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An Introduction to Runes and Rune Lore

An Old English amulet ring from Kingmoor, Cumbria,

with Dr Elizabeth Solopova (Bodleian Library, Oxford University)

in The Old Court, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday, 21st April, 2012.

This day will introduce a range of linguistic, cultural, geographical and historical issues and materials essential for the study of runic writing. Runic literacy will be examined as a developing phenomenon, evolving through a number of stages from late Antiquity to late Middle Ages both on the Continent and in Britain. The emphasis will be on its interpretation as a highly unusual but significant part of the history of European literacy. Due attention will be given to difficulties of its exploration, problems and limitations of research on runes. The course will include reading of a selection of runic inscriptions from different periods and discussion of their archaeological and cultural context. A small range of Old Norse and Old English texts which describe uses of runes and attitudes towards runic writing will be read in translation.

Provisional Programme
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 The runic alphabet: origin and organization; names, shapes and sound values of runes.  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.45 Language and practice of runic writing.  
  12.45 Lunch break (bring picnic or eat in NT restaurant)  
  14:00 Uses of runic writing: issues of literacy, magic and pre-Christian associations.  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 The development of runic writing, late medieval and post- medieval uses of runes.  
  c.16:20 Close  

About Dr Elizabeth Solopova

Elizabeth Solopova has a D. Phil in Medieval English from Oxford University. She is the editor of General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales on CD-ROM (Cambridge 2000) and contributor to British Library’s Electronic Beowulf. Her research interests include historical linguistics, textual criticism, palaeography, metrics and historical poetics. She is currently employed at the Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts at the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, as a manager of the Electronic Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts. She also teaches courses in medieval studies at the Departments for Continuing Education at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Her latest book, The Keys of Middle-Earth, co-written with Dr Stuart Lee, was published in 2005.

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Derolez, R., Runica Manuscripta (Brugge, 1954)
Elliott, R. W. V., Runes: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (Manchester: University Press, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989)
Hines, J., ‘Some observations on the Runic Inscriptions of Early Anglo-Saxon England’ in Old English Runes and their Continental Backgrounds, ed. A. Bammesberger (Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 1991), 61-83
Jensen, Jens Juhl, ‘The Problem of the Runes in the Light of Some Other Alphabets’, Norwegian Journal of Linguistics 23 (1969), 132-146
Lee, S. D., & E. Solopova, The Keys of Middle-earth: Discovering Medieval Literature through the Fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)
Morris, R. L., Runic and Mediterranean Epigraphy. NOWELE Supplement Volume 4 (Odense University Press, 1988)
Rodrigues, L. J., Anglo-Saxon Verse Runes (Felinfach: Llanerch Publishers, 1992)
Page, R. I., Runes (University of California Press/British Museum, 1987)
Page, R. I., Runes and Runic Inscriptions. Collected Essays on Anglo-Saxon and Viking Runes (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1995)
Page, R. I., An Introduction to English Runes, 2nd ed. (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999)


Please phone or email to check the availability of places. Study Days are 38 per person, which includes a full day of lectures, access to the NT site, parking, coffee and tea throughout the day, and access to the NT exhibition. Once you have reserved your place please send a cheque to confirm the booking. For your first booking please complete the application form to ensure that we have recorded your contact details correctly.

Wuffing Education,
4 Hilly Fields,
Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4DX
tel : 01394 386498

Email cliff AT wuffingeducation.co.uk
(replace 'AT' by '@' in order to send email - we used 'AT' to avoid spam robots automatically sending us emails)
Website www.wuffingeducation.co.uk

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