TJ, UK Boydell & Brewer, PO Box 9, Woodbridge, Suffolk, England, IP12 3DF, UK Previously published volumes in the series are listed below

ANGLO-SAXON STUDIES Volume 1: The Dramatic Liturgy of Anglo-Saxon England, M. Bradford Bedingfield Volume 2: The Art of the Anglo-Saxon Goldsmith: Fine Metalwork in AngloSaxon England: its Practice and Practitioners, Elizabeth Coatsworth and Michael Pinder Volume 3: The Ruler Portraits of Anglo-Saxon England, Catherine E. Karkov Volume 4: Dying and Death in Later Anglo-Saxon England, Victoria Thompson Volume 5: Landscapes of Monastic Foundation: The Establishment of Religious Houses in East Anglia, c. 650–1200, Tim Pestell Volume 6: Pastoral Care in Late Anglo-Saxon England, edited by Francesca Tinti Volume 7: Episcopal Culture in Late Anglo-Saxon England, Mary Frances Giandrea Volume 8: Elves in Anglo-Saxon England: Matters of Belief, Health, Gender and Identity, Alaric Hall Volume 9: Feasting the Dead: Food and Drink in Anglo-Saxon Burial Rituals, Christina Lee Volume 10: Anglo-Saxon Button Brooches: Typology, Genealogy, Chronology, Seiichi Suzuki Volume 11: Wasperton: A Roman, British and Anglo-Saxon Community in Central England, edited by Martin Carver with Catherine Hills and Jonathan Scheschkewitz Volume 12: A Companion to Bede, George Hardin Brown Volume 13: Trees in Anglo-Saxon England: Literature, Lore and Landscape, Della Hooke Volume 14: The Homiletic Writings of Archbishop Wulfstan, Joyce Tally Lionarons Volume 15: The Archaeology of the East Anglian Conversion, Richard Hoggett Volume 16: The Old English Version of Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica, Sharon M. Rowley Volume 17: Writing Power in Anglo-Saxon England: Texts, Hierarchies, Economies, Catherine A. M. Clarke Volume 18: Cognitive Approaches to Old English Poetry, Antonina Harbus

Volume 19: Environment, Society and Landscape in Early Medieval England: Time and Topography, Tom Williamson Volume 20: Honour, Exchange and Violence in Beowulf, Peter S. Baker Volume 21: John the Baptist’s Prayer or The Descent into Hell from the Exeter Book: Text, Translation and Critical Study, M. R. Rambaran-Olm Volume 22: Food, Eating and Identity in Early Medieval England, Allen J. Frantzen Volume 23: Capital and Corporal Punishment in Anglo-Saxon England, edited by Jay Paul Gates and Nicole Marafioti Volume 24: The Dating of Beowulf: A Reassessment, edited by Leonard Neidorf Volume 25: The Cruciform Brooch and Anglo-Saxon England, Toby F. Martin Volume 26: Trees in the Religions of Early Medieval England, Michael D. J. Bintley Volume 27: The Peterborough Version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Rewriting Post-Conquest History, Malasree Home Volume 28: The Anglo-Saxon Chancery: The History, Language and Production of Anglo-Saxon Charters from Alfred to Edgar, Ben Snook Volume 29: Representing Beasts in Early Medieval England and Scandinavia, edited by Michael D. J. Bintley and Thomas J. T. Williams Volume 30: Direct Speech in Beowulf and Other Old English Narrative Poems, Elise Louviot Volume 31: Old English Philology: Studies in Honour of R. D. Fulk, edited by Leonard Neidorf, Rafael J. Pascual and Tom Shippey Volume 32: ‘Charms’, Liturgies, and Secret Rites in Early Medieval England, Ciaran Arthur Volume 33: Old Age in Early Medieval England: A Cultural History, Thijs Porck Volume 34: Priests and their Books in Late Anglo-Saxon England, Gerald P. Dyson Volume 35: Burial, Landscape and Identity in Early Medieval Wessex, Kate Mees Volume 36: The Sword in Early Medieval Northern Europe: Experience, Identity, Representation, Sue Brunning Volume 37: The Chronology and Canon of Ælfric of Eynsham, Aaron J. Kleist Volume 38: Medical Texts in Anglo-Saxon Literary Culture, Emily Kesling Volume 39: The Dynastic Drama of Beowulf, Francis Leneghan

Volume 40: Old English Lexicology and Lexicography: Essays in Honor of Antonette diPaolo Healey, edited by Maren Clegg Hyer, Haruko Momma and Samantha Zacher Volume 41: Debating with Demons: Pedagogy and Materiality in Early English Literature, Christina M. Heckman