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English, English and Cultural StudiesOther Titles: Associate Professor, English
Office: CCS 345
Graduate student supervisor
Old English Language and Literature. Paleography and the digital editing of texts. Mystical Theology and suffering. Tolkien.
Courses & Teaching
Old English Language and Literature, Chaucer, Middle English Mystical Writings, Latin.
Since 2005 I have been Associate Professor in the English Program at UBC Okanagan. My research career has stalled several times due to family illness, death, and ensuing disruption. These experiences, however, have begun to inform a renewal of my work.
My personal interests tend towards the outdoors, especially hiking and skiing. Hiking with a dog is one of the most rewarding activities I know. I also have a devotion to basketball, which for me lately has evolved into a spectator sport.
PhD, University of Toronto, 1991 (Old English Philology) ; MSL (Mediaeval Studies Licentiate), Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, University of Toronto, 1989 (Medieval Studies) ; MA, University of Toronto, 1981 (Medieval Studies) ; BA, University of Calgary, 1979 (History and Classics)
Research Interests & Projects
My major project, begun too many years ago, is a new critical and digital edition of the Old English Soliloquies. Augustine’s original Latin text is a dialogue that attempts to prove the immortality of the soul. The Old English translation takes off in some unexpected directions. It shares the original text’s implicit anxiety about death, but also develops an emphasis on rest (Latin otium) as a spiritual exercise. I am also working on a translation of John Scotus Eriugena’s Commentary on the Gospel of John. This Irish-born scholar flourished in the ninth century, around the same time as the translator of the Soliloquies. A proponent of negative theology, his work has strong mystical tendencies, especially in regard to nothingness (Latin nihil), and by extension to death and dying. Recently, I have joined a research group at UBC Okanagan that thinks about palliative care, suffering, and death. Also recently, I have begun to explore the poetry of the Exeter Book, to unpack its own intermittent reflections on the momento mori.
On the side, I have worked intermittently on a translation of my father’s book, Ukraine i Lænker (Ukraine in Chains), a memoir of his experience as a spy for the British in occupied Ukraine during WW II and his subsequent work in the Danish underground.
Selected Publications & Presentations
“Godes Word for Vox Domini in Psalm 28 of the Paris Psalter: Biblical Translation and Alfredian Politics.” Florilegium, vol. 31, 2014, pp. 165-180, doi: 10.3138/flor.31.07.
With Tim Swartz and Paramjit Gill, “King Alfred’s Scholarly Writings and the Authorship of the First Fifty Prose Psalms.” Heroic Age: A Journal of Early and Medieval Northwestern Europe, vol. 12, 2009.
With Tim Swartz and Paramjit Gill, “A Stylometric Analysis of King Alfred’s Literary Works,” Journal of Applied Statistics, vol. 34, no. 10, 2007, pp. 1251-1258, doi: 10.1080/02664760701592992.
“Wisdom’s Land: King Alfred’s Imagery in His Preface to His Translation of Augustine’s Soliloquies.” In Divine Creation in Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern Thought: Essays presented to the Rev’d Dr Robert D. Crouse. Ed. Michael Treschow, Walter Hannam, Willemien Otten. Leiden: Brill, 2007. 257-284.
“Tom Bombadil’s Role in The Lord of the Rings.” Mythlore: A Journal of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature, vol. 25, 2006, pp. 175-222.
“The Prologue to Alfred’s Law Code: Instruction in the Spirit of Mercy,” Florilegium vol. 23, 1995, pp. 113-145.
“Echoes of the Periphyseon in Alfred’s Soliloquies,” Notes & Queries, vol. 40, 1993, pp. 281-286.
“The Metaphysics of Scriptural Integrity in John Wyclif’s De Veritate Sacrae Scripturae,” Dionysius, vol. 12, 1989, pp. 153 – 196.