Dr Orietta Da Rold, St John's



Biographical Information

I am a University Lecturer, Fellow at St John’s College and a member of the Center for Material Texts. Before coming to Cambridge, I was at Leicester and before that I covered research positions at Oxford, Birmingham and Leeds. I am an Affiliate of Stanford Text Technologies.

Research Interests

My research interests are in medieval literature and texts c. 1100-1500, Chaucer and the digital humanities. In particular, I work on the social and cultural context of the circulation and transmission of medieval texts and books, and research the codicology and palaeography of medieval manuscripts. I have published articles and books on the examination of Old and Middle English literary traditions from a material perspective, and on the use of electronic media in the humanities. I’m currently working on a major book project on the role of paper in medieval literary history and book production in England up to the introduction of print, the book is provisionally entitled From Pulp to Fictions: Paper in Late Medieval English Book Culture. The initial stages of this project, which started many years ago, were funded by 'The Bibliographical Society' with a Falconer Madan Award, which led to a visiting scholarship at Wolfson College, Oxford.  The work on this project has inspired the 'Mapping Paper in Medieval England Project', funded by a Cambridge CHRG Grant. The book project is currently the focus of a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship.

Several of my current and past projects are collaborations. I am co-editing (with Elaine Treharne, Stanford) the Cambridge Companion to Medieval British Manuscripts, which will offer fundamental advice on a know-how basis, showing its readers not just the importance of working with a Medieval manuscript, but also how to approach it from its different multifaceted angles. Writing Europe 500-1450: Texts and Contexts has just appeared as a special issue in Essays and Studies (with Philip Shaw, Leicester, and Aidan Conti, Bergen). This edited volume brings together papers on a range of topics in medieval manuscript studies and textual criticism, seeking to explore these issues from a pan-European perspective. Multilingualism and pan-European debates on medieval books are also research interests of mine which stem from two major collaborative efforts: the Writing Britain conference series (see below)  and the AHRC Project, 'The Production and Use of English Manuscripts:1060 to 1220'. 

Most of my projects also have an important digital humanities component. I worry about how digital technologies and models can be integrated with the study of medieval manuscript culture both for teaching and research. In the Manuscripts Online Project (JISC, e-content Capital Programme), co-directed with Michael Pidd (HRI, Sheffield), the team looked at ways in which a very large and diversed body of online primary data, relating to written and early printed culture in Britain during the period 1000 to 1500, could be integrated and searched from one portal. With colleagues at the University Library and at Stanford University, I have taught the very successful Digging Deeper I: Making Manuscripts and Digging Deeper II: The Form and Function of Manuscripts. Both courses develop on-line material for teaching Western Manuscripts Studies, with a deep into the non-Western tradition too. The Manuscripts Lab builds on this experience and brings together students and colleagues to explore the powerful connection between teaching and research in Manuscript Studies.

I regularly give papers at national and international events as well as organise international conferences, workshops and postgraduate colloquia. I am an advocate for postgraduate and early career training, and I am involved with the Quadrivium Project. Recently, I've convened the 2016 iteration of the Writing Britain: 500-1500 conference series entitled 'Textual and Related Studies: A symposium to mark the retirement of Richard Beadle' with Daniel Wakelin (University of Oxford). 

I tweet on Digital Humanities, Manuscripts in Byte Size, Medieval Texts and more: @orietta_darold. Views my own.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

I have supervised a number of postgraduate projects and PhD theses in medieval manuscript studies, medieval languages and textual cultures. I teach on the MPhil in Medieval and Renaissance Literature.

I would welcome research proposals on:

Medieval literature in context, including Chaucer;
Multilingualism in medieval manuscripts;
Authorship, reading-habits and book production (1100-1500);
Manuscript studies (1100-1500);
Medieval material textual cultures, including focused codicological, palaeographical and linguistic studies;
Medieval studies and digital humanities;
Editing and textual studies

Selected Publications

 Books and Editions:

Writing Europe 500-1450: Texts and Contexts, ed. with Philip Shaw and Aidan Conti, special issue for Essays and Studies (2015), ISBN: 978-1-84384-415-0.

The Multitext Edition: Eight Manuscripts of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, The Norman Blake Editions of The Canterbury Tales, ed. with Simon Horobin, Michael Pidd, Estelle Stubbs and Claire Thomson with Linda Cross (HRI online), http://www.chaucermss.org/multitext, ISBN: 978-0-9571022-1-7.

The Dd Manuscript: A Digital Edition of Cambridge University Library, MS Dd.4.24 of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, ed., The Norman Blake Editions of The Canterbury Tales (HRI online, 2013), ISBN: 978-0-9571022-0-0, http://www.chaucermss.org/dd

New Medieval Literature, guest ed. with Mary Swan and Elaine Treharne, 13 (2012 for 2011). ISBN 978-2-503-53653-8.

E-medieval: Teaching, Research, and the Net, ed. with Elaine Treharne, Special issue, Literature Compass (2012), http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/lico.2012.9.issue-12/issuetoc.

English Manuscripts before 1400, ed. with A.G.S. Edwards, English Manuscripts Studies: 1100-1700 (British Library Publishing, 2012), ISBN 9780712358835.

The Production and Use of English Manuscripts, ed. with  Takako Kato, Mary Swan and Elaine Treharne (eds.) (Leicester, School of English University of Leicester, 2010), ISBN 095323195x, version 1.0 (http://www.le.ac.uk/ee/em1060to1220/)

Textual Culture, Cultural Texts, 1000-2010, ed. with Elaine Treharne, special issue of Essays and Studies (Boydell & Brewer, 2010) ISBN: 9781843842392.

Electronic Resources

Manuscripts Online, http://www.manuscriptsonline.org/

Articles and Essays

‘Codicology’, The Encyclopaedia of Medieval British Literature, ed. Sian Echard and Robert Rouse (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017), pp. 531-38.

‘Preface’ with Aidan Conti and Philip Shaw, Essays and Studies (2015), pp. xiii-xv.

‘Medieval Manuscript Studies: an European Perspective’ with Marilena Maniaci, Essays and Studies (2015), pp. 1-24.

‘Codicology, Localization and Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Laud. Misc. 108’ in The Makers and Users of Medieval Books, edited by Derek Pearsall and Carol Meale (Boydell & Brewer, 2014), pp. 48-59. 

Digital Humanities, Libraries and Federated Searching: The Manuscripts Online Project’, Digitale Rekonstruktionen mittelalterlicher Bibliotheken (Reichert, 2014), pp. 71-79.

'New Challenges to the Editing of Chaucer’, in Editing Medieval Texts from Britain in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Anne Hudson and Vincent Gillespie (Brepols, 2013), pp. 481-92.

‘Making the Book: Cambridge, University Library Ii.1.33’, New Medieval Literature 13 (2012 for 2011), pp. 273-88.

‘Linguistic Contiguities: English Manuscripts 1060 to 1220’, with Mary Swan, in Conceptualizing Multilingualism, edited by Elizabeth Tyler (Brepols, 2012), pp. 255-70.

‘Materials’ in The Production of Books in England c.1350–c.1530, edited by Alexandra Gillespie and Daniel Wakelin (CUP, 2011), pp. 12-33.

'Editing Chaucer after Manly and Rickert', Studies in the Age of Chaucer, 32 (2010), 375-82.

Authored several manuscript descriptions, in The Production and Use of English Manuscripts, Orietta Da Rold, Takako Kato, Mary Swan and Elaine Treharne (eds.) (Leicester, School of English University of Leicester, 2010), ISBN 095323195x, version 1.0 (http://www.le.ac.uk/ee/em1060to1220/)

'Manuscript Production before Chaucer: Some Preliminary Observations' in Textual Culture, Cultural Texts, 1000-2010, edited by Orietta Da Rold and Elaine Treharne,special issue of Essays and Studies (Boydell & Brewer, 2010), pp. 43-58.

'Textual Copying and Transmission' in Oxford Handbook of Medieval English Literature, edited by Greg Walker and Elaine Treharne (OUP, 2010), pp. 33-56.

‘The Linguistic Stratification in the Cambridge University Library Dd Copy of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales’, with Jacob Thaisen, Neuphilologische Mitteillungen, 110 (2009), 283-297.

‘Fingerprinting Paper in West Midlands Medieval Manuscripts’ in Essays in Manuscript Geography: Vernacular Manuscripts of the English West Midlands from the Conquest to the Sixteenth Century, ed. W. Scase (Brepols, 2007), pp. 257-71.

‘The Significance of Scribal Corrections in Cambridge University Library, MS Dd.4.24’, The Chaucer Review, 41.4 (2007), 393-436.

Authored and contributed to several manuscript descriptions, Manuscripts of the West Midlands: A Catalogue of Vernacular Manuscript Books of the English West Midlands, c. 1300 - c. 1475, with Rebecca Farnham and Wendy Scase (Birmingham: University of Birmingham, 2006), <http://www.hrionline.ac.uk/mwm/>

‘Re-sourcing the Production and Use of English Manuscripts 1060 to 1220’, Literature Compass, 3.4 (2006), 750-66.

‘The Quiring System in Cambridge, University Library MS. Dd.4.24.’, The Library, 7th series, 4 (2003), 10-24.

Blogs and media

Paper As Commodity In Medieval Magical And Medical Practices’, Recipes Project, 6 August 2016 https://recipes.hypotheses.org/8358

‘Cambridge University maps paper use in medieval England’, BBC, 19 March 2016 < http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-35834249>

‘From Pulp to Fiction: our love affair with paper’, University of Cambridge Press released from the Horizon article, 17 March 2016 < http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/features/from-pulp-to-fiction-our-love-affair-with-paper>

‘History of Technology’, Cambridge TV, http://www.cambridge-tv.co.uk/dr-orietta-da-rold-history-of-technology/

‘WEST NORFOLK: Red Register is exceptional says archives expert’, Lynn News, 25 March 2013, http://www.lynnnews.co.uk/news/local/latest-local-news/west-norfolk-red-register-is-exceptional-says-archives-expert-1-4929778#ixzz46M06wm2H