- ‘Marking Boundaries in Beowulf: Æschere’s Head, Grendel’s Arm and the Dragon’s Corpse’, in The Familiar and the Foreign in Old Gemanic Studies, ed. Thijs Porck (special issue of Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik 77(3-4)), 521-540 [with Sander Stolk]
In the Old English poem Beowulf, several body parts are put on display, including Grendel’s arm at Heorot and Æschere’s head on top of a cliff. The first instance has been widely discussed by various scholars, who have tried to find out why and where the arm was hung. By contrast, scholarly treatments of the second instance are relatively scarce. This article places the exhibition of Æschere’s head by Grendel’s mother in the context of similar practices of decapitation and display in Anglo-Saxon England. It will be argued that the placement of the head of Æschere on top of the cliff towering over Grendel’s mere resembles the Anglo-Saxon heafod stoccan, ‘head stakes’, which acted as boundary markers. The monster’s act, therefore, would not strike as foreign to the Anglo-Saxon audience, but would be familiar. As we will show, the identification of Æschere’s head as a boundary marker, placed at the edge of the monsters’ domain, also has some bearing on the interpretation of other potential boundary markers in the poem, including Grendel’s arm and the dragon’s corpse. Lastly, we will argue for a new reading of two textual cruces in Beowulf’s speech prior to his fight with Grendel.
- ‘”Ih wallota sumaro enti wintro sehstic”: The Familiar and the Foreign in Old Germanic Studies’, in The Familiar and the Foreign in Old Gemanic Studies, ed. Thijs Porck (special issue of Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik 77(3-4)), 489-492
An introduction to a collected volume that celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the Dutch Society for Old Germanic studies, the Vereniging voor Oudgermanisten. The collection brings together contributions by both veteran and early career members of the society and centres on the theme of the encounter between the familiar and the foreign. This theme is also of central importance in one of the most widely studied Old Germanic poems, the Hildebrandslied. This poem features the culmination of Hildebrand’s thirty-year exile: a one-on-one fight with his estranged son.
- ‘blanded leornung: Three Digital Approaches to Teaching Old English’, TOEBI Newsletter 34 (2017), 5-13 [with Jodie E. V. Mann]
Ongoing digitization provides new opportunities for teaching and engaging students both inside and outside the class room. This article reports on three approaches to using new media to facilitate undergraduate teaching of Old English at Leiden University, the Netherlands. First, the use of video clips to explain basic features of Old English grammar and morphology is discussed. Next, we report on how the incorporation of student-created material (vlogs on the Norman Conquest and ‘homemade’ Old English proverbs) led to a better understanding of the course content. Finally, an analysis of a Facebook group for Old English students, which has run for a duration of over four years, is shown along with the best practices that have been gleaned from it.
- ‘Everzwijn’, Madoc. Tijdschrift over de Middeleeuwen 30 (2016): 206-207
A note on the boar in the Middle Ages for a special volume on thirty medieval animals.
- ‘Introduction’, Journal of the LUCAS Graduate Conference 4 (2016), 4-7 [with Karine Laporte, Fleur Praal, Haohao Lu, Lieke Smits, Agnieszka Anna Wołodźko, Tessa de Zeeuw, and Jenneka Janzen]
Introduction by the whole editorial board of the issue ‘Breaking the Rules: Textual Reflections on Transgression’ of the Journal of the LUCAS Graduate Conference.
- ‘Treasures in a Sooty Bag? A Note on Durham Proverb 7’, Notes and Queries n.s. 62 (2015), 203-206
This note calls attention to a precursor of the Latin text of Durham Proverb 7 in the ninth-century Collectanea Pseudo-Bedae and, in doing so, sheds some light on the unresolved relationship between the Old English and Latin versions of the Durham Proverbs in general and Durham Proverb 7 in particular.
- ‘How Cnut became Canute (and how Harthacnut became Airdeconut)’, NOWELE: North-Western European Language Evolution 67 (2014), 237–243 [with Jodie E. V. Mann]
This article discusses the development of the spelling for the name of Cnut the Great, Viking king of England from 1016 to 1035, from to . The origin of this disyllabic spelling is uncertain and has been attributed to taboo deflection, the simplification of the consonant cluster /kn/ in English and even a pope’s inability to pronounce the name Cnut. A survey of documents contemporary to Cnut the Great and later chronicles, however, suggests that the disyllabic spelling is found first in sources of Norman origin. As such, the disyllabic spelling should be considered a romanisation. This conclusion has important implications for a recently found, early tenth-century coin, bearing the inscription “AIRDECONUT”.
- ‘Two Notes on an Old English Confessional Prayer in Vespasian D. XX’, Notes and Queries n.s. 60 (2013), 493–498
“In ‘Two Notes on an Old English Confessional Prayer in Vespasian D.xx’ (N&Q 60 493–8), Thijs Porck first suggests that the Vespasian text is a close analogue to the Latin text in the Book of Cerne (Cambridge University Library MS L1.1.10). Listing correspondences between those two and two other Old English prayers in BL MS Tiberius C.i and the Old English Handbook for the Use of a Confessor, he suggests that all four texts ‘may have sprung from a common, Latin original’ (p. 496). Porck’s second note considers the unique word omo in the Vespasian text. Comparing it with lists of body parts in his proposed analogues, he suggests that omo be amended to leomo (‘limbs’).” (R. Fisher et al., ‘Old English’, The Year’s Work in English Studies (forthc., 2015)
- ‘Vergrijzing in een Oudengels heldendicht. De rol van oude koningen in de Beowulf’, Madoc. Tijdschrift over de Middeleeuwen 26 (2012), 66–76
In this article, I suggest Beowulf should be read as a mirror of princes for elderly kings.
- ‘Eight Guidelines on Book Preservation from 1527: How One Should Preserve All Books to Last Eternally’, Journal of PaperConservation : IADA Reports – Mitteilungen der IADA 13 (2012), 17–25 [with Henk Porck]
The present article analyses and makes available one of the earliest known texts on book preservation. The text in manuscript The Hague, KB 133 F 2 dates back to 1527 and contains eight guidelines on how to preserve books. These guidelines give us a unique insight into the way people in the later Middle Ages thought about handling books and the risks involved. An analysis of the contents of these age-old guidelines in light of modern book preservation indicates that the causes of deterioration and degradation identified back then still hold true today. In addition, this set of medieval instructions can be seen as one of the earliest foundations of our present-day regulations on access, handling and storage.
Available online via Academia.edu
- ‘Hoemen alle boucken bewaren sal om eewelic te duerene. Acht regels uit 1527 over het conserveren van boeken’, Jaarboek voor Nederlandse boekgeschiedenis 15 (2008), 7–21 [with Henk Porck]
An earlier, Dutch version of the article in Journal of PaperConservation (2012)
- ‘Een Rijnlandse serie adelskronieken 1533–1542. Het zogenaamde Voorste Haagsche Handschrift’, Millennium: Tijdschrift voor Middeleeuwse Studies 20 (2006), 44–62
An article that identifies and describes a series of Dutch nobility chronicles in The Hague, KB 131 G 31.