I read my PhD at Manchester University and was lecturer in Medieval English and History of the Language at Brasenose College, Oxford University.
Prognostication, Magic, Science in Medieval England
Reception of Greek and Roman Mythology in Anglo-Saxon England
Milton and seventeeth-century Italian tragedies on the Fall
I'm mainly interested in prognostications in Old and Middle English. Part of my work focused on a textual and cultural analysis of two groups of prognostic texts, one concerning the interpretation of the sun and wind during the twelve nights of Christmas, and the other the Revelatio Esdrae, a type of divination based on astronomical calculations. Apart from offering a new critical edition both of these texts and of Latin and Anglo-Norman versions, I focused on the transmission history of the Old English texts and their role in Anglo-Saxon monastic society, arguing the case for their monastic (rather than pagan) origin.
I'm currently completing on a monograph on "The Signs of the Weather in Anglo-Saxon England" (for which I was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2012), the first study that explores Anglo-Saxon knowledge of and attitudes to natural phenomena in the literature of the 10th-12th centuries, ranging from historiography to prognostications, hagiography, charms and poetry. It argues that astro-meteorological phenomena acquired an importance based on previously undeveloped scientific awareness in the minds of late Anglo-Saxon learned communities, and that such knowledge was assimilated into historical sources such as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and other monastic products. Increasing attention to the weather, particularly winds and thunder, seems to have been occasioned by a strong interest in natural science and by the influx of computistical materials. These include Easter tables, texts and diagrams on the direction/names of winds and weather prognostics, which reached England from Fleury during the Benedictine Reform (c. 990s). This study claims that celestial phenomena also acquired a prognosticatory dimension and were considered signs, portending momentous events in the world of men. It makes the case that prognostication and scientific thinking were not in opposition to each other. On the contrary, knowledge of a meteorological phenomenon enhanced its prognosticatory force.
Recently I've developed an interest in the reception of Greek and Roman Mythology (particularly Ovid's Metamorphoses) in Anglo-Saxon England, the result of which is ‘The Myth of Scylla in Aldhelm’s Aenigmata’ in The Anglo Saxons. The World through their Eyes, ed. G. Owen-Crocker and B. Schneider (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2014).
Furthermore, I am working on the first English translation of a 17th-century Italian drama on the fall, L’Adamo caduto by Serafino della Salandra.
I teach Old English Language and Literature, Paleaography and Historical Linguistics.
I have been the Secretary of TOEBI (Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland) since 2012. http://www.toebi.org.uk/
I was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to complete a monograph on the Signs of the Weather in Anglo-Saxon England.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Special issue
Activity: Public engagement and outreach › Media article or participation
Activity: Awards › Appointment
Activity: External academic engagement › Contribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups
Contribution to conference papers, events and activities