Awesome is away (and her cat appears to be stuck under her computer), I’m not seeing the Bocera until next semester, and everyone else has dissapeared for exams/ on their way to Leeds. I’ll try taking this to Old English Reading Group tomorrow, but I shall also put it up here and hope some nice person sees their way clear to telling me if this is an acceptable-looking paper proposal. (The conference in question is entitled ‘Welcoming the Stranger’). It’s nearly a hundred words short of the word limit, but so were the abstracts for last year’s conference.
Legislating for the stranger: Archbishop Wulfstan and King Cnut
Archbishop Wulfstan of York stands out early 11th century England as a lawmaker, homilist and one of the few stable political figures in a period of invasions and great social upheaval. From the time of Æthelred, Wulfstan’s laws and homiletic works show that he was developing a theoretical basis for the ideal Christian society, but it was under the invader Cnut that he found the stability to begin shaping that society. The manuscript Cotton Nero A.i, compiled under Wulfstan’s direction, provided both a sourcebook for Wulfstan as he worked on the great Cnut Codes of 1018, and the resources he needed to hand in order to instruct Cnut and his court about the laws and traditions of Christian England. This paper will examine the relationship between Wulfstan and the stranger on the English throne, and the process by which Wulfstan cast the invader in the role of Christian king over the English, with particular reference to the texts in Cotton Nero A.i.