Holy Men and Holy Women

Old English Prose Saints' Lives and Their Contexts

Edited by Paul E. Szarmach

Subjects: Mysticism
Series: SUNY series in Medieval Studies
Paperback : 9780791427163, 408 pages, October 1996
Hardcover : 9780791427156, 408 pages, October 1996

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Table of contents

Abbreviations and Short Titles
Paul E. Szarmach
An Introduction to the Study of Old English Prose Hagiography: Sources and Resources
E. Gordon Whatley
Part One: The Contexts
Imago Dei: Genre, Symbolism, and Anglo-Saxon Hagiography
Thomas D. Hill
Saints and Companions to Saints: Anglo-Saxon Royal Women Monastics in Context
Carol Neuman de Vegvar
Hagiography and Politics in Early Northumbria
David Rollason
Ælfric's Sanctorale
Michael Lapidge
The Contents of the Cotton-Corpus Legendary
Peter Jackson and Michael Lapidge
Hermits and the Contemplative Life in Anglo-Saxon England
Mary Clayton
Saint Cuthbert: The Post-Conquest Appropriation of an Anglo-Saxon Cult
Barbara Abou-El-Haj
Part Two: Old English Prose
The Corpus of Anonymous Lives and Their Manuscript Context
D. G. Scragg
Appendix: The Three Anonymous Lives in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 303
D. G. Scragg and Elaine Treharne
The Dissemination of Ælfric's Lives of Saints: A Preliminary Survey
Joyce Hill
Experiments in Genre: The Saints' Lives in Ælfric's Catholic Homilies
M. R. Godden
Ælfric as Historian: His Use of Alcuin's Laudationes and Sulpicius' Dialogues in His Two Lives of Martin
Frederick M. Biggs
Ælfric and the Legend of the Seven Sleepers
Hugh Magennis
Discourse and Hypersignification in Two of Ælfric's Saints' Lives
Ruth Waterhouse
St. Euphrosyne: Holy Transvestite
Paul E. Szarmach
Index of Manuscripts
Index of Saints
Subject Index


This is a collection of essays on the literature of "saints' lives" in Anglo-Saxon literature.

Paul E. Szarmach is Director of the Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. He is the editor of Aspects of Medieval Culture in the Middle Ages; Introduction to the Medieval Mystics of Europe; Studies in Earlier Old English Prose, and co-author (with Bernard F. Huppe) of Old English Homily and Its Background, all published by SUNY Press. He is also the editor of the SUNY series in Medieval Studies.


"This book will fill a major gap in the field of Anglo-Saxon studies. The prose saints' lives represent a major body of surviving Old English literature, and have much to tell us about the culture, intellectual history, and literary traditions of the Anglo-Saxon period, but they have been generally neglected in favor of poetic texts and Anglo-Latin hagiography. Given the renewed interest in Old English prose and in medieval hagiography generally, this book is both timely and valuable. In addition, the contributions are of uniformly high quality, and represent diverse approaches and methodologies. The essays by Whatley and Hill make up a splendid introduction to the historical and literary study of hagiography. " — Charles D. Wright, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"This collection significantly advances knowledge of Old English prose saints' lives through its inclusion of resource materials, the results of basic research, and new interpretations of Aelfric's works that help us to better understand his aims and achievements as the leading author of prose saints' lives. " — Mary P. Richards, Dean College of Arts & Sciences, University of Delaware

"This is a distinguished contribution to the field; I don't know how we got along without it for so long. The introduction by Whatley is magnificent, a model of its kind: 'cutting edge' scholarship yet readable, accessible to a wide audience. The pieces by Lapidge/Jackson, Joyce Hill, and Scragg will be standard reading. The literary articles are either excellent or provocative, usually both. This will be on every Anglo-Saxonist's bookshelf. " — Roberta Frank, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto