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Nicholas Sumrall talk: Demarginalizing Bede’s Margins

April 24 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Nicholas Sumrall, a Master’s Student in English and Medieval Studies Graduate Minor, will deliver a talk from his thesis: Demarginalizing Bede’s Margins: A Digital Codicological Reassessment of the Relationship between Marginalia and Body Matter in CCCC MS 41.
For his M.A. thesis project, Nicholas conducted a paleographic study of an Old English manuscript that has recently been uploaded to an open-access digital database, the Parker Library on the Web. The manuscript is one of five surviving Old English translations of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People; in addition to this primary text, the manuscript also contains an eclectic assortment of charms, poetry, prayers, and homilies throughout its margins in a manner unparalleled in any other Old English manuscript. For instance, many scholars have studied a set of Old English charms to protect against theft of cattle, contemplated their significance in a Christian culture. Yet few have appreciated their original context: as marginalia in a major early English author.
From an eleventh-century manuscript of Bede's
Nicholas’s research focused on assessing the physical and thematic relationships between the manuscript’s body text and its extensive marginalia, which past scholars have deemed “unrelated” to each other. In doing so, his study not only calls into question centuries-old academic theories of the manuscript’s function, but also reveals new perspectives on Anglo-Saxon literary culture and religious practices.
This talk is the last in the Digital Scholarship Showcase series for Spring 2024.


April 24
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Adam Clemons
Dr. Mary Hayes


Harrison Room, J.D. Williams Library