Irina Dumitrescu

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

Pimps and Prodigals: Medieval Minstrels

Irina Dumitrescu, 23 May 2024

Of all​ the medieval people who sound as though they should be made up, Roland le Pettour, also known as Roland le Fartere, must be near the top of the list. An entertainer who worked for Henry II, Roland is recorded in several medieval registers as holding substantial tracts of land north of Ipswich. His yearly service to the king, at least as it has come down to us, was ‘saltum,...

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...

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences