Irina Dumitrescu

Irina Dumitrescu is a professor at the University of Bonn. The Experience of Education in Anglo-Saxon Literature is out now.

Flavourless Bacon: The Wife of Bath

Irina Dumitrescu, 10 August 2023

Alysoun ofBath first appeared in the 14th century in the Canterbury Tales, dressed in a finely spun headcloth, scarlet stockings and supple new shoes. An accomplished weaver, well-travelled pilgrim and serial bride, she spends more time recounting the dramas of her own life than contributing to the storytelling competition. In 1600, three men were fined for printing and selling ‘a...

Christ in Purple Silk: Medieval Selfhood

Irina Dumitrescu, 2 March 2023

Early​ in The Book of Margery Kempe, the middle-class mystic and would-be saint visits a community of monks, whose abbot invites her to dine with them. Margery is on top form during the meal, regaling the group with the ‘good words’ that God put in her mind. She is so charismatic, in fact, that one monk who has long despised her begins to show great interest in what she has to...

The Flower and the Bee: Many Anons

Irina Dumitrescu, 22 April 2021

In​ the mid-seventh century, a busy and well-connected abbess in Northumbria took a promising new poet under her wing. This unassuming elderly man, who worked as a cowherd, had never managed to learn a single song. He went to feasts with the other agricultural workers at the monastery, but always left before the harp could be passed to him. One night he departed early and went to sleep in...

How to Read Aloud

Irina Dumitrescu, 10 September 2020

Between​ 2002 and 2018, the number of GCSE foreign language exams taken in England, Northern Ireland and Wales fell by 45 per cent. The main reason for this was that in 2002 the government announced that it was no longer compulsory for students to study a language at GCSE level. Numbers immediately dropped. Some schools reported that students perceived languages to be too difficult, though...

Making My Moan: Medieval Smut

Irina Dumitrescu, 7 May 2020

In​ the early decades of the 11th century, a man called Warner who lived in Normandy wrote a very dirty Latin poem. Addressed to Archbishop Robert of Rouen, it relates the adventures of an Irish grammarian called Moriuht, who has a series of graphic and often disturbing sexual encounters while searching for his wife, who has been kidnapped. He is captured by Vikings, chained, flogged,...

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