Mind, Body, Soul, and Self in the Alfredian Translations


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines the development of the self in the Old English translations of Gregory the Great’s “Dialogues and Pastoral Rule,” Boethius’s “Consolation of Philosophy,” and Augustine’s “Soliloquies,” all traditionally associated with the rule of Alfred of Wessex. While not positing an equivalent to modern or postmodern understandings of selfhood, these translations conceptualize a self that is embodied and (to an extent) private. Further, they use metaphors involving the body and its location in space to articulate both a distinctively “Alfredian” epistemology and what we might today call a self or an individual.