Seminar One

Anglo-Norman /The French of England in a Multilingual Culture

Jocelyn Wogan-Browne: Offices: Dealy 509, tel. 4030: Cambreleng Office of the Fordham CMS, tel. 5340.  The best way of contacting me is usually via email:

The linguistic practicum each week will be 1.30-2.30 in Dealy 105.  After a break we will continue with our seminar from approx. 3pm to 5pm (always let me know if you have to go early in a particular week) in the same room.


Please bring your copies of Einhorn, Old French: A Concise Handbook (Cambridge University Press paperback). Note: the amount and kind of work set for the practicum will be modified in the light of the linguistic experience in the class (e.g. those with little French will be asked to prepare fewer lines of translation initially).  Feel free to work with friends/ in pairs in preparing, but do each continue to write out the paradigms and prepare your own magic sheet. Future linguistic practicum tasks will be given out at our meetings, as they will depend on the progress we make.


Introduction: Anglo-Norman /The French of England
in a Multilingual Culture

This week we concentrate on the French of England as a language in a polyglot medieval culture, using some specific examples to explore how multilingualism works and what kinds of relations can be discerned between French and other languages, especially English, as we find these languages used in manuscripts.  If time permits we will also look at some detailed questions of lexis and the history of English and French in England.

A. Preliminary Reading

  1. Michael Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record, 2nd edition (Oxford, Blackwell, 1993) has been set for preliminary reading. The whole of this classic study is relevant, but if you are pressed for time you should at least read (form the second half of the book) the sections on The Literate Mentality, Languages of Record, and Literate and Illiterate (pp. 185-252), also  ch. 8, ‘Hearing and Seeing’, (pp. 253-93), ch. 9 ‘Trusting Writing’ (pp. 294-327).
  2. There is a good concise overview of Anglo-Norman (the older scholarly name for the French of England) and Anglo-Norman studies, ‘Anglo-Norman: a Brief Introduction’, at the Anglo-Norman hub:
  3. Some reading for thinking about multilingualism and linguistic interrelations (please try at least to read the article by Warren before the seminar):

Christopher Baswell, ‘Multilingualism on the Page’, in Middle English, Oxford Companion to Twenty-First Century Literature, ed. Paul Strohm (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006) (to be supplied, courtesy Prof. Baswell, by pdf, which will be sent to you ASAP)


 Michelle R. Warren, ‘Translation’, Ch 5 of the same volume, pp. 52-67 (on E-res).

B. Primary Seminar Texts

(These short excerpts will be supplied in the seminar/sent in advance by email: your preparation is, for once, chiefly to have read secondary sources, most importantly among them Clanchy’s book: all subsequent seminars will focus on primary reading)
We will look at:

  1. a page of the Delisle Psalter (reproduction supplied in class)
  2. short extracts from  Saluz et solaz, a C13th macaronic treatise on erotic spiritual love and the regulation of the religious life (text and trans. sent by email)
  3. an extract from Walter Bibbesworth’s medieval manual of French (dedicated to a noblewoman and used in teaching her son). (text and trans.sent by email).

C. Further Reading (these are ways of following up your interests after the seminar: they do not have to be read in advance)

-on the cultural and lexical history of the language: on the General Bibliography sent to you, see Douglas Kibbee (1991) for a history of the learning and teaching of French in medieval England and any/all of William Rothwell’s articles (many available on-line at the site  (these contain invaluable information about the lexis of  FoE and its interrelations with Middle English).

-on the history of academic and cultural attitudes to Anglo-Norman, two splendid studies are
—Linda Georgianna, ‘Coming to Terms with the Norman Conquest: Nationalism and
English Literary History’, Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature 14, ‘Literature and the Nation’, ed. Brook Thomas (Tübingen, 1998), 33-53 (E-res).
—Robert M. Stein, ‘Multilingualism’, in Strohm, Middle English (see above)- on E-res: this is a stimulating account of attitudes to literature, language, and nationalism.

-on multilingualism: Herbert Schendl,  ‘Linguistic Aspects of Code-Switching’ in Multilingualism in Later Medieval Britain, ed. D. A. Trotter (Cambridge: Brewer, 2000), pp. 77-92  and other works mentioned on your Saluz e solaz handout.

-on multilingualism and manuscripts, Richard K. Emmerson, ‘Visualizing the Vernacular: Middle English in Early Fourteenth-Century Bilingual and Trilingual Manuscript Illustrations’, in Tributes to Lucy Freeman Sandler: Studies in Illuminated Manuscripts, ed. Kathryn A. Smith and Carol H.Krinsky (London: Harvey Miller, 2007), pp. 187-204.

-re Bibbesworth, see Susan Crane, “Social Aspects of Bi-lingualism in the Thirteenth Century”, inThirteenth-Century England, ed. Michael Prestwich (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 1997), pp. 103-16