icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Susan's Blog

A Julian of Norwich Pilgrimage or My Days as an Industrial Spy

A Julian of Norwich pilgrimage may not seem to have much to do with suspicions that I was an industrial spy (spoiler alert: I’m not!). My innocent journey to trace Julian’s life took on comic dimensions when I was a graduate student many years ago. Read more about it on my blog, amedievalwomanscompanion.com by clicking on the link below the photo.  Read More 
Be the first to comment

Review of "A Medieval Woman's Companion: Women's Lives in the European Middle Ages"

Story Circle’s Susan Wittig Albert reviewed A Medieval Woman’s Companion. She writes, “A Medieval Woman’s Companion is—I’m not exaggerating here—the best introduction I know of to the widely-varied lives of medieval women….Borrowing from the Irish poet Eavan Boland, [Morrison] reminds us that the past needs us: “That very past in poetry which simplified us as women and excluded us as poets now needs us to change it.”

And that, for Morrison, is the central point of all our learning and study and thought. As a teacher, she knows that “we need to understand the historical past of women to change the historical future of women … As women historians and chroniclers of women’s lives and writings, we … have our work cut out for us.”

As readers, too, we have our work cut out for us. And Morrison’s Companion is exactly the kind of guide we need for the journey.”

~ Susan Wittig Albert, Story Circle Book Reviews
 Read More 
Be the first to comment

New Website for "A Medieval Woman's Companion"

I hope you will come visit my new blog and website for A Medieval Woman's Companion: Women's Lives in the European Middle Ages. I will be blogging about medieval girls, teenagers, and women, their lives and cultures, and make connections to women today.
Be the first to comment

Waste Studies and Medieval Liminality: Interview

Here is a video in which my former student, now a Master's student at Western Michigan University, interviews me about my scholarly research and fiction writing.
Be the first to comment

The Mother of Anglo-Saxon Studies

Please read my blogpost about Elizabeth Elstob, an 18th-century woman whose Anglo-Saxon grammar book inspired Thomas Jefferson. She fought for her education at a time when it was difficult for women to do so. She asks, "If Women may be said to have Souls, and if good Learning be one of the Soul’s  Read More 
Be the first to comment

New Review of "Grendel's Mother: The Saga of the Wyrd-Wife"

"Morrison gives us a fascinating account of love, family, honour, sorrow, war, tragedy, and of Gods old and new, in this beautifully written reimagining of Beowulf....One of the features of the book I enjoyed most was Morrison’s writing style. She skilfully combines Old English alliterative verse and modern English throughout the book to give the story an Anglo Saxon flavour and a haunting, eloquent feel to the narrative. [I]t adds depth, authenticity and character to the novel. Morrison is an Anglo-Saxonist, and professor of English literature; her talent for weaving modern language and Old English seamlessly shone through on every page. It never felt out of place.... Whether you’re a scholar of Old English, new to the subject, or just interested in early medieval historical fiction, Grendel’s Mother is a must-read book to add to any medieval reading list.

~Sandra Alvarez Medievalists.net Read More 
Be the first to comment

Twisting the Existing

I am so grateful to Graham Oliver's recent post for the Front Porch Journal about Grendel's Mother. "I’m knee deep in a new book by a faculty member here at Texas State—Susan Morrison’s Grendel’s Mother—and it made me think about how much I love stories that take existing, already well-known characters or plots and do something new with them. Morrison’s book is an answer to John Gardner’s Grendel, which retold the story of Beowulf from the monster’s perspective. Morrison’s shifts the point of view yet again, giving a name to Grendel’s unnamed mother, telling her story. She wanted to put a feminist spin on a time and a tale that largely ignored women.... Several of these works seek to make a statement about the work they’re adapting. Morrison, Atwood, and Carter all realign stories that omit or marginalize the female characters and instead bring the women into focus. About The Penelopiad, Atwood has stated that, “I wouldn’t even call it feminist. Every time you write something from the point of view of a woman, people say that it’s feminist.” And I agree, these are not feminist works, but instead a group of works that bring balance to an uneven tradition."

Graham Oliver, "Twisting the Existing", in Front Porch Journal

I've been thinking of creating a course consisting of a literary work and then its subsequent versions--like Hamlet and then Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Graham has given lots of ideas for pairing works. Now we call just revisionist texts "fan fiction," often in a dismissive way. But why dismiss something that clearly chimes with the viewer or reader? Whether it's Shakespeare, Beowulf, Twilight or Harry Potter, the recipient's passion suggests a deeply resonant response to something--and that means we need to pay attention.  Read More 
Be the first to comment