Dr Luisa Ostacchini

I work primarily on Old English hagiography, with a particular interest in sense of place and in the translation and synthesis of Latin sources into the vernacular.

My research interests include Old English and Medieval Latin literature, hagiography, homiletic literature, representations of the world in medieval English literature, medieval travel, the Global Middle Ages, medieval translation, and the English Benedictine Reform.


Ælfric of Eynsham's Lives of Saints

My doctoral thesis, currently in preparation as a monograph, examined the representation of Europa in Ælfric of Eynsham’s (c. 955-1010) Lives of Saints, one of the most remarkable and stylistically accomplished prose texts of the Early Medieval period. This extensive collection of hagiography, dating from the late tenth-century, focuses predominantly on European saints despite seeking to educate a vernacular English audience. Through comparison of the Lives to their Latin sources and to each other, this thesis examined the ways in which these European saints and their native lands were portrayed for English audiences, and considered the ways in which Europa constituted a vital part of Ælfric’s didactic praxis concerning unity and the global church. 

I have published on Ælfric's representation of India and Rome, and on his use of sources in the Lives of Saints.


The Old English Martyrology

My current work, The World of the 'Old English Martyrology', examines the portrayal of the global world in one of the most extensive examples of vernacular encyclopedic writing in the entirety of the European Middle Ages. This project sheds new light on Medieval English engagement with the non-European world, and further illuminates translation practice, rationale and literary art behind one of the most important and most chronically understudied works of European Medieval hagiography. 


I teach Medieval English at Exeter College and St John's College, and Medieval Latin in the English Faculty. I have lectured on Ælfric's Lives of Saints, Old English Hagiography more generally, and Gender in Old English Literature.

Undergraduate teaching:

Prelims Paper 1A (Introduction to English Language)

Prelims Paper 2 (Early Medieval Literature, c. 650-1350)

FHS Paper 2 (English Literature 1350-1550)

Course II FHS Paper 1 (Literature in English 600-1100)


Postgraduate teaching:

Medieval Latin for Beginners (MSt / DPhil)



I am a mentor for MSt/ MPhil/ DPhil students in the English Faculty and MSt students on the Humanities interdisciplinary Medieval MSt, and am the Communications Officer for Oxford Medieval Studies