Remembering the Medieval Present: Generative Uses of England’s Pre-Conquest Past, 10th to 15th Centuries


This volume of essays focuses on how individuals living in the late tenth through fifteenth centuries engaged with the authorizing culture of the Anglo-Saxons. Drawing from a reservoir of undertreated early English documents and texts, each contributor shows how individual poets, ecclesiasts, legists, and institutions claimed Anglo-Saxon predecessors for rhetorical purposes in response to social, cultural, and linguistic change. Contributors trouble simple definitions of identity and period, exploring how medieval authors looked to earlier periods of history to define social identities and make claims for their present moment based on the political fiction of an imagined community of a single, distinct nation unified in identity by descent and religion.
Contributors are Cynthia Turner Camp, Irina Dumitrescu, Jay Paul Gates, Erin Michelle Goeres, Mary Kate Hurley, Maren Clegg Hyer, Nicole Marafioti, Brian O’Camb, Kathleen Smith, Carla María Thomas, Larissa Tracy, and Eric Weiskott.

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Biographical Note

Jay Paul Gates, Ph.D. (2007), is Associate Professor of Anglo-Saxon and Early Medieval Literature and Languages at John Jay College in the City University of New York. He co-edited, with Nicole Marafioti, Capital and Corporal Punishment in Anglo-Saxon England (2014). He has published on Anglo-Saxon law and literature, the effects of Anglo-Scandinavian cultural contact, and post-Conquest historiographical treatments of the Anglo-Saxon period.
Brian O’Camb, Ph.D. (2009), is Associate Professor of English at Indiana University Northwest. He has published articles on the scribal, material, and intellectual contexts of the Exeter Book, and its later reception and editorial transmission by the eighteenth-century antiquarian George Hickes, in journals such as English Literary History, Philological Quarterly, and Review of English Studies.


All interested in Anglo-Saxon and early English history and literature, and anyone concerned with national or ethnic identity, imagined communities, or textual communities in the Middle Ages.