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A Clerk of Oxford wins best History Blog of the Year award

Eleanor Parker’s blog A Clerk of Oxford has been named Blog of the Year during the Longman-History Today awards, which was held last week.

A Clerk of Oxford

Parker was delighted with the award, telling Medievalists.net that judges liked the variety of topics she dealt with while at the same time making it engaging and accessible to her audience. She added, “it’s great to see the wonderful world of medieval blogging getting some recognition!” 

The blog first started in 2008 while Parker was a graduate student at the University of Oxford. Since then she earned her Ph.D and is now the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Anglo-Norman England at the same university. “When I first started blogging it was mostly for my own amusement,” Eleanor adds, “to share interesting things I came across in my research as a graduate student. Gradually the readership grew, and I became more aware of the opportunities blogging offers for reaching a wide audience. The blog is still focused on what I research and teach (Old and Middle English literature), but I’m now aware of writing for readers who may not have encountered much medieval literature before. Engaging with those readers is my favourite part of blogging!”

Readers to A Clerk of Oxford will find hundreds of posts, many of which deal with Anglo-Saxon England. Parker says “my favourite recent post was about the Arkenstone in The Hobbit and the word ‘earcnanstan’ in some Old English and Old Norse poems (http://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/the-words-linger-christ-arkenstone-and.html) – writing it was a lot of fun, and made me think about both The Hobbit and the medieval poems in a different way. I’ve also been blogging a lot on twelfth-century legends about the Anglo-Saxon past, such as the story of Cnut and the waves (http://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/cnut-and-waves.html) or the legend of Harold Godwineson’s survival after Hastings (http://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/hastings-and-hermit-king.html). I’m interested in trying to understand how these legends arose and spread, and why they’re still so popular.”

As for her future plans, Parker says “I’m planning to continue my series of posts marking the 1000th anniversary of the Danish Conquest of England – things started to get really interesting in 1015-1016! I’ve also recently started posting more about Old English poetry, and that’s been popular – I’d like to build on that, and write about a wider range of Old English poems. But really I just follow where my research and my interests happen to take me – there are so many wonderful texts to explore!”

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