An Introduction to Runes and Rune Lore
with Dr Elizabeth Solopova, (Oxford University)
at Sutton Hoo, Saturday, 14th May  2016.


This Study 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 day 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
09.50 – 10.15:    Coffee on arrival
10.15 – 11.15:     The runic alphabet: origin and organization; names, shapes and sound values of runes.
11.15 – 11.40:     Coffee break
11.40 – 12.40:     Language and practice of runic writing.
12.40 – 14.00:     Lunch break
14.00 – 14.50:    Uses of runic writing: issues of literacy, magic and pre-Christian associations.
14.50 – 15.10:      Tea break
15.10 – 16.00:     The development of runic writing, late medieval and post- medieval uses of runes.
c.16.00:    Thanks and Close

About Dr Elizabeth Solopova
Elizabeth Solopova is a Research Fellow at the English Faculty and New College, University of Oxford, where she teaches  Old and Middle English literature.  She has worked as the editor of General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales on CD-ROM (Cambridge 2000) and as a manager of the Electronic Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts for the Bodleian Library. She has published widely on medieval literature, manuscripts and the fiction of J.R.R Tolkien. Her current research is on the Wycliffite Bible, the first complete translation of the Bible in English produced at the end of the 14th century by the followers of the Oxford theologian John Wycliffe.

Feedback from previous sessions: 
“excellent speaker: well informed, well prepared, well organised, good handouts”

Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading
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)