I retired from the Department in 2003 after twenty-six years on the faculty, after having served in all three ranks of the professorship, and I recently wound up my teaching career as Professor of Humanities at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. As someone whose undergraduate degrees as well are from U.C. Berkeley (BA in English, 1967; PhD in Comparative Literature, 1972), I have indelible memories of the years I spent here, from the time I first walked into classes taught by the likes of Thom Gunn and Alain Renoir until recent years. I am grateful to the colleagues from whom I absorbed so many insights over that time.
I continue to work on projects that fascinate me. These mostly have to do with the origins of English literature in the period of cultural synthesis that followed the adoption of Christianiity by the Germanic-speaking peoples of Britain (Beowulf and all that), and also with the role of oral narrative in the creation and evolution of collective memory, as exemplified by Scotland's travelling people, or tinkers.
|Beowulf and Lejre A presentation, with analysis, of some spectacular recent archaeological discoveries made at Lejre, Denmark, that shed new light on the origins of Beowulf. ....|
|Klaeber's Beowulf, 4th edn. A complete reworking of what has long been the standard edition of Beowulf for students and advanced scholars alike. ....|
|Old English Enigmatic Poems and the Play of the Texts A close study of a number of texts drawn chiefly from the Exeter Book of Old English poetry, seen as microcosms of the art of Old English verse in general. ....|
|Old English Heroic Poems and the Social Life of Texts A study of the heroic poetry of the Anglo-Saxons seen as a great collective medium through which people conceived of their changing social world and made mental adjustments to it. ....|
1. Beowulf: The Poem and Its Tradition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983.
2. Homo Narrans: The Poetics and Anthropology of Oral Literature. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999. Paperback edition, 2010.
3. Old English Enigmatic Poems and the Play of the Texts. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols. 2006.
4. Old English Heroic Poems and the Social Life of Texts. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2007.
5. Beowulf and Lejre. Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2007.
1. Old English Literature in Context: Ten Essays. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1980.
2. A Beowulf Handbook. Co-edited with Robert E. Bjork. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997.
3. Anglo-Saxonism and the Construction of Social Identity. Co-edited with Allen J. Frantzen. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997.
6. Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition. New York: Norton, 2008. With Seamus Heaney’s translation of the poem.
7. Klaeber’s Beowulf. 4th edition. Co-edited with R. D. Fulk and Robert E. Bjork. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008.
8. The Genesis of Books: Studies in the Scribal Culture of Medieval England in Honour of A.N. Doane. Co-edited with Matthew T. Hussey. Turnhout: Brepols, 2011.
1. Anglo-Saxon Studies. Under contract to Blackwell Publishing, Oxford
2. "Scottish Voices." In progress for the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
3. Other projects relating to Old English literature and the traditional culture of Scotland.