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Introduction: Learning, Romance and Arthurianism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 December 2023

A. S. G. Edwards
Affiliation:
University of Kent, University College, London, and King's College, London
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Summary

The preceding pages give a fine summary of the impact that Elizabeth has had on the world. She has a reputation for being more of a fox than a hedgehog, skilled across many things, in a way that delights everyone who reads her work or knows her. Medievalists across the globe know her as a scholar and critic, and a first point of recourse for anyone interested in such multilingual topics as Arthurian studies, romance, incest, the long history of the story of Apollonius of Tyre, and macaronic poetry; but her publications in all those fields demonstrate a hedgehog’s powers of focus. To her longest-standing Northumberland neighbours, she is the owner of a castle, or at least the traceable remains of one. To her world-wide friends and colleagues, only a handful of whom it was possible to represent in this volume, she is not only a multitasker of formidable ability but also a loyal, supportive and generous associate. To her students and university colleagues outside her own field, she is a shrewd and efficient administrator, not least in the post from which she is just now retiring, as principal of one of the student communities of the University of Durham, St Cuthbert’s Society. Cuth’s has all the qualities associated with being a college of the University, but it is something more than that. Its central focus is firmly academic, but it also includes people whose own qualities and abilities can enhance the community in other ways – a capacity for generous inclusiveness that again suits Elizabeth’s qualities as fox. Those lucky enough to have been at Cuth’s during her tenure will know how she has enhanced its sense of its own unique identity in unusual and imaginative ways (blindfold dinners, anyone?), and how she has strengthened their sense of belonging. Her appointment as Honorary Colonel of the Northumbrian University Officers’ Training Corps (making her ‘the last line of defence in any national emergency’, as a friend described it) is also just right for her.

This volume of tributes to Elizabeth’s work properly focuses on the illumination her research has brought to the field of medieval studies, and not least to what she herself has described as ‘literary archaeology’.

Type
Chapter
Information
Medieval Romance, Arthurian Literature
Essays in Honour of Elizabeth Archibald
, pp. xiii - xviii
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2021

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