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King Alfred the Great, his Hagiographers and his Cult

A Childhood Remembered

308 pages
Amsterdam University Press
This book situates Alfred the Great in his hagiographic context. For 150 years, the fables told in the ninth century about Alfred’s childhood have posed interlocking disciplinary challenges to historians committed to evicting romance from history. Blending current Hagiography Studies with historical, literary, and biblical hermeneutics can help us forgo the anti-hagiographic commitments which motivated the scholars who purified the Victorian cult of Alfred by expunging his legends and salvaging his historicity. The book focusses on the typological functions of three Alfredian fables from the Old English Chronicle, the Old English Boethius, and Asser’s Vita Ælfredi, analyses the plot common to all three, critiques the psychological conjecture that Alfred’s childhood memory was their common source, and shows that synoptically they can help us see how Alfred shaped the curve of his own life’s destiny and how he engaged in the formation of his own cult to last a thousand years.
Author Bio
An independent Latino scholar living in Vermont, Tomás Kalmar (Ed.D., Harvard) specializes in interdisciplinary Alfredian Studies. He has published on Alfred and Asser in EOLAS and Peritia. He is the author of Illegal Alphabets and Adult Biliteracy (Routledge 2015). Andrew Prescott (FSA, FRHS) is Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Glasgow. Alicia Spencer-Hall is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Queen Mary University of London (UK). Her research interests include medieval hagiography, disability, gender, digital culture, and film and media studies.