Medical Texts in Anglo-Saxon Literary Culture D.S. Brewer: Cambridge, 2020
This book offers the first comprehensive analysis of the literary and historical contexts of the four vernacular medical collections extant from Anglo-Saxon England. This study positions these texts as products of a learned literary culture, arguing that all four collections were produced in major ecclesiastical centres. The final chapter considers the fundamentally positive depiction of doctors and medicine found within literary and ecclesiastical works from the period and suggests that the high esteem for medicine in literate circles may have favoured the study and translation of medical texts. This book was the winner of the prize for Best First Monograph given biennially by the International Society for the Study of Early Medieval England (ISSEME).
‘The Artistry of Bald’s Colophon’ Anglo-Saxon England 48 (2021) forthcoming
Abstract: Bald’s Leechbook, the most famous of the Old English medical collections, derives its name from a colophon in Latin hexameter verse that occurs on the final folio of the collection. Previous scholarly attention to the colophon has been nearly entirely directed at discerning the relationship of two named figures (Bald and Cild) and their role (if any) in the creation of Bald’s Leechbook. Yet given the rarity of verse colophons in Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and the unusual placement of this text at the end of a technical work in Old English, these verses also deserve study for their place within the larger genre of poetic colophons and framing texts from Anglo-Saxon England. This article examines for the first time the form of the colophon and its character as a work of Anglo-Latin verse as well as its relationship with the vernacular prefatory tradition associated with King Alfred.
‘The Royal Prayerbook and Early Insular Scribal Communities’ Early Medieval Europe 29.2 (2021)
Abstract: The Royal Prayerbook contains a variety of entries aimed at staunching a flow of blood, three of which are related by a shared poetic motif. An examination of the elements in these texts suggests that all three are a meditation on a scene from the gospels, the healing of the woman with the issue of blood. This article argues these texts were compiled in a learned milieu, probably within a female or double monastic house; from an Insular centre, they moved to the Continent, perhaps as a consequence of the involvement of women in the mission movement. This article is available open access.
‘A Blood-Staunching Charm of Royal 2.A.xx and its Greek Text’ Peritia 32 (2021)
Abstract: The so-called ‘Royal Prayer-book’ (London, British Library, MS Royal 2.A.xx) contains several related prayers for staunching a flow of blood. One of these entries contains several portions of Greek text written in Greek characters. This paper suggests that these Greek sections come ultimately from a background of Greek incantations and amuletic texts, which were likely transmitted through Late Antique medical sources.
‘Translation Style in the Old English Herbarium‘ Notes and Queries 63 (2016)
Abstract: The Old English Herbarium is the name given to the English translation of a variety of Late Antique medical treatises. This article considers how the Anglo-Saxon translator, though generally faithful to his Latin text, subtly altered his text in ways that demonstrate an interest in clarity and functionality, rather than an aspiration towards academic reproduction.