Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

About Hannah Benoit

Hannah Benoit is Senior Writer and Associate Director in the Communications Office.

The thrill of discovery

Humanities students unlock a secret in 10th century poem

Professor Michael Drout poses a question to team members in the Lexomics lab at Wheaton.

Professor Michael Drout poses a question to team members in the Lexomics lab at Wheaton.

With the help of computer analysis, a team of Wheaton scholars has uncovered a 1,200-year-old secret about an Old English poem.

English professor Michael Drout’s summer research students discovered in June that the author of the 10th century poem “Christ III” created the work not out of whole cloth, as previously believed, but by dividing an older poem into two pieces and then inserting new material in the middle. This discovery led the scholars to further insights about the nature of the historic text.

“Using computer programs written by Wheaton students and techniques developed at Wheaton over the past four summers, the team was able to figure out what was sitting on an anonymous author’s desk over a millennium ago,” Drout said. “We determined that the unknown author had a written source, that it was in the form of poetry rather than prose, and that the source was already old when our author adapted it.” [Read more...]

Recipes for recovery

Alumna and daughter publish benefit cookbook

Cheryl Pembridge Larkin ’73 and daughter Kate Kurelja show off Chef David Burke’s Grilled Salmon with Grilled Vegetables and Tomato Vinaigrette.

Cheryl Pembridge Larkin ’73 and daughter Kate Kurelja show off Chef David Burke’s Grilled Salmon with Grilled Vegetables and Tomato Vinaigrette.

Three days after Hurricane Sandy slammed into New Jersey’s coast in October 2012, Cheryl Pembridge Larkin ’73 and her husband, John, drove from their inland home in Basking Ridge to check on their summer cottage in Point Pleasant Beach. Power outages throughout the state had cut off most news reports, but the Larkins had heard Governor Chris Christie speaking on their car radio.

“The shore as we know it is gone,” he said.

When they reached the coast, the Larkins were relieved to find their cottage intact, but shocked at the surrounding wreckage.

“Broken, crumpled buildings stood or half stood,” Larkin recalls. “Some were washed away. Sand dunes had been re-created in the streets. Wires were down. Garbage and debris were scattered everywhere. The boardwalk was gone.”

Larkin asked herself, “What do you do to help?”

[Read more...]