Dr Mark Atherton

My present research is on the ‘making of England’ in the tenth century: literature and politics and questions of national and cultural identity, the history of Old English and Anglo-Latin literature. This is the subject of The Making of England: A New History of the Anglo-Saxon World (London: I.B. Tauris). I am also working on a new book entitled The Battle of Maldon: War and Peace in Anglo-Saxon England, looking at the poem and other accounts of the battle, contemporary literature and the people and places that fill the background to this classic work.

A completely revised edition of Teach Yourself Old English (Anglo-Saxon) is planned for early 2018, with a new appendix of set texts including the poems The Wanderer, The Dream of the Rood and extracts from Beowulf. This book has already appealed to a wide readership: it is aimed at learners without other experience of learning a language; it presents Old English passages in the context of their time, teaching vocabulary and grammar as it arises in the texts. The connections with modern English are made explicit; an audio recording of the passages on CD eases the learning process.

My book There and Back Again: J.R.R.Tolkien and the Origins of The Hobbit (London: I.B. Tauris, 2012/2014) covers the literary and linguistic interests of J.R.R. Tolkien and their influence on his fictional writings; I have also contributed a chapter ‘Tolkien and Old English’ to A Tolkien Companion ed. Stuart Lee. Other published articles have covered the following topics: Henry Sweet’s approaches to language description, the influence of his Anglo-Saxon Reader on twentieth-century poets such as Pound, anthropology and philology in late nineteenth century, the teaching of modern languages in Victorian England.

Previous publications include Hildegard of Bingen: Selected Writings (London: Penguin, 2001), Celts and Christians: New Approaches to the Religious Traditions of Britain and Ireland (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2002), and Teach Yourself Old English (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2006, 2nd edition 2010).

Old English; Middle English; History; Use and Theory of the English Language.


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