Emily Thornbury

Associate Professor of English

Emily Thornbury is a scholar of Old English and Anglo-Latin literature, with an interest in early theories of aesthetics. Her first book, Becoming a Poet in Anglo-Saxon England, explored how and why people set about composing verse in England prior to the Norman Conquest. Whether in English or Latin, the Anglo-Saxons’ poetry was enmeshed in the social circumstances in which it was composed, which reveals the ways that communities—or their absence—continually shaped poets’ ideas of form and their expectations for what their art could achieve. Currently, Thornbury is working on a book called The Virtue of Ornament, which traces the nonclassical, largely untheorized aesthetic principles of Anglo-Saxon art and literature through a series of productive encounters with Classical forms. She joins Yale from the University of California at Berkeley