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Joan Turville-Petre: A Bibliographical Appreciation


Patrick Stiles, University of London

The penetrating and versatile scholar Joan Turville-Petre (née Blomfield), who died in March 2006 aged 94, contributed to both English and Old Norse studies. An obituary has appeared in Saga-Book of the Viking Society 30 (2006) 98–100, unfortunately without a bibliography.

As her work straddled more than one field and much of it was produced before the advent of modern databases and also includes two unpublished early monographs that are in danger of slipping from view, a bibliography is appended below.

First, however, a note on the two unpublished early works.

(1) Although Alistair Campbell in his Old English Grammar referred to her thesis on The origins of Old English orthography (1959: v, 18 fn2), he gave no indication as to where it could be found. Its full title is The Origins of Old English Orthography, with special reference to the Spirants and w, and as an Oxford BLitt. thesis of 1935, it is to be found in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Its shelf-mark is MS B.Litt. d. 263. The author's copy, which contains additional pencilled notes, has been deposited in the library of the English Place-Name Society at the School of English Studies, University of Nottingham, by her son, Thorlac.

(2) Much more significant was a study of the compilation of the First Cleopatra Glossary written in 1939, which possibly goes some way to explaining why it was never published. She also somewhat dismissively referred to it as a 'juvenile work', although her relative youth when she wrote it makes it all the more impressive. The 80-page handwritten monograph is in the mould of Lindsay's pioneering analysis of The Corpus, épinal, Erfurt and Leyden Glossaries of 1921 (cf. JTP's remarks in a review of 1948: 58). Cleopatra I is important for several reasons: it offers more bilingual entries than any other Old English glossary; it gives an insight into the way that glossaries were put together because the main scribe was also the compiler and used a system of sigla to indicate the sources of much of his material; despite its 10th-century date, it provides information about the earliest phase of glossary-making in England. Of particular significance is the fact that the compiler, working in Canterbury in the 930s, had access to some of the ancient material used for the épinal-Erfurt I and Corpus II glossaries still in loose format.

The study was the first to notice and explicate the system of sigla in Cleopatra I (cf. the brief remarks in JTP 1948: 58). It was also the first to identify the batches marked cũð or as coming from Bede's metrical Vita sancti Cuthberti (cf. JTP 1948: 58–59). De Ave Phoenice is also identified as a source of the glossary (also mentioned in 1948: 59), anticipating Herbert Dean Meritt's publication in Anglo-Saxon England volume 1 in 1972 (194–95).

A number of copies of the monograph circulated privately and are referred to in the literature, but several of these are not to be found. In 1987 JTP lodged a photocopy in the library of Somerville College, Oxford, where she was both student and don. The manuscript bears the shelf-mark 003 BLO. The author's original, which is generally more legible, is now also in the library of the English Place-Name Society at Nottingham.

(3) The typescript 'The Construction of Anglo-Saxon Royal Genealogies', listed at the end of Studies and Reviews, is also in the library of the English Place-Name Society at Nottingham.

(I would like to thank Thorlac Turville-Petre for his help)



Studies and Reviews

  1. The Origins of Old English Orthography, with special reference to the Spirants and w. Unpublished Oxford, B.Litt. thesis. [Bodleian Library, Duke Humfrey, MS B.Litt. d. 263]
  2. 'The Style and Structure of Beowulf'. RES 14: 396–403. (Reprinted in Donald K. Fry ed. The 'Beowulf' Poet: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs NJ 1968. 57–65).
  3. Review of Haakon Shetelig and Hjalmar Falk, Scandinavian Archæology, translated by E.V. Gordon (Oxford 1937). RES 14: 333-37.
  4. The Glosses of MS Cleopatra A III. Handwritten manuscript. 4 + 71 + 4 pages; with two charts. [unpublished handwritten study of The first Latin-Old English Glossary in MS. Cleopatra A. III.] Oxford.
  5. Review of Dorothy Whitelock, ed. Sermo Lupi ad Anglos and G.N. Garmonsway, ed. Ælfric's Colloquy (both: London: Methuen 1939). 9: 39–42.
  6. Review of Cecilia Audrey Hotchner, Wessex and Old English Poetry, with Special Consideration of The Ruin (New York 1939). 9: 114–16.
  7. 'Runes and the Gothic alphabet'. Saga-Book 12: 177–94; 209–31.

Change of name from Blomfield to Turville-Petre

  1. 'Studies on the Ormulum MS'. JEGP 46: 1-27.
  2. Review of Herbert Dean Meritt, ed. Old English Glosses. A Collection (= Modern Language Association of America, General Series 16, New York 1945). 17: 57–59.
  3. Review of Angus McIntosh, 'Wulfstan's Prose'. (Sir Israel Gollancz Memorial Lecture, British Academy 1948). 19: 89–90.
  4. Review of Mary E. Waterhouse, Beowulf in Modern English: a translation in blank verse (Cambridge 1949). 20: 101–03.
  5. Review of A.S.C. Ross, Tables for Old English Sound-Changes (Cambridge 1951). 20: 104–05.
  6. 'Hengest and Horsa'. Saga-Book 14: 273–90.
  7. Review of René Derolez, Runica Manuscripta: The English Tradition (Bruges 1954). 25: 43–46.
  8. Review of Rosemary Woolf, ed. Juliana (London: Methuen 1955). 26: 57-58.
  9. Review of Willi Erzgräber, William Langlands 'Piers Plowman' (Eine Interpretation des C-Textes) (Heidelberg: Carl Winter 1957). SN 30 (1958), 263-64.
  10. 'Sources of the Vernacular Homily in England, Norway and Iceland'. ANF 75: 168–82.
  11. Review of Arthur G. Brodeur, The Art of 'Beowulf' (Berkeley and Los Angeles; London 1959). RES n.s. 11: 417–19.
  12. Review of Kenneth Sisam and Celia Sisam, ed. The Salisbury Psalter (= EETS 242, London 1959). 29: 31–33.
  13. Review of Herbert Dean Meritt, ed. Old English Prudentius Glosses at Boulogne-sur-mer. (= Stanford Studies in Language and Literature 16, Stanford: University Press 1959). RES n.s. 12: 58-59
  14. Review of David M. Zesmer, Guide to English Literature, From Beowulf through Chaucer and Medieval Drama (New York: Barnes & Noble 1961). SN 33: 335–36.
  15. 'Translations of a Lost Penitential Homily'. Traditio 19: 51-78. [The Latin source postulated for the translations has since been found, see H.L. Spencer, 'Vernacular and Latin Versions of a Sermon for Lent: "A Lost Penitental Homily" Found'. Mediaeval Studies 44 (1982) 271–305.]
  16. Review of Kemp Malone, ed. Widsith, 2nd ed. (Copenhagen: Rosenkilde and Bagger 1962). 32: 217-18.
  17. Review of Studies in Old English Literature in Honor of Arthur G. Brodeur, ed. Stanley B. Greenfield (Eugene: University of Oregon 1963). SN 36: 180–83.
  18. Review of N.F. Blake, ed. The Phoenix (Manchester: University Press 1964). SN 36: 342-43.
  19. Review of Stanley B Greenfield, A Critical History of Old English Literature (New York University Press 1965). SN 38: 358–60.
  20. 'The Metre of Icelandic Court Poetry'. Saga-Book 17: 326–51.
  21. 'Two Etymological Notes: Ancrene Wisse eskibah, hond þet ilke'. SN 41: 156-61.
  22. Review of Neil D. Isaacs, Structural Principles in Old English Poetry (Knoxville Tennessee 1954) SN 41: 454–57.
  23. with Gabriel Turville-Petre. Review of Medieval Literature and Civilization: Studies in Memory of G.N. Garmonsway, ed. Derek A. Pearsall and Ronald A. Waldron (London 1969). RES n.s. 21: 478–82.
  24. Review of Charles Moorman, Kings and Captains: Variations on a Heroic Theme (Lexington 1971). 42: 204.
  25. 'The Narrative Style in Old English', in: Iceland and the Mediaeval World: Studies in honour of Ian Maxwell, ed. Gabriel Turville-Petre and John Stanley Martin. Melbourne: Organizing Committee for publishing a volume in honour of Ian Maxwell. 116-25.
  26. Review of R.I. Page, An Introduction to English Runes (London 1973). 43: 267-68.
  27. Review of Michael D. Cherniss, Ingeld and Christ: Heroic Concepts and Values in Old English Christian Poetry (The Hague 1972). 44: 280–82.
  28. 'The Metre of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'. ES 57: 310-28.
  29. 'Beowulf and Grettis saga: an Excursion'. Saga-Book 19: 347-57.
  30. 'On Ynglingatal'. Mediaeval Scandinavia 11: 48 -67.
  31. 'The genealogist and history: Ari to Snorri'. Saga-Book 20: 7–23.
  32. Review of T. A. Shippey, Beowulf (= Studies in English Literature 70, London: Edward Arnold 1978). 48: 334.
  33. 'Hetjukvæði á Íslandi og í Wales'. Gripla 4: 22-32. [in Icelandic]
  34. Review of Jeff Opland, Anglo-Saxon Oral Poetry: a Study of the Traditions (New Haven and London: Yale University Press 1980). 51: 237-39.
  35. Review of Vésteinn Ólason, The Traditional Ballads of Iceland: Historical Studies (= Stofnun Árna Magnússonar á Íslandi: Rit 22, Reykjavík 1982). Saga-Book 21: 313-14.
  36. 'A tree dream in Old Icelandic'. Scripta Islandica 39: 12-20.
  37. 'Illustrations of Woden and His Sons in English Genealogical Manuscripts'. N&Q 233 (= n.s. 35): 158-59.
  38. 'The Tofts of Aylsham manors'. Norfolk Archaeology 42: 148-59.
  39. 'Patronymics in the Late Thirteenth Century'. Nomina 21: 5-13.
  40. 'Overhall and Netherhall'. JEPNS 31: 115-17.
  41. Typescript of an article: 'The Construction of Anglo-Saxon Royal Genealogies'. 49pp. [undated]
  42. Editing

    1. J.R.R. Tolkien. The Old English Exodus: Text, Translation, and Commentary. ed. by Joan Turville-Petre. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981.
    2. 'A Gabriel Turville-Petre bibliography', in Speculum Norroenum, Norse studies in memory of Gabriel Turville-Petre, ed. U. Dronke, G.P. Helgadóttir, et al. Odense : Odense University Press. 506–508.


    1. The story of Rauð and his sons (= Payne Memorial series / Viking Society for Northern Research 2). Kendal: Titus Wilson. [Reprinted New York: AMS Press, 1982]
    2. The Unmanly Man: Concepts of Sexual Defamation in Early Northern Society by Preben Meulengracht Syrensen. The Viking Collection, Studies in Northern Civilization , Vol 1. Odense.
    3. Halldórsson, Ólafur: An ancient description of Greenland [Edition of a chapter of AM 115 8vo with introduction and commentary]. Mediaeval Scandinavia 12: 233-247.
    4. A Piece of Horse Liver: Myth, Ritual and Folklore in Old Icelandic Sources by Jón Hnefill Aðalsteinsson, translated by Terry Gunnell and Joan Turville-Petre. University of Iceland Press.