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Water and Baptism in Old English Poetry

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Cleansing Water (Water and Baptism in Old English Poetry)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2019-08-31

This project offered the first comprehensive study on the function of water and its relationship with baptism, determining how these topics are treated in relation to salvation in the four most significant OE poetry manuscripts.
The study has proven important for society, demonstrating the centrality of baptism and the concern for salvation in the 4 examined manuscripts and other related texts and it has shed new light on the spiritual life of the Anglo-Saxons. The study has led to a better understanding of broader issues, such as the culture of the Anglo-Saxons, their view of life and death and their conception of the afterlife, determining how, and to what extent, this vision has been assimilated and developed in contemporary European culture.
The project ascertained the treatment of recurrent expressions, similar themes and intertextual references, demonstrating that the texts surveyed, though transmitted in different codices, share the same concern for eternal salvation, and consider baptismal water as fundamental to gain eternal life.
-M 1-7: Research on the Flood and on references to rivers and seas.
A novel field of inquiry has opened up while investigating the thematic area of the Flood, giving original and unexpected results. ER conducted a thorough study on the function of the rainbow in early medieval English manuscripts. This has impacted the final part of the project, which should have included the completion of a summary and an analysis of the results of the research; the search for recurrent expressions and intertextual cross-references; the identification of similarities and differences in the treatment of the baptism and water topics, with regard to genre and codicological context; the definition of how baptismal-water imagery informs the thematic unity and the meaning of the four poetic manuscripts under examination. This work is still being carried out and will be concluded in the next few months.
-M 8-9: baths
-M 10-11:baptismal immersion and rain: analysis of references to baths and water springs and to rain and mist. Fieldwork at the British Library, London. Analysis of manuscripts relevant to the project.
-M 12-19: purifying action of blood and on baptism in general. Survey of texts referring to blood; assessment of references to baptism. Fieldwork at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Analysis of manuscripts relevant to the project.
-M 20-24: Further development of the research on the rainbow.Fieldwork at the Glasgow University Library. Analysis of manuscripts relevant to the project.

- Attendance at Workshops and conferences:
- attendance at different Modules (School of English and Union Theological College)

-Organization of the “Aspects of Water in the Middle Ages” workshop, Belfast 10/11/2018.
The H-Net website does not show any reference to the MSCA Programme simply because the policies of the H-ANNOUNCE Portal allowed just a brief post, therefore, I could not even publish the Programme of the symposium. For this reason, the post contains two links: 1) to Eventbrite to book a ticket for catering purposes and 2) to my Academia page, where a flyer of the Symposium was (and still is) on display together with all the indications to attend the conference. The flyer and the posters advertising the conference, which have been widely circulated, clearly show acknowledgment of the MSCA Programme.
-Co-organisation of two sessions at the IMC Leeds 2019
-Active attendance at conferences through the presentation of conference papers.

-Publication of the peer-reviewed article E.Ramazzina“Il dramma di Satana: aspetti dell'oralità nei monologhi di Genesi B” in V. Cantoni, N. Casella, Lingua orale e parola scenica. Risorsa e testimonianza, Cue Press, 2018
-Submission of “The Rainbow in Anglo-Saxon Literature” to Review of English Studies and of “Water, blood, baptism, in Old English Literature” to Neophilologus

ER is working on a co-authored chapter with I. Tenchini entitled “ƿyl sƿiðe on ƿætre ⁊ beþe on sƿiðe hatumꝥ lic”: the Different Functions of Water in Anglo-Saxon Medicine, to be included in a volume on Science and Medicine in the Middle Ages (title tba) edited by S.Baccianti and published by Brepols (deadline extended due to COVID 19). ER is also working on a chapter that will be included in the Water volume within the “Four Elements” series she is coediting with Dr Cesario and Professor Magennis. The chapter will be entitled ‘Hec aqua languentes restaurant et ylia sanat: Bathing in late medieval Europe’.

The monograph “The Wonders of the East: an Old English re-writing” is under evaluation at Boydell&Brewer.

Together with M. Cesario and H. Magennis ER has been working on the co-edition of a collection in four volumes on the four elements to be published by Brill. The first two volumes, “Earth”, and “Water”, are almost completed.
H. Estes proposed ER to co-edit, together with her, a special issue of the new journal “Medieval Ecocriticisms” (Amsterdam University Press), which will contain the best papers presented at the workshop "Aspects of Water" along with other papers dealing with water from an ecocritical perspective.

Please note that acknowledgement of EU funding has been ensured at every conference presentation and will be assured in every upcoming peer-reviewed publication resulting from this project. Every upcoming publication resulting from this project will also be will also be Open Access.
The in-depth study of the baptismal topic and water imagery in OE poetry involving different codices has represented a key innovation in this area of study. The multidisciplinary approach of this study has helped redefine the topic from a new perspective, thus leading to a more complete understanding of the examined texts and of the codices in which they are contained, making an original and timely contribution to the critical debate around the soteriological discourse. The publication of the research results will impact especially on the fields of medieval literary history, literary criticism, manuscript studies and philological studies more in general.
The scheme has developed ERr’s expertise and has provided her with high-quality research experience, broadening her philological knowledge, honed and diversified her skills and methodologies through a carefully-chosen research development and training programme, which entailed Old English Language and Literature, Historical Linguistics, Palaeography, Digital Resources and Web Management. It has significantly broadened her analytical and digital skills through new experience with textual data and it will notably expand her publications track record through high-quality publications.
It has also raised her international research profile and networks through contact with the supervisor’s networks and collaborators (e.g. Oxford, Manchester, Birmingham), and with the medievalist communities both at QUB and at an international level,giving her the chance to create new collaborative opportunities within academia; it has enhanced and diversified her experience in taking personal responsibility through implementation of key elements of the project at the financial, organisational and impact-oriented levels.
Flyer "Aspects of water in the Middle Ages" - Programme - recto
Poster "Aspects of Water"
Flyer "Aspects of water in the Middle Ages" - Programme - verso