Skip to content Skip to navigation

Elaine Treharne

Professor
Roberta Bowman Denning Professor of Humanities
Professor of English, and, by Courtesy, of German Studies
Director of Stanford's Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA)
Director, Stanford Text Technologies
Stanford Fellow, 2017-2019
BA English, First Class Honors, University of Manchester, 1986
MA in Archive Administration, University of Liverpool, 1987
PhD Medieval Literature, University of Manchester, 1992
At Stanford Since: 
2012

About

My main research interests are in Early British manuscripts--their intentionality, materiality, functionality and value. I have published widely in this area over the last twenty years, focusing most specifically on religious poetry and prose, and manuscripts dating from c. 1020 to c. 1220. I teach core courses in English Literary History up to about 1600, and courses on Text Technologies, on Palaeography, and on the History of the Book. 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, and I affirm my belief that it is through respect, inclusivity, and diversity that we can demonstrate best practice within our profession. My current projects focus on the book as object together with the long History of Text Technologies. I research the hapticity and phenomenology of the Medieval book, and will be publishing The Phenomenal Book,500-1200based on this work. This research also extends to a more modern period of the Medieval, and to the work of artists, including William Morris, Edward Johnston, Philip Lee Warner, Eric Gill and David Jones, and I'll be publishing on these figures in The Aesthetic Book: Arts and Crafts to Modernismeventually. I have completed work on Salisbury Cathedral Library's early medieval manuscripts for the Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimileseries, and I am now writing on this exceptional collection of early textual materials still held in situ. I am also working on borders, boundaries and topography in Early Medieval Britain, building on research developing out of an article I published on this area.

I am the Director of the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) at Stanford, an internationally renowned Digital and Computational Humanities lab. I am also the Director of Stanford Text Technologies (https://texttechnologies.stanford.edu), which has multiple projects underway, including 'CyberText Technologies' and SOPES (Stanford Ordinary People, Extraordinary Stories). In the former, we're developing models for predicting the future of Text Technologies, based on the discernible patterns and cyclical trends inherent in all text technologies from thousands of years ago to the present day. Text Technologies' other initiatives include an annual intensive Collegium: the first, on 'Distortion' in May 2015, was adapted into a book (Textual Distortion, Woodbridge: 2017); its successor, 'NetworkX', was in June 2016; a third (co-organized with Professor Kathryn Starkey) was on 'Text, Textiles and Textures' in May 2017. The fourth, the largest with 25 speakers, was a celebration of 'Parker on the Web 2.0', in March 2018. I am the Principal Investigator of the NEH-Funded portion of an inter-institutional grant: 'Global Currents: Cultures of Literary Networks, 1050-1900' (https://globalcurrents.stanford.edu/). And I am Co-Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded research project and co-authored ebook, The Production and Use of English Manuscripts, 1060 to 1220 (Leicester, 2010, http://www.le.ac.uk/ee/em1060to1220/; the expanded version 2.0 will appear in 2018). My publications include A Very Short Introduction to Medieval Literature (OUP, 2015); Living Through Conquest: The Politics of Early English, 1020 to 1220(OUP, 2012); and Old and Middle English, c. 890-1490: An Anthology (Wiley-Blackwell), which is now moving into a new fourth edition. I'll shortly publish Text Technologies: A History, with Dr Claude Willan. Among other work, I edited The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literaturein English(OUP, 2010) with Greg Walker, and together with Walker, I'm the General Editor of the OUP series, Oxford Textual Perspectives. I am a General Editor of Stanford University Press's Text Technologies Series; and I'm the General Editor of the English Association's Essays and Studiesseries.

Professionally, I am a keen advocate and critic of the use of digital technologies in the classroom and in research; and I am concerned about the ways in which we describe and display manuscripts, and employ palaeographical and codicological tools online. I am a qualified archivist (University of Liverpool, MArAd) and am developing archival courses and methodological scholarship, together with colleagues and graduates at Stanford. Also with colleagues at Stanford and at Cambridge, we launched an exciting online course, 'Digging Deeper', with two parts: 'Making Manuscripts' and 'Interpreting Manuscripts', both of which are available at Stanford Online. The third part, 'Reading Manuscripts' is still a work in progress, and we hope to finish it in 2018. I blog and tweet regularly, and my most read publication was 'Beowulf in 100 Tweets' (#Beow100), which says something! I'm involved in a number of international projects that seek to investigate and develop new ways of exploring the rich Medieval cultures of the book. I have been the Medieval Academy of America's Plenary Speaker at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds; Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa; an American Philosophical Society Franklin Fellow; and a Princeton Procter Fellow. I'm a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries; a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society; and an Honorary Fellow of the English Assocation (and that Association's former Chair and President). I'm a member of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists (and a former second Vice-President), a member of the Medieval Academy's Digital Humanities Committee, and involved in various other professional organizations and boards.

At Stanford, I am the Resident Fellow of Ng Humanities House, and I'm engaged in trying to create a 'new normal' to encourage students to slow down a little and spend time enjoying their work and many extracurricular activities. I am also a passionate advocate for the Humanities in all areas of life.

Related News

Sep 1 2015 | Stanford News
Using handwriting analysis, Stanford manuscript expert Elaine Treharne shows for the first time that one of the world's most famous documents...
Feb 2 2015 | Stanford Report
By Marguerite Rigoglioso   Digital tools, including a free, public online manuscript training course, are allowing English professor and...