Professor Francis Leneghan awarded AHRC Fellowship

Francis Leneghan

Congratulations to Professor Francis Leneghan who has been awarded an AHRC Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship for 2024-26 for his project on 'Writing Pre-Conquest England: A New History of Old English Prose'.

Project details:

The vast corpus of Old English prose works is unrivalled among the vernacular literary cultures of early medieval Europe. From the law code of King Æthelberht of Kent, dating from 601, to the ambitious renderings of Latin classics produced during and soon after the reign of King Alfred of Wessex (871-899) and the emergence of the first great English prose stylists, Ælfric of Eynsham and Wulfstan of York, in the late tenth century, the story of Old English prose is one of adaptation, innovation and remarkable artistic achievement. Yet despite the obvious centrality of Old English prose to pre-Conquest English culture and literature, scholars have long preferred to concentrate on the comparatively slender corpus of Old English verse.

This project will shift the existing paradigms of the literary culture of England between the seventh and eleventh centuries, showcasing the remarkable variety of vernacular prose writing produced in England during this period. Through a series of linked scholarly publications, workshops, public talks and the production of a freely available website, the project will demonstrate how Old English prose became crucial to the educational, spiritual and administrative needs of both the English clergy and laity during this formative period of English language, literature and culture.

Professor Leneghan has also been awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship for 2023-24 for the same project.