Vivien Anne Law, 1954–2002

Michael Lapidge and Peter Matthews

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 124. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, III

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263204
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734205 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Vivien Anne Law, 1954–2002

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Vivienne Law acquired a mastery of the field of late antique and early Medieval Latin grammar, her first task was to familiarise herself with the early medieval manuscripts in which grammatical texts were transmitted. This task necessitated constant travel to British and continental libraries in order to provide herself with transcriptions of grammatical texts; it also necessitated the acquisition of a huge collection of microfilms of grammatical manuscripts. Her work on these manuscripts soon revealed a vast and uncharted sea of unedited and unstudied grammatical texts, for the most part anonymous. A major component of her life's work was the attempt to chart this sea. Her earliest publications reveal a profound experience of grammatical manuscripts and a refusal simply to reiterate the opinions of earlier scholars. All these publications report new discoveries, such as previously unknown Old English glosses to the Ars grammatica of Tatwine, an early 8th-century Anglo-Saxon grammarian; or unsuspected aspects of the relationship between Anglo-Saxon and continental learning as revealed in the transmission of the grammars of Boniface and Tatwine; or the true nature of the jumbled and misunderstood grammar attributed to the early Irish grammarian Malsachanus.

Keywords: grammatical manuscripts; Medieval Latin grammar; medieval manuscripts; biography; grammatical texts

Chapter.  5006 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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