Emily Rae

Emily Rae

email - e.nicolet.1@research.gla.ac.uk

Research Title

The Relationships Between the Texts of Ælfric

Research Summary

My doctoral work is an investigation into manuscripts containing the works of Ælfric of Eynsham, a prolific Anglo-Saxon writer working primarily in Old English. My work reflects two wider trends within current manuscript studies: the first is the increasing tendency towards treating the manuscript itself as a valuable locus of information, both regarding the creation and afterlife of a physical object as well as a source of information about the literary content within. The second is the ongoing effort to digitise and compile medieval objects into widely accessible, sortable data – my work is both indebted to this process through my intensive use of digital facsimiles, as well as contributes to it through my analysis of these manuscripts.

My work specifically concerns the decorative aspects found within the manuscripts. As Ælfrician manuscripts are not exceptionally highly-decorated manuscripts (both because of the era they were created in and because they are written in the vernacular), the primary focus of this investigation is the enlarged, text-beginning letters that begin each of the individual texts throughout the manuscripts. By cataloguing all of these initials throughout the entire set of Ælfrician manuscripts, I have been able to compare all instances of a single text in all of its manuscript witnesses; view and analyse larger trends of decoration and colour use across single texts, manuscripts, and groups of manuscripts; and create a framework for the identification and description of unique initials. My hypothesis is that along with the texts themselves, scribes would often copy illustrative elements, styles of script, and mise-en-page from one manuscript to another in copying.


  • SELIM 29 at the University of Málaga, Spain
  • Parker Library on the Web 2.0: New Opportunities and Future Directions at the University of Cambridge
  • International Medieval Congress 2019 at the University of Leeds


  • English Language and Linguistics 1
  • English Language and Linguistics 2
  • I also teach in the Learning Enhancement and Academic Development Service


Additional Information


  • Member of Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland

Other Roles

  • Assistant to the membership secretary of Friends of Glasgow University Library