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Prof Richard North
Tel: 020 7679 3122
Prof Richard North profile picture
  • Professor of English Language and Literature
  • Dept of English Lang & Literature
  • Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Born and educated in Oxford. Went to Christ Church there for my English BA, thereafter to Trinity College, Cambridge for my Anglo-Saxonist PhD. Postdoc in Rijksuniversiteit Groningen for a year, and then I landed the job I have now. Promoted to Reader in 1999, to Professor in 2007.

Research Summary

In the past I have written on Anglo-Saxon paganism as this is reflected in Old English literature: a difficult subject for which I needed the help of analogues from Old Icelandic poetry and prose. In one book, Pagan Words and Christian Meanings (1991), I produced studies which focused on aspects of this problem. In another, Heathen Gods in Old English Literature (1997), I suggested that the pre-Christian religion of Anglian tribes centred on a fertility god whose later name was Ing or Ingui, a counterpart of the better known Ingvi-freyr of the Vanir in Old Norse Mythology. In the same year I published an edition, translation and annotation of an Old Norse occasional poem. Later (2006) I wrote a book on Beowulf, arguing that this poem was written down by its poet by the spring of 827; that the poem was commissioned by Wiglaf, soon to be first real king of Mercia after Beornwulf, who had been killed in battle in East Anglia in 826; that the poem came from the monastery of Breedon-on-the-Hill in NW Leicestershire; and that the poet was the abbot of this monastery, Eanmund (d. after 848). More recently (2007, 2012) I have edited (with the late Joe Allard) 'Beowulf' & Other Stories, a collection of essays on Old English, Old Icelandic and Anglo-Norman literature, which is now in its second edition; and I produced most of the edited and translated texts in Pearson Longman Anthology of Old English, Old Icelandic and Anglo-Norman Literatures (2011). I have written studies and articles too.

Teaching Summary

I was appointed to the English Department in July 1989, since when I have spent my days either teaching or reading literature. Through lectures and seminars and tutorials I teach Old English including Beowulf, Middle English including Chaucer, Old Icelandic literature including selections from the Snorra Edda and the Sagas of Icelanders, and through tutorials just about everything else.This includes the Odyssey, Greek Tragedy, Beloved, Sawles Warde, Pearl, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside and the works of Sir Thomas Malory.

Academic Background
1987   Doctor of Philosophy University of Cambridge
1983   Bachelor of Arts University of Oxford
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