Dr Daniel Thomas

My research concentrates on the literature, history and culture of Anglo-Saxon England. My primary interest is in the Anglo-Saxon sense of place, space and landscape, specifically as it is reflected and constructed in the literature of this period. However, I am also deeply interested in all aspects of the composition and poetics of Old English verse. These interests were both reflected in my recent D.Phil thesis, in which I argue that an awareness of the creative potential of spatial representation within a conventional literary tradition constitutes a significant element of Old English poetic technique.

The main focus of my current research is a project provisionally entitled ‘The Anglo-Saxon Prison: Representation and Reality’. This project explores the various ways in which incarceration and the prison space are conceptualized and presented in Anglo-Saxon texts. At the heart of the project is a series of questions regarding the cultural valence(s) of the prison in the literature of Anglo-Saxon England, the relationship between reality and representation in depictions of incarceration, and the influence of Christian ideologies on the theorization of the prison space in the literature of this period. Shorter term projects involve article-length studies focusing on place, landscape and territory in The Battle of Maldon, scenes of invasion in Beowulf, and a re-evaluation of the sources and structure of Guthlac A.

Old English, Middle English, Course II, history of the language.