Professor Carl Phelpstead
BA (Sheffield), MPhil, DPhil (Oxon)
Professor (research leave)
I teach and research Old Norse-Icelandic and Old English literature, as well as related medieval literatures and nineteenth- and twentieth-century medievalism. I was educated at the Universities of Sheffield and Oxford and have worked at Cardiff University since 1999.
My books include Holy Vikings: Saints’ Lives in the Old Icelandic Kings’ Sagas (2007) and Tolkien and Wales: Language, Literature and Identity (2011), which won the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies in 2012. With David Clark (Leicester) I co-edited Old Norse Made New: Essays on the Post-Medieval Reception of Old Norse Literature and Culture (2007), and I wrote the introduction and notes to Devra Kunin's translations of A History of Norway and the Passion and Miracles of the Blessed Óláfr (2001). I have also published more than twenty article-length studies on Old Norse, Old English, Middle English, and modern medievalist literature, as well as sundry shorter pieces: for full details please click on Publications above.
For further information about my work please see the tabs above and my Academia.edu page
I was born in Newport, but lived in Leicestershire from the age of three until I went to the University of Sheffield to do a BA in English Language with Medieval Literature. After a gap year doing voluntary work with disabled people, I went 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 served on the committee of Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland from 2007 to 2014.
Honours and awards
- Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies (2012)
I have taught a variety of different modules at BA and MA level, mainly on Old English or Old Norse, but also including some Middle English and later literature.
I am on research leave during the academic year 2017-18.
In the area of medieval literature my particular research interests include:
- Icelandic sagas
- theory and medieval literature (especially Bakhtin, gender and sexualites, temporalities, ecocriticism).
In the area of medievalism I have published mainly on the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, though I have also written about W. H. Auden, George Mackay Brown, Peter Maxwell Davies, David Jones, C. S. Lewis, and Victorian saga translations.
In addition to a number of articles, I am currently working on two book projects: An Introduction to the Sagas of Icelanders and a study of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia in the modern imagination.
I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:
- Old Norse-Icelandic literature
- Old English Literature
- Medievalism in the twentieth century
- Ecocriticism and medieval literature
I supervised the following completed PhDs:
- Supervisor for Sheri Smith, ‘Answers to Prayer in Chaucer’ (AHRC-funded)
- Co-supervisor with Dr Becky Munford for Nicole Thomas, ‘The Daughters of Modron: Evangeline Walton’s Feminist Re-visioning of the Mabinogi’ (for one year after the retirement of Nicole’s former co-supervisor, Prof. Stephen Knight)
- Supervisor for Jenni Bergman, ‘The Significant Other: A Literary History of Elves’