These volumes have been long needed. They contain one of the major works of the single most prolific Old English author, Ælfric of Eynsham, yet have not been edited in more than a century. They fit with Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library’s mission of making new, carefully edited and beautifully presented editions and translations of medieval texts available to specialists and general readers alike. Since 2010, this series has established itself as the place to publish accessible translations with critical editions of Old English literature.
These volumes are designed to be of use and interest to a wide range of readers, and they succeed. First and foremost, they provide a new critical edition of these important texts. They have also contextualized the texts in a way that makes them intelligible to all readers, but also fits them into current Old English scholarship. The clear translations make these texts accessible to non-Old English scholars, and will, one hopes, lead to Ælfric’s collection being considered in the wider world of medieval hagiography. I find the translations to be clear and idiomatic, as well as wonderfully literal, so that it is easy to move from the translation to the Old English and quickly find any particular phrase that is being translated. Mary Clayton and Juliet Mullins have struck an excellent balance of making the translation both readable and useful. These volumes achieve much in three compact, beautifully constructed books. They were worth the wait.