DUMBARTON OAKS MEDIEVAL LIBRARY
Cover: Anonymous Old English Lives of Saints, from Harvard University PressCover: Anonymous Old English Lives of Saints in HARDCOVER

Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 63

Anonymous Old English Lives of Saints

Edited and translated by Johanna Kramer

Hugh Magennis

Robin Norris

From the first centuries of Christianity, believers turned to the perfection modeled by saints for inspiration, and a tradition of recounting saints’ Lives flourished. The Latin narratives followed specific forms, dramatizing a virgin’s heroic resolve or a martyr’s unwavering faith under torture.

In early medieval England, saints’ Lives were eagerly received and translated into the vernacular. The stories collected here by unknown authors are preserved in manuscripts dating from the eleventh and twelfth centuries. They include locally venerated saints like the abbess Seaxburh, as well as universally familiar ones like Nicholas and Michael the Archangel, and are set everywhere from Antioch to Rome, from India to Ephesus. These Lives also explore such topics as the obligations of rulers, marriage and gender roles, private and public devotion, the environment, education, and the sweep of human history.

This volume presents new Old English editions and modern English translations of twenty-two unattributed saints’ Lives.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket, Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid: Changing Feelings about Technology, from the Telegraph to Twitter, by Luke Fernandez and Susan J. Matt, from Harvard University Press

Technology, Biology, Chronology

Fears and anxieties about the latest technologies are nothing new, say Luke Fernandez and Susan J. Matt, authors of Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid: Changing Feelings about Technology, from the Telegraph to Twitter. But neither is the fact that they often provide new ways for us to connect and socialize. Mark Twain is rumored to have said “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” Of late, much press has been spent on uncovering those rhymes, focusing on the similarities between the current epidemic and past ones. These stories underscore the lesson that progress hasn't allowed us to escape the suffering of earlier