The Ormulum Project

The project was instigated in 1993, while I worked at The University of Trondheim (later renamed as The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU), Norway. The project has two major aims: The production of the text edition grew out of the need to produce a reliable machine-readable transcription of the text as a starting-point for the investigation of Ormís language. This called for a scrutiny of the manuscript to establish the text; once this part of the work was completed, most of the groundwork for a new edition had been done.

I spent the spring of 1997 in Oxford, where I was granted access to the manuscript for four weeks. A general account of my work there, and some observations on Ormís working habits which appeared in Jestiní 1997, vol. 2:21-29 can be found here.

A preliminary report on Ormís use of heore and þe33re appeared in Studies in Anglistics, ed. by G. Melchers and B. Warren, 1995:171-180. An updated version is available here.

A demo version (2000) of the planned electronic edition of the Ormulum is presented here. Information about downloading the fonts you need to view the text samples included here will be given there.

Another text extract, which can be viewed without additional fonts, will serve to illustrate the many changes and corrections that Orm carried out in his text. The extract is taken from columns 31 and 32 in the manuscript (corresponding to ll. 1030-1105 in Holtís 1878 edition). To make it easier to visualize the many changes in the text, a sequence of representations of the various stages in Ormís revision process can be found here.

Work on the text edition is expected to continue over at least the next five years; work on the investigation of Ormís language will continue in parallel, with papers on various subjects appearing at irregular intervals. Check this space for further information.

Nils-Lennart Johannesson,
Department of English,
Stockholm University,
S-106 91 Stockholm,

Communications are welcome to 

An earlier version of this site was in operation at NTNU between October 1997 and July 2000. It is now being reconstructed and updated at Stockholm University. All the items listed below and in the main menu may not be in place when you read this, but they should appear in the near future (D.V.).


For various kinds of support, I would like to express my gratitude to the following:

Dr. Bruce Barker-Benfield, Assistant Chief Librarian at the Bodleian Library, for granting me permission to study MS Junius 1 and for providing colour slides of the manuscript;

Professor Malcolm Parkes, Keble College, for stimulating discussions;

the Department of English and the Faculty of Arts, NTNU, for allowing me to work in Oxford in the spring of 1997;

the Faculty of Arts, NTNU, for a grant allowing me to employ two student assistants in 1994 as well as a grant for image processing in 1999;

Sunniva Saksvik and Lisbeth Sætherstad, for their meticulous work with scanning and proofreading in 1994;

Andreas Hilmo Teig, whose eminent editorial skills and computer competence were instrumental in getting the original version of these pages up in 1997;

Erlend Lien, for his assistance in scanning images of MS Junius 1 in 1999;

Ru Greenall, for his wizardry in recovering erased and deleted characters in images of MS Junius 1 in 1999-2000.

  [This site was last modified on 5 September 2000.] [Department of English]