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2001 NEH Summer Seminar at the British Library


Timothy C. Graham and Paul E. Szarmach, Medieval Institute, Western Michigan Univ.

The National Endowment of the Humanities supported a Summer Seminar for College Teachers on "Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts and Texts," June 25-August 3, 2001, at the British Library. Timothy Graham and Paul E. Szarmach directed the seminar through the Richard Rawlinson Center for Anglo-Saxon Studies and Manuscript Research, the Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University. Stewart Brookes (King's College London) was assistant to the seminar.

The seminar considered special issues, problems, and methodologies that have arisen in the last decade of Anglo-Saxon manuscript studies by focusing on select treasures in the British Library. The authors and texts included Beowulf, Alfred and his Preface to the Pastoral Care, the Soliloquies, the Boethius, Ælfric and the Catholic Homilies, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and the Old English Hexateuch. The basic format was a blend of seminar sessions, workshops, and individual conferences. Participants had ample opportunity to work on their own research programs, using not only the facilities of the British Library but also the Institute of Historical Research, the University of London Library Palaeography Room, the Warburg Institute, and the facilities of King's College Library.

The schedule of activities included a group visit to the International Medieval Congress at Leeds, where the Seminar sponsored a session on "Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in the Cotton Collection" chaired by Graham and featuring papers by Janet M. Bately ("'Her mon mæg giet gesion hiora swæð': Some Cotton Manuscripts Revisited"), Simon D. Keynes ("BL Cotton Vespasian B. vi, fols 104-9") and Szarmach ("Alfred's Soliloquies in Cotton Tiberius A. iii"). There was also a visit to the Parker Library, where Librarian Chistopher de Hamel and sub-Librarian Gill Cannell participated in a presentation of key manuscripts from the collection. At the British Library David French, Conservation Department, gave two presentations on digital preservation, Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe discussed the C-Text of the Chronicle, and Andrew Prescott gave an overview of the Cotton collection. The culmination of the seminar was the closing public lecture by Michelle Brown on "the Lindisfarne Gospels: New Light on Well-Trodden Ground."

The fifteeen participants, with their affiliations at the time of the seminar, were: Dabney Anderson Bankert (James Madison University); Adam S. Cohen (The College of William and Mary); Luciana Cuppo Csaki (independent scholar); Elizabeth Dachowski (Tennessee State University); Helen Damico (University of New Mexico); William Diebold (Reed College); Marsha Dutton (Ohio University); Heide Estes (Monmouth University); Allison Gulley (Lees-McRae College); Stacy S. Klein (Rutgers University); Aaron J. Kleist (independent scholar); Andrea Rossi-Reder (Connecticut College); Patricia H. Ward (College of Charleston); Jonathan P. Watson (Manchester College); Benjamin Withers (Indiana University–South Bend).

The photo page on the right records scenes from the final, communal dinner. Stacy S. Klein was the photographer.

For the 37th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, Dabney Anderson Bankert and Stacy S. Klein have organized two session, "Anglo-Saxon Textual Politics" and "Torture, Toller, and Textual Editing," which offer six papers representing the work of participants. The first session (#331) contains papers by Jonathan P. Watson ("Godwine's Book: A Scribal Inscription to the Beowulf Manuscript"), Helen Damico ("Beowulf's Queens and the Politics of Eleventh-Century England"), and Elizabeth Dachowski ("Culture Shock: The Experience of Abbo of Fleury in England"). The second (#464) contains papers by Allison Gulley ("The Un-Spectacle of Torture in Ælfric's Virgin Martyr Legends"), Dabney Anderson Bankert ("T. Northcote Toller and the Making of the Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary"), and Heide Estes ("Editing for Print and Digital Media: Some Problems and Possibilities").

[The photos on p. 19 which accompanied this article are omitted in this online version]