Heide Estes, Ph.D., professor of English, recently published, “Writing the World in Early Medieval England,” as part of the Elements in England in the Early Medieval World series by Cambridge Elements (Cambridge University Press, 2023). The book is co-authored by Nicole Guenther Discenza, Ph.D., professor of English at the University of South Florida.
Their work explores early medieval English society and discusses its diversity and connection to a broader world, from the British Isles and neighboring Scandinavia to distant places in Jerusalem, North Africa, and India. Estes and Discenza provide insights about the early medieval English who were engaged deeply in a variety of modes with other parts of their world and explain how the connections and the divisions they constructed still have impact today.
Using chronicles, histories, poetry, homilies, saints’ lives, and occasionally maps, Estes and Discenza also delve into imagined geographies that veered into the fantastic and vividly depicted hell, purgatory, and heaven. The authors provide a chapter by chapter overview that is available in an online video abstract of the volume.
The Elements in England in the Early Medieval World series takes an innovative, interdisciplinary view of the culture, history, literature, archaeology and legacy of England between the fifth and 11th centuries. Individual contributions question and situate key themes, bringing new perspectives to the heritage of early medieval England. They draw on texts in Latin and Old English as well as material culture to paint a vivid picture of the period. Relevant not only to students and scholars working in medieval studies, the series is driven by a commitment to inclusive and critical scholarship, and to the view that early medieval studies have a part to play in many fields of academic research, as well as constituting a vibrant and self-contained area of research in its own right.