This digital exhibit, created by Medieval Institute Ph.D. candidate Anne Crafton, accompanies and expands the Rare Books and Special Collections April Spotlight Exhibit: "Remembering Early England." In it, Crafton traces, through objects in the Hesburgh Library Special Collections, how early England (c. 449 - 1066) has been remembered and misremembered throughout history.
At times characterized as barbaric interlopers, at others the noble ancestors of the English spirit, the early English and their history have been co-opted by many with their own contemporary vision. In fact, the early English period has been used by each generation to qualify contemporary values, romanticize a distant aesthetic, and envision themselves as belonging to a distant past. This exhibit traces these narratives from the medieval to the modern, reminding that history is a continuously evolving field in which the present has a greater impact on the past than we often realize.
About the Creator and Curator
Literary historian Anne Crafton is in their fourth year in the Medieval Institute Ph.D. program, and this work arises from their study of the interaction of language, gender, and literature in the medieval North Sea. Their dissertation, "You Sound Like a Wif: The Representation of Women's Speech in Old English Literature," is an interdisciplinary approach to early English literature that employs methodologies from historical sociolinguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis, computational linguistics, and critical literary theory. Anne's study is unique, as it is the first comprehensive study of the representation of women's speech before the Norman Conquest. They also study medieval profanities, obscenities, and forbidden speech acts. For their work on medieval obscenities in Old Norse and Middle Scots, Anne has twice been awarded the G. Margaret Porter Gender Studies Graduate Writing Award.
In addition to research, Anne works as a Library Assistant in the Hesburgh Library's Rare Books and Special Collections department. This job led Anne to a Graduate Curatorial Assistantship under Dr. David T. Gura, RBSC's Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts. This digital exhibit is a months-long product of that Assistantship. From the choosing of materials to the description of each object, this exhibit was created entirely by Anne, though with the helpful guidance of Dr. Gura.
Learn more about Anne's work at annecrafton.com.