Michael Swanton

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Professor Michael Swanton inspects medieval murals discovered in Devon, UK.
Professor Michael Swanton inspects medieval murals discovered in Devon, UK, 2008
Professor Michael Swanton as Student chairman.
Student chairman, 1962–63 Handbook frontis.

Michael James Swanton is a British polymath: historian, linguist, literary critic, translator, archaeological metallurgist and architectural historian specialising in Old English literature and the Anglo-Saxon period.

Born a Bow-bell Cockney in the opening days of World War II, Michael emerged from blitz-stricken London dockland wholly depressed. A disadvantaged, epileptic child, he was socially excluded and persistently bullied (see Keith Richards, Life, 2010, p. 55). He failed the selective 11+ exams but was educated at a series of South London state schools: Secondary Modern, Technical and Grammar; then student of the University of Durham (elected Chairman of the students' union, and of the Standing Congress of Northern Student Unions) and later student of Bath, gaining research degrees in both arts and science and a higher doctorate, D. Litt., Dunelm. He taught English at the University of Manchester, then Linguistics at the Universities of Giessen in Germany, and of Lausanne in Switzerland, and finally Medieval Studies at Exeter, where he also acted as the university's Public Orator for several years. During the 1960s–70s he was Honorary Editor of The Royal Archaeological Institute, and in 1971 founded the Exeter Medieval Texts & Studies series (seventy-five titles to date). Reckoned an authority on Anglo-Saxon England, he was elected Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society and of the Society of Antiquaries. In retirement he remains Emeritus Professor of Medieval Studies at Exeter University. Now single, he lives in Devonshire writing creatively.[1]

Wide-ranging personal published work includes translations of Beowulf, the Gesta Herewardi (a life of Hereward the Wake), Vitae duorum Offarum (The Lives of Two Offas), and The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as well as books on early English literature, art, architecture, and archaeology.

Publications

Professor Swanton holds a glass of wine in one hand and a copy of his book 'The Lives of Two Offas' in the other, at the launch of the book.
Professor Swanton at the publication of 'The Lives of Two Offas', 2010
  • 1968-75: Ed. Proceedings (114th-121st) of The Royal Archaeological Institute (London).
  • 1970: The Dream of the Rood (University of Manchester) ISBN 0-7190-0414-4 (Exeter University) ISBN 085989 224 7 (Liverpool University) ISBN 9780859895033
  • 1970: Ed. with Knapp, J. and Jevons, F., University Perspectives (University of Manchester) ISBN 0-7190-0433-0
  • 1970–76: Ed. The Archaeological Journal, 127-31 (Royal Archaeological Institute) ISBN 978-0-903986-61-8
  • 1971: An Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (University of Exeter) ISBN 978-0-85989-353-4[2] (Liverpool University) ISBN 9780859893534
  • 1971–2008: Gen. Ed. Exeter Medieval Texts & Studies Series (University of Exeter with Chicago University Press)
  • 1973: Spearheads of the Anglo-Saxon Settlements (London, Royal Archaeological Institute) ISBN 0-903986-01-9
  • 1974: A Corpus of Pagan Anglo-Saxon Spear-Types (Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 7) ISBN 0-904531-04-X
  • 1975: Anglo-Saxon Prose (J.M. Dent, London) "just the right amount of literal fidelity, with sufficient scholarship to satisfy the scholar without frightening the critic" (THES) ISBN 0-460-10809-3 New edition, 2017.
  • 1975: Ed. Studies in Medieval Domestic Architecture (London, Royal Archaeological Institute) ISBN 0-903986-04-3 [2]
  • 1975: With Radford, C.A.R., Arthurian Sites in the West (Exeter: University of Exeter Press) ISBN 0-85989-026-0) (Revised edition, 2002) [2]
  • 1977: Exploring Early Britain (EP Publishing, Wakefield) ISBN 0-7158-0472-3
  • 1978: Beowulf (University of Manchester) ISBN 0-7190-0716-X [2] "The most readable, accurate literal translation that has yet appeared" (Anglia).
  • 1978: With Glasscoe, M., Medieval Woodwork in Exeter Cathedral (Dean and Chapter of Exeter) ISBN 0-9503320-1-1 [2]
  • 1979: Roof-bosses and Corbels of Exeter Cathedral (Dean and Chapter of Exeter) ISBN 0-9503320-2-X
  • 1981: Medieval Art in Britain: a select bibliography (London)[2] ISBN 0-907810-00-4
  • 1982: Crisis and Development in Germanic Society 700 – 800: Beowulf and the burden of kingship (Goppingen, Kümmerle Verlag) ISBN 3-87452-540-6 [2]
  • 1984: Three Lives of the Last Englishmen (Garland Library of Medieval Literature, vol. 10, Ser. B) (New York: Garland ISBN 0-8240-9422-0) The life of King Harold Godwinson – The life of Hereward the Wake (repr. Medieval Outlaws, ed. Ohlgren, T., 1998, pp. 12–60) – The life of Bishop Wulfstan. ISBN 0-8240-9422-0
  • 1986: St. Sidwell, an Exeter Legend (Exeter, Devon Books), ISBN 0-86114-781-2
  • 1987: English Literature before Chaucer (Harlow, Longman), ISBN 0-582-49241-6
  • 1991: Exeter Cathedral, a Celebration; foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales (Dean and Chapter of Exeter) ISBN 0-9503320-5-4
  • 1996: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (J.M. Dent, London) ISBN 0-460-87737-2 revised as The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles (Phoenix Press, London)[2] "probably the most important book that will be published this spring" (Irish Times); "another heroic work of scholarship" (Guardian); "supplanting all its predecessors" (Medium Aevum).
  • 1996: Opening the Franks Casket (University of Leicester) ISBN 0-901507-69-5; transl. as:
  • 1997: Le Couvercle du Coffret d'Auzon, Levée (Université de Lausanne)
  • 2002: English Poetry before Chaucer (University of Exeter) ISBN 0-85989-681-1[2] (Liverpool University) ISBN 9780859896337
  • 2010: The Lives of Two Offas: Vitae Offarum Duorum (Crediton: The Medieval Press) ISBN 978-0-9557636-8-7 [1] "accomplished and highly useful ... solid scholarly work" (Journal of English and Germanic Philology).
  • 2017: Anglo-Saxon Prose: Revised and Enlarged (Gloucester, The Choir Press) ISBN 978-1-910864-74-6

Ephemerides

  • 1964: 'The Wife's Lament and The Husband's Message, a reconsideration', Anglia, Zeitschrift für Englische Philologie, 82, 269–290.
  • 1966: 'An Anglian cemetery at Londesborough', Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 47, 43–50.
  • 1967: 'Des soudures décorées en gueule de loup de l'Âge Ténèbres', Revue d'Histoire de la Sidérurgie, 7, 315–27.
  • 1967: 'An early Alamannic brooch from Yorkshire', The Antiquaries Journal, 47, 43–50.
  • 1968: 'The Battle of Maldon: a literary caveat', Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 97, 441–450.
  • 1969: 'Ambiguity and anticipation in The Dream of the Rood', Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, 79, 407–424.
  • 1969: 'A rune-stone from Victoria Cave, Settle, Yorkshire', Medieval Archaeology, 12, 211–14.
  • 1970: 'Bishop Acca and the cross at Hexham', Archaeologia Aeliana, 4th Series, 48, 157–68.
  • 1972: 'Castle Hill, Bakewell', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, 92, 16–27.
  • 1973: 'A pre-Conquest sculptural fragment from Rochester Cathedral', Archaeologia Cantiana, 88, 201–03.
  • 1974: 'A "lost" crop-mark site at Westenhanger', Archaeologia Cantiana, 88, 203–07.
  • 1974: 'Finglesham Man: a documentary postscript', Antiquity, 48, 313–14.
  • 1976: 'A fragmentary Life of St Mildred and other Kentish royal saints', Archaeologia Cantiana, 91, 15–27.
  • 1976: 'Une version perdue du Catholicon de Jean Lagadeuc', Études Celtiques, 15, 599–605.
  • 1976: 'Eine wenig bekannte Fassung von Aelfric's Glossar', Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen, 213, 104–107.
  • 1976: 'The tutor midwife: concentrated study in the humanities', Studies in Higher Education, I, 169-78.
  • 1976: '"Daneskins": excoriation in early England', Folklore, 87, 21–28.
  • 1977: 'Heroes, heroism and heroic literature', Essays and Studies, NS. 30, 1–21.
  • 1978: 'Address to New Students, September 1977', University of Exeter Newsletter, 79, 1–7.
  • 1979: 'A mural palimpsest from Rochester Cathedral', The Archaeological Journal, 136, 125–35.
  • 1979: 'The "dancer" on the Codford cross', Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History, Oxford, pp. 139–48.
  • 1979: 'A medieval statue from Upton', Lincolnshire History and Archaeology, 14, 81.
  • 1980: 'The manuscript illustration of a helmet of Benty Grange type', Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, 10, 1–5.
  • 1980: 'Church archaeology in Devon', Archaeology of the Devon Landscape, Exeter, Devon County Council pp. 81–95. ISBN 0861 142861
  • 1980: 'Middle English "Leteworth": an unnoticed tenement-descriptor', Nomina, 4, 75–77.
  • 1980: 'Two foundation deposits from Devon churches', Bulletin of the Council for British Archaeology Churches Committee, 13, 24–26.
  • 1980: 'An inventory of pre-Reformation church bells in Devonshire, lost or destroyed 1860–1980', International Buildings Record Bulletin, 2, sect. 4.
  • 1980–84: The Churches of Central Exeter: History and Architecture, Parish of Central Exeter, Devon.
  • 1982: With Pearce, S., 'Lustleigh, South Devon: its inscribed stone, its churchyard and its parish', The Early Church in Western Britain and Ireland, British Archaeological Records, 102, Oxford, pp. 139–44. ISBN 086054 1827
  • 1982: 'Early graves beneath the choir of Exeter Cathedral', Bulletin of the International Society for the Study of Church Monuments, 7, 121–26.
  • 1983: 'Some Exeter Cathedral documents', Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 115, 123–31.
  • 1983: '"A ram and a ring", Gamelyn 172 et sequ.', English Language Notes, 20, 8–10.
  • 1983: 'A fifteenth-century cabalistic memorandum formerly in Morgan MS 775', The Harvard Theological Review, 76, 259–61.
  • 1986–91: Honorary Degree Orations delivered by The Public Orator, 1986, et sequ., University of Exeter, 1986–91.
  • 1988: 'Die altenglische Judith: weiblicher Held oder frauliche Heldin', in Beck, H. ed., Heldensage und Heldendichtung im Germanischen, Berlin, pp. 289–304. ISBN 3110111756
  • 1989: With Goulstone, J., 'Carry on Cricket – The Duke of Dorset's 1789 Tour', History Today, 39, 18–23.
  • 1989: 'Library Costs', Times Higher Educational Supplement, 10 November 1989.
  • 1990: 'Team Believers', Times Higher Educational Supplement, 16 February 1990.
  • 1990: 'A further manuscript of The Siege of Jerusalem', Scriptorium, 44, 103–04.
  • 1990: 'The decoration of Ernulf's nave', Friends of Rochester Cathedral Report, 1989/90, 11–18.
  • 1992: 'A dividing book club of the 1840s: Wadebridge, Cornwall', Library History, 9, 106–21.
  • 1992: 'Warum sollte der Trojaner "base" sein?', Shakespeare Jahrbuch, 128, 132–35.
  • 1994: 'A readership (and non-readership) for Martin Chuzzlewit, 1843–44', Dickens Quarterly, 11, 115–26, 161–71.
  • 1995: 'The Bayeux Tapestry: epic narrative, not stichic but stitched', in Le Saux, F., ed., The Formation of Culture in Medieval Britain, Lewiston, NY, pp. 149–69. ISBN 0773491198; transl. as:
  • 1996: 'Gobelen iz Baio: Epicheskoe skazanie ne v stikhakh, no v vyshivke', Mirovoe Drevo, 4, 47–62.
  • 2000: 'King Alfred's ships: text and context', Anglo-Saxon England, 28, 1–22.
  • 2017: 'Ethelred the Unready's gift to parturient women: an agate touch-stone said to ease childbirth', De Partu (online).

Notes

  1. ^ a b Michael Swanton at medievalpress.com, accessed 15 July 2011
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Swanton, Michael James, at regesta-imperii.de, accessed 15 July 2011
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