I work on early medieval English literature and have published extensively on Old English poetry and prose. I am particularly interested in the compositional practices of early English writers. I have also published on the current state of Old English studies and the history of the discipline in the nineteenth century.
The Old English Poet as Reader
I am currently finishing a monograph project called The Old English Poet as Reader which calls for a new understanding of allusion as a literary strategy in longer Old English narrative poems. I argue that assumptions about the oral referentiality of Old English poetry have masked the importance of targeted intertextuality between vernacular verse compositions. Scholars have long been accustomed to thinking about Old English poets as engaged readers of Latin textual sources but have been resistant to thinking through the implications of the fact that they must necessarily also have been similarly engaged readers of vernacular verse and prose. Full consideration of these implications offers an exciting opportunity to revitalize and reconceptualize the study of early English vernacular poetry. Part of the research for this book has been published in my article 'A close fitt: reading Beowulf fitt II with the Andreas-poet’.
Alongside Hannah M. Bailey (Oxford) and Karl Kinsella (Aberdeen), I established the ‘Architectural Representation’ project in 2015. This long-term project reflects my ongoing interest in early medieval ideas of space and engagement with the built environment. The project originated with an Oxford-based interdisciplinary research network and was expanded in 2017 in a two-day, interdisciplinary international conference focusing on ‘Architectural Representation’ in the textual and material culture of the European medieval period. Continued work on this project has resulted in the publication of a special issue of the journal Leeds Studies in English and a recent edited collection Architectural Representation in Medieval Textual and Material Culture.
I lecture on early medieval English poetry and prose in the English Faculty and medieval English at the Queen’s College.
Undergraduate teaching and supervision:
Prelims Paper 1: Introduction to English Language and Literature
Prelims Paper 2: Early Medieval Literature, c. 650–1350
FHS Paper 2/Course II Paper 3: English Literature 1350–1550
FHS Course II Paper 1: Literature in English 600–1100
FHS Course II Paper 2: Medieval English and Related Literature 1066–1550
FHS Course II Paper 5: The Material Text
FHS Paper 7: Dissertations on medieval English literature
Graduate teaching and supervision:
'Cynewulf and the Cynewulf Canon'
'Approaching the End: Death, Judgement, and the End of the World’
'Reading Old English Poetry: Narrative, Genre, and Style’
‘Old English for Graduates’
I also supervise MSt and MPhil dissertations on Old English literature.