End of Term and Adventures in Archival Work

This is the last week of instruction for the winter term (technically next week is finals week, but who is counting?), so it is an extra busy time for me. In addition to marking papers and invigilating (as well as marking) the final exam for the course I'm TAing this term, I'm sitting my PhD oral exams on Tuesday. Needless to say, I'll be glad when this is all over—especially because I leave for the UK on the fourteenth. 

This will be my first trip back to the UK since I left in July 2013 after completing my MPhil. In part, this trip is a birthday gift to myself (I'll be 38!) and a treat for passing my exams, but it's also a working trip. During my stay in Cambridge, I'll be visiting the University Library (UL) to begin familiarizing myself with the manuscript known as Ff.I.27.

This manuscript, dated to the latter half of the twelfth century, likely had its origins at Durham Great Priory and appears to have been given as a gift to seventh Norman bishop of Durham, Hugh de Puiset, by the monks of the cathedral chapter. What makes it particularly interesting (to me, at least!) is the fact that the X text of Gildas' De excidio is preserved in this manuscript. This witness to the De excidio is unusual because it has been interpolated with extracts from Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. I'm curious why this Bedan material has been introduced into this witness of the De excidio and this trip will mark the start of my research into this. Since it's impossible for me to do all the work that I need to do in a short, week-long trip, I've applied for an international research and study fellowship that will give me the chance to spend a term in Cambridge next year working with this manuscript and some closely related materials. 

If everything goes well, this trip to the archives next week will be beginning of my doctoral dissertation research!