Elaine Treharne

Elaine Treharne

Elaine Treharne

  • Roberta Bowman Denning Professor of Humanities
  • Robert K. Packard University Fellow in Undergraduate Education
  • Professor of English
  • Professor, by courtesy, of German Studies
  • Director of Stanford Text Technologies
  • Affiliated faculty at The Europe Center

margaret jacks hall

450 Jane Stanford Way



(650) 723-4609 (voice)


My main research interests are in Early British manuscripts, archival studies and literary history. I have published widely in these areas. Text Technologies: A History came out with Stanford University Press in 2019 (co-authored with Claude Willan) and I’ll shortly publish The Phenomenal Book: Perceptions of Medieval Manuscripts; while The Cambridge Companion to Medieval British Manuscripts (co-edited with Orietta Da Rold) will appear in 2020. This research also extends to a more modern period of the Medieval, and to the work of artists, including William Morris, Edward Johnston, Philip Lee Warner, Eric Gill, and David Jones, which will eventually result in The Aesthetic Book: Arts and Crafts to Modernism. New projects include two books—one on Pilgrimage (with Greg Walker) and Deceptive Manuscripts (with Andrew Prescott). 

I am the Director of Stanford Text Technologies (https://texttechnologies.stanford.edu), which has multiple projects underway, including 'CyberText Technologies,' awarded funding by Stanford's Hewlett Foundation Cyber Initiative. In this work, our team is developing models for predicting the future of information technologies, based on the discernible patterns and cyclical trends inherent in all text technologies from thousands of years ago to the present day. Text Technologies' many other initiatives include an intensive annual Collegium, which has resulted in a succession of edited collections. I am the Principal Investigator of the NEH-Funded portion of an inter-institutional grant: 'Global Currents: Cultures of Literary Networks, 1050-1900' (https://globalcurrents.stanford.edu/). Formerly, I was Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded research project and co-authored ebook, The Production and Use of English Manuscripts, 1060 to 1220 (Leicester, 2010, http://www.le.ac.uk/ee/em1060to1220/). My publications include A Very Short Introduction to Medieval Literature (OUP, 2015); Living Through Conquest: The Politics of Early English, 1020 to 1220(OUP, 2012); and Old and Middle English, c. 890-1490: An Anthology (Wiley-Blackwell), which is now moving into a new fourth edition. Among other work, I edited The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literaturein English (OUP, 2010) with Greg Walker, and together with Walker, I'm the General Editor of the OUP series, Oxford Textual Perspectives; the General Editor of Stanford University Press's Text Technologies Series; and a member of the editorial team for Digital Philology.

Professionally, I am a keen advocate and critic of the use of digital technologies in the classroom and in research; and I am concerned about the ways in which we describe and display manuscripts, and employ palaeographical and codicological tools online. I am a qualified archivist (University of Liverpool, MArAd) and am developing archival courses and methodological scholarship, together with colleagues and graduates at Stanford. Also with colleagues at Stanford and at Cambridge, we launched the online courses, 'Digging Deeper', with two parts: 'Making Manuscripts' and 'Interpreting Manuscripts’, many videos from which are now available on YouTube. I blog and tweet regularly, and my most read publication is 'Beowulf in 100 Tweets' (#Beow100). I have been the Summers Lecturer at Toledo University; the Medieval Academy of America's Plenary Speaker at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds; Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa; an American Philosophical Society Franklin Fellow; and a Princeton Procter Fellow. I'm a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries; a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society; an Honorary Fellow of the English Assocation (and that Association's former Chair and President); and in 2020 I was deeply honored to become a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, which is my home country.

Treharne's research was featured in The Europe Center November 2017 Newsletter.



November 2021

Perceptions of Medieval Manuscripts

cover link Perceptions of Medieval Manuscripts
July 2020

Medieval Manuscripts in the Digital Age

cover link Medieval Manuscripts in the Digital Age
February 2020

Text Technologies: A History

cover link Text Technologies: A History