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

Professor Carl Phelpstead

BA (Sheffield), MPhil, DPhil (Oxon)

Professor (research leave)

School of English, Communication and Philosophy

+44 (0)29 2087 4245
2.39, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Available for postgraduate supervision

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 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'¬ôs 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
  • hagiography
  • 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

Past projects

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’

External profiles