The Toronto Henry Daniel Project

May 7, 2015 by Communications

The Toronto Henry Daniel Project seeks to make the two principal works of the English medical writer Henry Daniel (fl. ca. 1379), the Liber Uricrisiarum and the Herbal, accessible to scholars of Middle English literature and language, historians of medicine and science, and cultural historians.  Daniel’s works are long and thorough syntheses of Latin learning in the vernacular, the first dealing with both medical diagnosis and theory and the second with botanical knowledge directed toward therapeutic uses.  They are among the earliest such treatises in English, reveal a detailed knowledge of contemporary medical and herbal learning, but remain only minimally studied and nearly invisible to scholars.

The project is rooted in Professor E. Ruth Harvey’s detailed and foundational researches into the extant manuscripts of Daniel’s works and the late classical, Arabic, and Latin medical-historical traditions on which those works are based. Her close work with the many manuscripts of the Liber Uricrisiarum and the two surviving copies of the Herbal lies at the heart of the Project, especially in her analyses of the relationships among the multiple versions of Daniel’s treatises, both of which appear to have undergone authorial revision as well as later scribal manipulation.

The principal objectives of the Project are the following:

  • to generate reading editions of the Liber Uricrisiarum and the Herbal, with highly selective textual apparatus and annotations focused on identification of the many explicit source citations in Daniel’s works, and thereby pave the way for future critical editions and in-depth studies of those works;
  • to give historians of medicine, literary and linguistic scholars, and cultural historians access to these important vernacular syntheses of learned medical and herbal knowledge in the later Middle Ages;
  • to facilitate and encourage collaboration among scholars around the world who are working on Daniel’s writings, language, and cultural contexts;
  • to provide a “hub” website that will allow Daniel scholars to find fellow-researchers, resources, and a venue for sharing information.

We welcome collaboration from other scholars working on Henry Daniel and announcements of publications related to Daniel’s writings for posting on the forthcoming project website.