Research Interests

I research mainly in two related areas: medieval literature (primarily Old Norse-Icelandic and Old English, but also medieval Latin and Middle English) and modern medievalism. I have particular interests in:

  • Icelandic sagas
  • hagiography
  • theoretical approaches to medieval literature (Bakhtin, gender, sexuality, psychoanalytic theory, ecocriticism, temporalities)
  • Victorian and twentieth-century medievalism

Most of my published work relates to the following areas (for more detail click on Publications ):

Medieval Hagiography and Historical Writing

In this area I have focused especially on Lives of Scandinavian royal saints, the Icelandic Kings’ Sagas, and related medieval Latin historical and hagiographic texts. Besides several articles, my major publications are a monograph (Holy Vikings: Saints’ Lives in the Icelandic Kings’ Sagas (2007)) and an edition of Devra Kunin's translations of Historia Norwegie and Passio Olavi (2001). I am also interested in Anglo-Saxon hagiography and have published an essay on Ælfric’s Life of St Edmund as well as a short piece on Old English verse saints' lives.

Icelandic Sagas

I am currently writing a book on the Sagas of Icelanders/Family Sagas and am also developing an interest in ecocritical approaches to Old Norse literature. Hitherto, my research on Icelandic sagas has focused mainly on the Kings' Sagas (see above) and the legendary sagas (fornaldarsögur), though I have also published on the bishops' sagas. My work on the legendary sagas began with an article on the sexual ideology of Hrólfs saga kraka and continued with an essay on Yngvars saga víðförla, a text with affinities to both the Kings’ Saga and saint’s life genres. 

Medieval Masculinities

I have published a number of theoretically informed studies of gender and sexuality in Icelandic sagas and contributed a shorter piece on ‘Men in Anglo-Saxon England’ to a CD-ROM on The English Parish Church Through the Centuries (2010).

Modern Medievalism

The reception and influence of medieval literature in the modern period, especially the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, is an important strand in my research. My essay on reworkings of the life of St Magnús by George Mackay Brown and Peter Maxwell Davies appeared in a book I edited with David Clark of the University of Leicester: Old Norse Made New: Essays on the Post-Medieval Reception of Old Norse Literature and Culture (Viking Society for Northern Research, 2007). I have also published on the revival of alliterative metre by W. H. Auden, C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien and written a brief introduction to a reprint of the translation of The Tale of Hogni and Hedinn by William Morris and Eiríkr Magnússon. My continuing work on Tolkien’s medievalism has included six entries in The J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment, ed. Michael D. C. Drout (Routledge, 2006), an essay on the use of verse in The Lord of the Rings published in Tolkien Studies (2008), and a piece on Tolkien, David Jones, and the god Nodens for the Lord of the Rings Plaza Scholars Forum online. The University of Wales Press published my book Tolkien and Wales: Language, Literature and Identity in 2011.

For information on forthcoming publications and my current research, click here.