Using Manuscript Books as a Source for Medieval Culture

A case study of what can be gleaned about how medieval texts were written and read from the close study of a single manuscript, in this case a copy of Lydgate’s Fall of Princes in the Newberry Library Chicago, which is available in digitised form alongside the case study.

Reference: Mark Faulkner, ‘Using Manuscript Books as a Source for Medieval Culture’, in Research Methods Primary Sources (Marlborough: Adam Matthew Digital, 2021).

Medieval Manuscripts

An annotated bibliography of 100+ items for anyone interested in working more extensively with medieval manuscripts. As dictated by its publication in the section of Oxford Bibliographies Online devoted to British and Irish Literature, the focus is on Latin, English and French manuscripts from the insular world, c. 500-1500 (manuscripts in Celtic languages I largely left to the experts!).

Reference: Mark Faulkner, ‘Medieval Manuscripts’, Oxford Bibliographies Online (2019).


Co-written with my former Sheffield colleague, Joan Beal, this is an introduction to the role of language contact in the shaping of the English language, which particularly considers contact with Celtic, Norse and French from the beginnings to the present day.

Reference: Joan Beal and Mark Faulkner, ‘English’, in The Oxford Handbook of Language Contact ed. Anthony Grant (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020), pp. 374-387.

‘Like a Virgin’: the Reheading of St Edmund

Argues that the late-tenth-century lives of St Edmund by Abbo and Ælfric form an opus geminatum which uses the posthumous reattachment of Edmund’s heard to figure the possibility of married clerks becoming chaste monks, in accordance with the goals of the ‘Benedictine Reform’.

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Reference: Mark Faulkner, ‘”Like a Virgin”: the reheading of St Edmund and monastic reform in late-tenth-century England’, in Heads will Roll: decapitation in the medieval and early modern imagination eds. Larissa Tracy and Jeff Massey (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 39-52.

Teaching Beowulf in its Manuscript Context

Draws on my experience of teaching the poem in Cork to suggest some ways in which students of different levels can be introduced to medieval manuscripts and manuscript textuality through the Beowulf manuscript.

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Reference: Mark Faulkner, ‘Teaching Beowulf in its Manuscript Context’, in Teaching Beowulf in the Twenty-First Century eds. Howell D. Chickering, Allen J. Frantzen and Robert F. Yeager (Tempe: ACMRS, 2014), 169-75.

The Spatial Hermeneutics of Lucian’s De Laude Cestrie

One of a pair of articles deriving from my time as the postdoc on the Mapping Medieval Chester project, this paper examines Lucian’s representation of Chester in his work, discussing the different generic influences present in the text, and considering two itineraries that Lucian describes himself following through and around the city. In passing, it offers the suggestion that Lucian was not a Benedictine monk of St Werburgh’s in Chester, but a Cistercian from Combermere.

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Reference: Mark Faulkner, ‘The Spatial Hermeneutics of Lucian’s De Laude Cestrie‘, in Mapping the medieval City: space, place and identity in Chester c. 1200-1600 ed. Catherine Clarke (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2011), pp. 78-98.

Exegesis in the City

One of a pair of articles deriving from my time as the postdoc on the Mapping Medieval Chester project, this paper compares Lucian’s twelfth-century De laude Cestrie with the late medieval / early modern Chester Mystery Cycle on the basis that both perform exegesis in city space.

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Reference: Mark Faulkner, ‘Exegesis in the City: the Chester Plays and Earlier Chester Writing’, in The Chester Cycle in Context, 1555-1575: religion, drama and the impact of change eds. Jessica Dell, David Klausner and Helen Ostovich (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 161-177.