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Medieval Literature: A Very Short Introduction

About the Author

Elaine Treharne

I am a Welsh medievalist with specializations in manuscript studies, archives, information technologies, and early British literature. I have published widely in this area over the last twenty years, focusing on religious poetry and prose, and manuscripts from c.600 to c.1300. I teach core courses in British Literary History up to about 1600, on Text Technologies, and on Palaeography and Archival Studies. I supervise honors students and graduate students working in early literature, Book History, and Digital Humanities. I am committed to providing a supportive and ethical working environment for all scholars and colleagues. My current projects focus on the book as object and the long...

Oxford University Press
2015

This Very Short Introduction provides a compelling account of the emergence of the earliest literature in Britain and Ireland, including English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Anglo-Latin and Anglo-Norman. Introducing the reader to some of the greatest poetry, prose and drama ever written, Elaine Treharne discusses the historical and intellectual background to these works, and considers the physical production of the manuscripts and the earliest beginnings of print culture. Covering both well-known texts, such as BeowulfThe Canterbury Tales and the Mabinogion, as well as texts that are much less familiar, such as sermons, saints' lives, lyrics and histories, Treharne discusses major themes such as sin and salvation, kingship and authority, myth and the monstrous, and provides a full, but brief, account of one of the major periods in literary history.