Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu

Professor Carl Phelpstead - BA (Sheffield), MPhil, DPhil (Oxon)

Overview

Professor Carl Phelpstead Position: Professor Email: PhelpsteadC@cf.ac.uk
Telephone: +44(0)29 208 74245
Extension: 74245
Location: John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cathays, Cardiff

Research Group

English Literature

Postgraduate Students

I would welcome enquiries from potential PhD students in any fields related to my research interests.

Research Interests

Medieval literature (Old and Middle English, Old Norse-Icelandic), modern medievalism. For more information on my work please see my website at www.carlphelpstead.info

Selected Publications

'Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Hair Loss, the Tonsure, and Masculinity in Medieval Iceland', Scandinavian Studies 85.1 (2013), 1-19.Tolkien and Wales: Language, Literature and Identity

‘Fantasy and History: The Limits of Plausibility in Oddr Snorrason’s Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar,Saga-Book 36 (2012), 27–42.

Tolkien and Wales: Language, Literature and Identity (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2011).

‘King, Martyr and Virgin: Imitatio Christi in Ælfric’s Life of St Edmund’ in St Edmund, King and Martyr: Changing Images of a Medieval Saint, ed. Anthony Bale (York Medieval Press/Boydell and Brewer, 2009), pp. 27–44.

Holy Vikings: Saints 'Lives in the Old Icelandic Kings’ Sagas
. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies Series 340. Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2007.

“Size Matters: Penile Problems in Sagas of Icelanders.” Exemplaria 19.3 (2007): 420–37.

 

Publications

Books

Tolkien and Wales: Language, Literature and Identity (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2011).

Holy Vikings: Saints’ Lives in the Old Icelandic Kings’ Sagas. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies Series 340. Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2007.

ed., with David Clark. Old Norse Made New: Essays on the Post-Medieval Reception of Old Norse Literature and Culture. London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 2007.

A History of Norway and the Passion and Miracles of the Blessed Óláfr, trans. Devra Kunin, edited with an introduction and notes by Carl Phelpstead (London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 2001); web publication with corrections and Supplementary Note, http://vsnrweb-publications.org.uk/ (2008).

Articles in Journals and Chapters in Books

'Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Hair Loss, the Tonsure, and Masculinity in Medieval Iceland', Scandinavian Studies 85.1 (2013), 1-19.

‘"For W. H. A.": Tolkien's Poem in Praise of Auden' in Tolkien's Poetry, ed. Julian Eilmann and Allan Turner (Zurich and Jena: Walking Tree Press, 2013), pp. 45-58.

'Skaldic Saints and Stories of Miracles: Christianity and Vernacular Literary Culture in Trondheim and Kirkwall’, Northern Studies 44 (2013), 80–97.

‘Fantasy and History: The Limits of Plausibility in Oddr Snorrason’s Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar,Saga-Book 36 (2012), 27–42.

‘“Th’ende is every tales strengthe”: Contextualizing Chaucerian Perspectives on Death and Judgement’ in Chaucer and Religion, ed. Helen Phillips (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2010), pp. 97–110.

‘King, Martyr and Virgin: Imitatio Christi in Ælfric’s Life of St Edmund,’ in St Edmund, King and Martyr: Changing Images of a Medieval Saint, ed. Anthony Bale (York Medieval Press/Boydell and Brewer, 2009), pp. 27–44.

‘Adventure-time in Yngvars saga víðförla,’ in Fornaldarsagaerne: Myter og virkelighed, ed. Agneta Ney, Ármann Jakobsson, and Annette Lassen(Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2009), pp. 331–46.

‘“With Chunks of Poetry in Between”: The Lord of the Rings and Saga Poetics’, Tolkien Studies 5 (2008), 23–38.

“A Viking Pacifist? The Life of St Magnus in Saga, Novel, and Opera.” In Old Norse Made New: Essays on the Post-Medieval Reception of Old Norse Literature and Culture, ed. David Clark and Carl Phelpstead. London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 2007, pp. 119–32.

“Size Matters: Penile Problems in Sagas of Icelanders.” Exemplaria 19.3 (2007): 420–37.

Óláfs ríma Haraldssonar” (ed.). In A New Introduction to Old Norse, Part II: Reader, ed. Anthony Faulkes. 4th edn. London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 2007, pp. 307–22.

“Pilgrims, Missionaries and Martyrs: The Holy in Bede, Orkneyinga saga and Knýtlinga saga.” In The Making of Christian Myths in the Periphery of Latin Christendom (c. 1000–1300) ed. Lars Boje Mortensen. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2006, pp. 53–81.

“Converting to Europe: Christian Themes in Knýtlinga saga.Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 1 (2005): 163–77.

Maríu saga: A Miracle of the Virgin Mary” (ed.). In A New Introduction to Old Norse, Part II: Reader, ed. Anthony Faulkes. 3rd edn. London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 2005, pp. 173–78.

“A New Edition of Biskupa sögur.Gripla 15 (2004): 245–61.

“Auden and the Inklings: An Alliterative Revival.” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 103 (2004): 433–57.

“The Sexual Ideology of Hrólfs saga kraka.” Scandinavian Studies 75 (2003): 1–24.

“In Honour of St Óláfr: The Miracle Stories in Snorri Sturluson’s Óláfs saga helga.” Saga-Book of the Viking Society for Northern Research 25 (2000): 292–306.

Conference Preprints

‘Hair Loss, the Tonsure, and Masculinity in Medieval Iceland’ in Á austrvega. Saga and East Scandinavia: Preprint Papers of the 14th International Saga Conference, 9th–15th August 2009, ed. Agneta Ney, Henrik Williams and Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist (Gävle: Gävle University Press, 2009), vol. 2, pp. 761–67.

“Historicizing Plausibility: The Anticipation of Disbelief in Oddr Snorrason’s Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar.” In The Fantastic in Old Norse/Icelandic Literature – Sagas and the British Isles: Preprint Papers of the 13th International Saga Conference, Durham and York, 6th–12th August, 2006, ed. John McKinnell, David Ashurst, and Donata Kick. Durham: Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2006, vol. 2, pp. 759–68.

Masculinity and Sexuality in Sagas of Scandinavian Royal Saints.” In Scandinavia and Christian Europe in the Middle Ages: Papers of the 12th International Saga Conference Bonn/Germany, 28th July – 2nd August 2003, ed. Rudolph Simek and Judith Meurer. Bonn: Hausdruckerei der Universität Bonn, 2003, pp. 421–28.

Shorter Pieces

'Tolkien, David Jones, and the God Nodens' in The Lord of the Rings Plaza Scholars Forum at http://www.lotrplaza.com/showthread.php?28791-Carl-Phelpstead-Tolkien-David-Jones-and-the-God-Nodens&p=525962 (2013)

‘Men in Anglo-Saxon England’ and ‘Old English Verse Saints’ Lives’ in The English Parish Church Through the Centuries: Daily Life & Spirituality, Art & Architecture, Literature & Music, Interactive CD-ROM, ed. Dee Dyas (Culture and Christianity, 2010).

Entries on ‘Gunnlaugr Leifsson,’ ‘Historia Norwegiae,’ and ‘Oddr Snorrason’ in The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages, ed. Robert E. Bjork (Oxford: OUP, 2010), II 755, 802, III 1221.

Contribution to “Interrogating Genre in the Fornaldarsögur: Round-Table Discussion.” Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 2 (2006): 275– 96 (at 278–79).

Brut by Layamon,” “Christ: Advent Lyrics,” “Homecoming of Beorhtnoth,” “Northern Courage,” “On Translating Beowulf,” and “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Sir Orfeo edited by Christopher Tolkien.” In The J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment, ed. Michael Drout. New York: Routledge, 2006.

“Middle English Lyric, 1100–1500” (2004), “Hrólfs saga kraka” (2003), “Music in Anglo-Saxon England” (2003), “Njáls saga” (2003). In The Literary Encyclopedia and Literary Dictionary, ed. Robert Clark, Emory Elliott and Janet Todd.

Book Reviews

Review of Þorleifur Hauksson, ed., Sverris saga, Íslenzk fornrit XXX (Reykjavík: Hið íslenzka fornritafélag, 2007), Saga-Book 34 (2010), 132–35.

Review of Haki Antonsson, St Magnús of Orkney: A Scandinavian Martyr-Cult in Context, The Northern World 29 (Brill: Leiden and Boston, 2007), Saga-Book 32 (2008), pp. 98–101.

Review of Tison Pugh, Sexuality and its Queer Discontents in Middle English Literature (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), The Medieval Review (2008).

Review of Magnús Fjalldal, Anglo-Saxon England in Icelandic Medieval Texts (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005). Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland Newsletter 25 (2007): 9–10.

Review of Paul Acker and Carolyne Larrington, eds, The Poetic Edda: Essays on Old Norse Mythology (New York and London: Routledge, 2002). Reading Medieval Reviews (2005)

Review of Jane Chance, ed., Tolkien the Medievalist, Routledge Studies in Medieval Religion and Culture 3 (London and New York: Routledge, 2003). Reading Medieval Reviews (2005)

Review of Richard Marsden, The Cambridge Old English Reader (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland Newsletter 20 (2005): 6.

Review of Historia Norwegie, ed. Inger Ekrem and Lars Boje Mortensen, trans. Peter Fisher (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2003). Saga-Book of the Viking Society for Northern Research 27 (2003): 105–08.

Research

My research is mainly in two related areas: medieval literature (primarily Old Norse-Icelandic and Old and Middle English) and modern medievalism (focusing on the twentieth-century, but with interests in Victorian medievalism too). Particular interests in medieval literature include: the kings’ sagas, legendary sagas and bishops' sagas, hagiography and historical writing, and medieval masculinities. The relationship between Christianity and culture is a recurring theme in my work. My research on modern medievalism has concentrated especially on J. R. R. Tolkien, though I have also written on W. H. Auden, George Mackay Brown, Peter Maxwell Davies, C. S. Lewis, and William Morris and Eiríkur Magnússon.

For more information click on ‘Publications’ above or visit my website at www.carlphelpstead.info

Biography

I read English Language with Medieval Literature at the University of Sheffield before going on to postgraduate study at the University of Oxford, where I took a taught MPhil in English Medieval Studies 1100–1500 and then completed a doctorate on Old Norse-Icelandic literature. I came to Cardiff University in 1999 to take up a lectureship in Old English and Old Norse, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2007, Reader in 2010 and Professor in 2012.

I have served on the Council of the Viking Society for Northern Research since 2001 and have been an editor of the Society’s journal Saga-Book since 2004 and co-editor of its Text Series since 2007. I am also currently on the committee of Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland.

I teach a range of modules on Old English and Old Norse language and literature for the BA in English Literature, as well options on medieval literature and medievalism for the MA in English Literature.