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Elaine Treharne

Roberta Bowman Denning Professor of Humanities
Professor of English, and, by Courtesy, of German Studies
BA English, First Class Honors, University of Manchester, 1986
MA in Archive Administration, University of Liverpool, 1987
PhD Medieval Literature, University of Manchester, 1992
At Stanford Since: 


My main research interests are in Early British manuscripts--their intentionality, materiality, functionality and value. I have published widely in this area over the last twenty years, focusing most specifically on religious poetry and prose, and manuscripts dating from c. 1020 to c. 1220. My current projects focus on the book as object together with the long History of Text Technologies from the earliest times (c. 60,000BCE) to the present day. I research the hapticity and phenomenology of the Medieval book, and will be publishing The Phenomenal Book,500-1200based on this work. This research also extends to a more modern period of the Medieval, and to the work of artists, including William Morris, Edward Johnston, Philip Lee Warner, Eric Gill and David Jones, and I'll be publishing on these figures in The Aesthetic Book: Arts and Crafts to Modernismeventually. I have completed work on Salisbury's early medieval manuscripts for the Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimileseries, and I am now planning a major book on Salisbury books and documents, entitled Collective Memories in Salisbury Cathedral Library and Archives, 1200 to 1600,which will explore this exceptional collection of early textual materials still held in situ. I'm also working on a new (short) book focused on Medieval Materiality and Culture, called Invisible Things.

I am currently the Principal Investigator of the NEH-Funded portion of an inter-institutional grant: 'Global Currents: Cultures of Literary Networks, 1050-1900' ( I am also the Director of Stanford Text Technologies (, which has multiple projects underway, including an intensive Collegium on 'Distortion' in May 2015; and its successor, 'NetworkX' in June 2016. Formerly, I was Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded research project and co-authored ebook, The Production and Use of English Manuscripts, 1060 to 1220 (Leicester, 2010, My publications include A Very Short Introduction to Medieval Literature (OUP, 2015); Living Through Conquest: The Politics of Early English, 1020 to 1220(OUP, 2012); and Old and Middle English, c. 890-1490: An Anthology (Wiley-Blackwell), which is now moving into a new fourth edition. I edited The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literaturein English(OUP, 2010) with Greg Walker, and together with Walker, I'm the General Editor of the OUP series, Oxford Textual Perspectives;I'm also the General Editor of the English Association's Essays and Studiesseries.

Professionally, I am keen advocate and critic of the use of digital technologies in the classroom and in research; and I am concerned about the ways in which we display manuscripts and employ palaeographical and codicological tools online. With colleagues at Stanford and at Cambridge, we have launched an exciting new online course, 'Digging Deeper', with two parts: 'Making Manuscripts' and 'Interpreting Manuscripts', both of which are available at Stanford Online. The third part, 'Reading Manuscripts' is in development. I blog and tweet regularly, and my most read publication was 'Beowulf in 100 Tweets' (#Beow100), which says something! I'm involved in a number of international projects that seek to investigate and develop new ways of exploring the rich Medieval cultures of the book, including the newly founded International Manuscript Technologies Forum. I have been the Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa, an American Philosophical Society Franklin Fellow, and a Princeton Procter Fellow. I'm a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries; a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society; and an Honorary Fellow of the English Assocation (and its former Chair and President). I'm a member of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists (and a former second Vice-President), and Secretary for the Executive Committee of the MLA's Old English Forum, and a member of the MLA's Prize Committee. I serve as Medieval Editor for Review of English Studies,and for the OUP Oxford Bibliographies OnlineBritish and Irish Literature initiative.

Related News

Sep 1 2015 | Stanford News
Using handwriting analysis, Stanford manuscript expert Elaine Treharne shows for the first time that one of the world's most famous documents...
Feb 2 2015 | Stanford Report
By Marguerite Rigoglioso   Digital tools, including a free, public online manuscript training course, are allowing English professor and...