Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, English and Literary Arts

First Advisor

Donna Beth Ellard

Second Advisor

Ryan D. Perry

Third Advisor

Eleanor McNees


English, Latin, Medieval, Metaphor, Pedagogy, Translation


This dissertation examines three crucial texts written and translated from Latin into Old English between 800CE and 1010CE in medieval England by King Alfred, Bishop Æthelwold, and Abbot Ælfric. These texts are crafted to further political and educational power, reform, and change. It argues that the metaphors wielded within these pedagogical texts were essential to the cultivation of authority for kings and magisters, and the propagation of English as a written language. Utilizing the framework of conceptual metaphor with attention to the historicity surrounding each text, I examine the definitions of metaphor and of translation to argue that each text crafts a conceptual metaphor that is then used to enhance the influence of the author. In his preface to the translation of Pope Gregory’s Pastoral Care, Alfred in Wessex establishes the metaphor of translation as hunting. Æthelwold in Winchester translates St. Benedict’s Regula Sancti Benedicti into English for the benefit of his Benedictine monasticism, and utilizes the metaphor of leader as the good shepherd in order to claim the king’s secular authority for the Church. Finally, Abbot Ælfric of Eynsham translates his Grammar based on Donatus’s and Priscian’s Grammars, but weaves into it a metaphor of students as tended plants under an attentive gardener/magiser.

Each of the metaphors in this dissertation works to grant their authors literary authority in the newly crafted landscape of English literary textual culture, pulling from established authority and applying it to a new sphere. These metaphors are drawn from popular culture, from Biblical metaphors, or from Biblical parables, all with their own inherent authority. The metaphors depicted here attempt to create power from words: power to change, create, and preserve.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Abigayil M. Wernsman


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

251 pgs


Medieval literature, Pedagogy

Available for download on Sunday, July 21, 2024