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Michael Lapidge

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Michael Lapidge

Michael Lapidge (born 8 February 1942[1]) is a scholar in the field of Medieval Latin literature, particularly that composed in Anglo-Saxon England during the period 600–1100 AD; he is an emeritus Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge and Fellow of the British Academy,[2] and winner of the 2009 Sir Israel Gollancz Prize[3]

Early years

After completing his B.A. (U. of Calgary) and M.A. (U. of Alberta), and teaching for three years at the University of Calgary, he went to the University of Toronto in 1967 to begin work on a Ph.D. in the Centre for Medieval Studies. His doctoral dissertation, supervised by Brian Stock, studied the transmission of a nexus of cosmological metaphors, first articulated by Greek Stoic philosophers, to classical and late antique Latin poets, and ultimately to Medieval Latin philosophers and poets of the twelfth century. After completing course-work in Toronto, he went to Cambridge in 1969 to have better access to manuscript depositories while completing his dissertation. The Ph.D. was awarded in 1971. After a period as a Research Fellow in Cambridge supported by a Killam Senior Research Fellowship, he was appointed Lecturer in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge in 1974, thereafter progressing to be Reader in Insular Latin Literature (1988) and then, in 1991, Elrington and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon, a chair which he held until 1998. During this time he was able, as Head of Department, to increase the size of the Department and to introduce a number of significant structural changes to its teaching programme.[4] He resigned the Professorship in 1999 in order to become Notre Dame Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, a position he held until taking early retirement in 2004.


Lapidge has written or edited more than forty books and published some 180 articles, on subjects ranging from Greek cosmology and Classical Latin literature, to medieval palaeography and textual criticism, and especially the literature of Anglo-Saxon England, in both Latin and Old English. He is, for instance, an expert on the Leiden Glossary. He has devoted much of his scholarly energy to editing scholarly journals and series, having been general editor for many years of Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford Medieval Texts, Scriptores Latini Hiberniae and Henry Bradshaw Society Publications as well as C.A.L.M.A., the Compendium Auctorum Latinorum Medii Aevi and Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England (both of which he founded).


Lapidge was awarded the 2009 Sir Israel Gollancz Prize from the British Academy for his work as "a world authority on Anglo-Saxon literature". He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.) by the University of Cambridge in 1987; in 2011 he was awarded the honorary degree of D.Litt. by the University of Toronto.[5] He is a Corresponding Fellow both of the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Munich) and the Accademia dei Lincei (Rome), and is Vice-President of the International Society for the Study of the Latin Middle Ages (S.I.S.M.E.L.)[6]


  • Aldhelm: the prose works, 1979
  • Alfred the Great, 1983
  • Aldhelm: the poetic works, 1985
  • A Bibliography of Celtic Latin Literature 400–1200, 1985
  • Wulfstan of Winchester: the life of St Ethelwold, 1991
  • Anglo-Saxon Litanies of the Saints, 1991
  • Anglo-Latin Literature 900–1066, 1993
  • Biblical Commentaries from the Canterbury School of Theodore and Hadrian, 1994
  • Archbishop Theodore, 1995
  • Byrhtferth’s Enchiridion, 1995
  • Anglo-Latin Literature 600–899, 1996
  • The Cult of St Swithun, 2003
  • The Anglo-Saxon Library, 2006 ISBN 0-19-926722-7
  • Byrhtferth of Ramsey: the lives of St Oswald and St Ecgwine, 2009


  1. ^ Contemporary Authors
  2. ^ Fellows of the British Academy
  4. ^ Who's Who 2011 (London, 2011), p. 1328
  5. ^ University of Toronto: Michael Lapidge, Convocation 2011 Honorary Degree recipient Video on YouTube
  6. ^ Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino
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