Department of English Language and Literature and the College
Benjamin Saltzman studies the literature and culture of Anglo-Saxon England, focusing on texts written in Old English and Anglo-Latin roughly between the seventh and eleventh centuries. His work addresses the ways that certain social phenomena (such as secrecy, friendship, and the psychology of forgetting) emerge in religious practices and in the materiality of texts, which he explores across a wide range of sources—from secular law codes to church architecture, from manuscript illuminations to the smallest scribal corrections. He is currently finishing a book entitled “Bonds of Secrecy: The Cultural and Literary Mechanics of Concealment in Early Medieval England,” which investigates the tensions between the medieval Christian belief in divine omniscience and the social experience of secrecy.
He also researches 19th and 20th century medievalism, including the reception of medieval literature and the disciplinary history of medieval studies and Anglo-Saxon studies. He has published on these topics in Victorian Poetry and postmedieval.
Saltzman was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the 2017–18 academic year. He holds PhD degrees in English and medieval studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Most recently, he was a Weisman Postdoctoral Instructor in medieval British literature at the California Institute of Technology.