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Reviewed by:
  • Crossing Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Art, Material Culture, Language and Literature of the Early Medieval World by Eric Cambridge, and Jane Hawkes
  • Greg Waite
Cambridge, Eric, and Jane Hawkes, eds, Crossing Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Art, Material Culture, Language and Literature of the Early Medieval World, Oxford and Philadelphia, Oxbow Books, 2017; hardback; pp. 320; 131 colour and b/w illustrations; R.R.P. $55.00; ISBN 9781785703072.

It is timely to review a book with this title when the 2019 ANZAMEMS Conference theme was 'Categories, Boundaries, Horizons', giving rise to a number of sessions or papers that incorporated the thematic phrase 'crossing boundaries'. The book is a collection of essays in honour of Professor Richard Bailey on the occasion of his eightieth birthday, and he is pictured in the frontispiece displaying his OBE on the occasion of its award. There is no need for customary caveats about Festschriften so far as this book is concerned. It presents twenty-seven essays of extremely high standard by scholars emerging, established, and in several cases retired, as we might expect of Richard Bailey's contemporaries. Sadly, one of those contributors, Ian Doyle, died in 2018.

The first section of the book presents six essays under the heading 'New Perspectives on Insular Sculpture and Art'. Claire Stancliffe reconsiders the audience, intention, and originator of the Ruthwell Cross. Rosemary Cramp discusses a number of hitherto unpublished cross heads with prominent bosses, suggesting that they are part of an eighth-to ninth-century style whose initial impetus came from Lindisfarne. Elizabeth Coatsworth discusses depictions of martyrdom in Anglo-Saxon art and literature, and Nancy Edwards crucifixion iconography in the early medieval sculpture of Wales.

Part 2 is on objects and meanings. Here we find reports on objects newly found by metal detectorists, and re-examinations of more familiar ones. Leslie Webster discusses a Mercian sword-pommel from the Beckley area, Oxfordshire; James Graham-Campbell a Scandinavian gold lozenge brooch from near Attelborough in Norfolk, and John Hines a Scandinavian rune-inscribed lead spindle-whorl from Saltfleetby in Lincolnshire, whose inscription incorporates reference to the heathen gods Oðinn and Heimdallr, together with another identity 'Þalfr'. Éamonn Ó Carragáin argues that the biblical and liturgical phrase in medio [End Page 202] duorum animalium cognosceris provides an interpretive key to the Santa Sabina crucifixion panel. Catherine Karkov discusses the unusual depiction of the Trinity at the beginning of the Harley Psalter, relating to spiritual themes relevant to the Canterbury community. Jane Hawkes examines the Cuthbert coffin, showing how Cuthbert's body itself is at the centre of the salvific program of iconography that encloses him on all sides. Helen Gittos examines the lead plaques from Bury St Edmunds as evidence for local liturgical practice.

Part 3, 'Settlements, Sites and Structures', includes papers by Caroline Patterson on the Viking burials of Cumwhitton and Carlisle; Paul Everson and David Stocker on the early sculpture from St John's, Chester; Lorna Watts on Whitby; Christopher Morris on inscribed stones from Orkney; David Parsons on a lost apsidal building at Brixworth, and Eric Cambridge on the design of Durham Cathedral. Deirdre O'Sullivan investigates modern concepts of a 'Viking World' and the realities of such a world as can been discerned from the evidence of Scandinavian settlement in Cumbria.

Part 4, 'Constructing Meanings', turns from Anglo-Saxon material culture to texts and linguistic matters. Colm O'Brien examines Bede's rhetorical and thematic strategies in constructing his account of Edwin's dream in the Historia ecclesiastica; Gale Owen-Crocker examines the Beowulf-poet's allusive technique for informing the audience of the visual appearance of the interiors of Hrothgar's halls. Ian Doyle edits and discusses a particularly interesting version of a miracle of St Hilda found in Durham University Library Cosin MS V.iv.9. Lindsay Allason-Jones and David Heslop examine the boundary clauses of an early twelfth-century charter of Bishop Ranulph Flambard of Durham, which were cited in legal dispute some six centuries later. John Frankis provides an overview of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts containing texts or parts of texts involving other vernaculars. Hermann Moisl reconsiders the puzzle of the Merovingian king referred to...


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