Charlene Eska

photo of Scholar of the Week Charlene EskaThe Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation recognizes Charlene Eska, an associate professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, for bringing medieval texts to life.

In particular, she studies medieval legal texts of the British Isles, Old Irish language and literature, manuscripts, historical and comparative linguistics, and representations of law in literature.

The research dovetails with her teaching interests, which additionally include Old Irish and Middle Welsh language and literature; Arthurian literature; medieval law, culture, and social structure; paleography; medieval literature of the British Isles and medieval European literature; history and structure of the English language; and Old and Middle English language and literature.

She received a Certificate of Teaching Excellence Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and is an author of numerous articles in refereed journals, book chapters, reviews, and translations.

In addition, her book, “Cáin Lánamna, An Old Irish Tract on Marriage and Divorce Law,” has been described as arguably the most important source of information concerning women and the household economy in early Ireland. The phrase “cáin lánamna” means “the law of couples.”

The work describes all the recognized marriages and unions, both legal and illegal, and provides information regarding the allocation of property in the event of divorce. Her book delivered, for the first time, an English translation of the entire text that dates to about the year 700, and included an introduction to early Irish society, linguistic and legal notes, and a glossary to the tract.

Eska earned doctoral and master’s degrees in Celtic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University, received an M.St. in Celtic Studies from the University of Oxford, and an A.L.B. Cum Laude in Celtic Languages and Literatures from Harvard Extension School.


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The goals of the Scholar of the Week are to recognize individuals while also telling people about research and scholarly activities at the university.

Recognition is based on research and/or scholarship.

Please nominate individuals — not teams, groups, or more than one person.

Please provide a sentence describing the research, scholarship, or creative work in non-technical, generally accessible language. A second sentence with an example or application is helpful.

  • Send nominations to: Srinath Ekkad, Associate Vice President for Research Programs, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.