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University of Oxford Faculty of English

Solopova, Dr Elizabeth

Job Title: Research Fellow
College: Brasenose
Period/ Subject: Medieval, Language and linguistics

Email address:

Research Interests:

I specialize in the Lollard movement, book history and manuscript studies, medieval liturgy, and historical linguistics and poetics, particularly the form of Old and Middle English verse.

I am currently undertaking a large-scale study of the Wycliffite Bible, focusing on its origin and manuscript transmission, the history of its medieval ownership and use, as well as its textual tradition, language and translation practices. I am finishing a catalogue of the manuscripts of the Bible in Oxford collections, whilst also working on a book about its production, dissemination and use. I am collaborating with Oxford IT Services on an online archive that will contain images of all manuscripts of the Bible in Oxford, and will help to understand how many scribes were involved in its copying, and where and how their work was organized. I am also editing a collection of essays on the origin, history and interpretation of the Wycliffite Bible, to be published in Brill’s Companion to the Christian Tradition series. The collection will include contributions by leading scholars on the historical and intellectual background of the Bible, its manuscripts, text, contemporary and later reception.

I am organizing an international conference ‘Transforming Scripture: Biblical translations and adaptations in Old and Middle English’, that will take place in Oxford on 29-31 May, 2014.

My most recent book, Latin Liturgical Psalters in the Bodleian Library: A Select Catalogue, contains detailed descriptions of over a hundred manuscripts from different countries and an analysis of the liturgical traditions they represent. I also have a strong interest in medieval maps, the manuscripts of The Canterbury Tales, the language and poetic form of Old English, early Middle English and Chaucer’s verse, and have published on all these topics.

Teaching Areas:

Old English and Middle English literature; Old English Philology; Old English textual criticism; Gothic language; History of the English Language; the fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien

Recent Publications:


Latin Liturgical Psalters in the Bodleian Library: A Select Catalogue (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2013) (Reviewed in TLS, 18 July 2014).

Languages, Myths and History: An Introduction to the Linguistic and Literary background of J. R. R. Tolkien's Fiction (New York: North Landing Books, 2009)

Key Concepts in Medieval Literature, Palgrave Key Concepts: Literature, E. Solopova and S. Lee (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)

The Keys of Middle-earth: Discovering Medieval Literature through the Fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, S. Lee and E. Solopova (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) - A new edition is in preparation!

[editor] General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales on CD-ROM (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)



The Index of Middle English Verse, with Linne R. Mooney, Daniel W. Mosser and David H. Radcliffe

The Gough Map of Great Britain, digital edition and facsimile, with Keith Lilly (Queen's University Belfast), Nick Millea (Bodleian Library Oxford) and Paul Vetch (King’s College London)



‘Middle English’, A Companion to J. R. R. Tolkien, Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture, ed. Stuart D. Lee (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), 230-243.

'Manuscript Evidence for the Patronage, Ownership and Use of the Wycliffite Bible', Form and Function in the Late Medieval Bible, ed. Eyal Poleg and Laura Light (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 333-49.

'The Liturgical Psalter in Medieval Europe', Jewish and Christian Approaches to the Psalms: Conflict and Convergence, ed. Susan Gillingham (Oxford: OUP, 2013), 89-104.

'The Making and Re-making of the Gough Map of Britain: Manuscript Evidence and Historical Context', Imago Mundi 65 (2012), 155-68.

'A Previously Unidentified Extract about the Litany in a Wycliffite Psalter (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Bodl. 554)', Bodleian Library Record 24 (2011), 217-23.

'Before the King James Bible' [with Diarmaid MacCulloch], Manifold Greatness: The Making of the King James Bible, ed. Helen Moore and Julian Reid (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2011), 13-39.

Entries ‘Missal’, ‘Gradual’, ‘Pontifical’, ‘Ordinal’, ‘Breviary’, ‘Lectionary’, ‘Responsorial’, ‘Ritual’ and ‘Penitential’, The Oxford Companion to the Book, ed. M. Suarez and H. R. Woudhuysen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)

‘Medieval Psalters in the Gough Collection at the Bodleian Library, Oxford’, Bodleian Library Record 22 (2009)

‘Alliteration and Prosody in Old and Middle English’, Approaches to the Metres of Alliterative Verse, Leeds Texts and Monographs n. s. 17, ed. J. Jefferson and A. Putter (Leeds: Leeds University Press, 2009), 25-39

‘English Poetry of the Reign of Henry II’, Writings of the Reign of Henry II: Twelve Essays, ed. R. Kennedy  and S. Meecham-Jones (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 187-204

‘The Survival of Chaucer’s Punctuation in the Early Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales’, Middle English Poetry: Texts and Traditions. Essays in Honour of Derek Pearsall, ed. A. J. Minnis (York: York Medieval Press, 2001), 27-40

'Computer-assisted Study of Chaucer's Metre', Medieval English Measures, ed. Ruth Kennedy, Parergon, n.s. 18.1 (Special issue, July 2000), 157-79

‘Layout, Punctuation and Stanza Patterns in Middle English Verse’, Studies in the Harley Manuscript, ed. S. Fein (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2000), 377-89

[contributor] Electronic Beowulf, ed. K. S. Kiernan (London: British Library Publications and Ann Arbor: University of  Michigan Press, 2000)

‘Editing all Manuscripts of all the Canterbury Tales in Electronic Form: Is it Worthwhile?’, New Ways of Looking at Old Texts: Papers of the Renaissance English Text Society, 1992-1996, ed. W. Speed Hill (Tempe, Ariz.: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1998), 54-75

‘Chaucer’s Metre and Scribal Editing in the Early Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales’, The Canterbury Tales Project Occasional Papers 2, ed. N. Blake and P. Robinson (London: Office for Humanities Communication Publications, 1997), 143-64

‘The Problem of Authorial Variants in the Wife in Bath’s Prologue’, Occasional Papers 2, 133-42

‘The Metre of the Ormulum’, Doubt Wisely: A Collection of Essays in Honour of Eric G. Stanley, ed. J. Toswell and E. Tyler (London and New York: Routledge, 1996), 423-39

Other Information:

Current research projects:

'Mass Production, Clandestibe Circulation? Wycliffite Bibles in Oxford Libraries', with Professor Anne Hudson, funded by the Leverhulme Trust

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