Professor Susan Irvine

Phone: 020 3108 1080
Internal phone: 51080

Education and Experience

Susan Irvine studied at the University of Otago, New Zealand, for her BA, and at the University of Oxford for her DPhil. She was Darby Fellow in English Literature at Lincoln College, Oxford, from 1987 to 1992. Since then she has been teaching in the Department of English at UCL, where she is now Professor of English. She has published widely on Old English prose and poetry. From 2002 to 2007 she was Co-Director of an AHRC-funded project to produce a comprehensive study and edition of the Old English versions of Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, which was published by OUP in 2009. She is a member of the Advisory Boards for the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists (2006-10) and for the Leverhulme-funded Boethius Commentary Project at the University of Oxford (2007-12), and was a visiting professor at the Università di Roma Tre in 2009.


Susan’s research has focused recently on literature associated with King Alfred’s court at the end of the ninth century, aligning with the Department’s core research theme of Editions. Following the publication of The Old English Boethius in 2009, she is currently working on a new Loeb-style edition of this work, to be published by Harvard University Press in 2011. She is also interested in the prefaces and epilogues to the Alfredian writings, an intriguing and eclectic series of texts which raises important issues relating to genre, the relationship between authorship and authority, and perceptions of poetic and prose style. This research will be published in a chapter to appear in a forthcoming Companion to King Alfred and in an edition bringing together these prefaces and epilogues for the first time. Susan’s research interests also include late Old English manuscripts and their implications for literary activity in English in the transitional period between Old and Middle English (an article on the Peterborough Chronicle is at press), and the style and syntax of Old English poetry (she has written on Beowulf, The Dream of the Rood, The Wanderer, and The Metres of Boethius). She would welcome enquiries from graduate students in any of these areas.

Selected Publications

(i) Books

The Old English Boethius
[with Malcolm Godden] (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle MS E, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2004)

Repunctuating Beowulf [with Bruce Mitchell] (Western Michigan University: The Medieval Institute, 2000)

Old English Homilies from MS Bodley 343, Early English Text Society (Oxford University Press, 1993)

(ii) Articles

‘The Production of the Peterborough Chronicle’, in Reading the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Language, Literature and History, ed. A. Jorgensen, Studies in the Early Middle Ages (Turnhout: Brepols, 2009) [at press]

‘Old English Prose: King Alfred and his Books’, in Beowulf and Other Stories: A New Introduction to Old English and Old Norse Literature, ed. R. North and J. Allard (Harlow: Pearson Education, 2007), pp. 46-71

‘Beginnings and Transitions: Old English’, in The Oxford History of English, ed. L. Mugglestone (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006; paperback edition, 2008), pp. 32-60

A Critical Bibliography of Old English Syntax: Supplement 1997-2000’ [with Bruce Mitchell], Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 107 (2006), 91-116, 169-85

‘Fragments of Boethius: The Reconstruction of the Cotton Manuscript of the Alfredian Text’, Anglo-Saxon England 34 (2005), 169-81

‘Speaking One’s Mind in The Wanderer’, in Inside Old English: Essays in Honour of Bruce Mitchell, ed. J. Walmesley (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005), pp. 117-33

‘Rewriting Women in the Old English Boethius’, in New Windows on a Woman’s World: Essays for Jocelyn Harris, ed. C. Gibson and L. Marr, 2 vols., Otago Studies in English 9 (Dept. of English, University of Otago, 2005), Vol. II, pp. 488-501

‘The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Idea of Rome in Alfredian Literature’, in Alfred the Great, ed. T. Reuter (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), pp. 63-77

‘Wrestling with Hercules: King Alfred and the Classical Past’, in Court Culture in the Early Middle Ages, ed. C. Cubitt (Turnhout: Brepols, 2003), pp. 171-88

A Critical Bibliography of Old English Syntax: 1993-1996 Supplement’ [with Bruce Mitchell], Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 103 (2002), 3-32, 179-204, 275-304

‘Religious Context: Pre-Benedictine Reform Period’, in A Companion to Anglo-Saxon Literature, ed. P. Pulsiano and E. Treharne (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), pp. 135-50

‘The Persistence of Old English in the Twelfth Century', in Rewriting Old English in the Twelfth Century, ed. M. Swan and E. Treharne, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 41-61

‘Linguistic Peculiarities in Late Copies of Ælfric and their Editorial Implications’, in Essays on Anglo-Saxon and Related Themes in Memory of Dr Lynne Grundy, ed. J. Roberts and J. Nelson, King’s College London Medieval Studies (King’s College London, 2000), pp. 237-57

‘Adam or Christ? A Pronominal Pun in The Dream of the Rood', The Review of English Studies n.s. 48 (1997), 433-47

A Critical Bibliography of Old English Syntax: Supplement 1989-92' [with Bruce Mitchell], Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 97 (1996), 1-28, 121-61, 255-78

‘Ulysses and Circe in King Alfred's Boethius: A Classical Myth Transformed', in Studies in English Language and Literature: `Doubt Wisely': Papers in Honour of E. G. Stanley, ed. M. J. Toswell and E. M. Tyler (London and New York: Routledge, 1996), pp. 387-401

A Critical Bibliography of Old English Syntax: 1985-1988 Supplement’ [with Bruce Mitchell], Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 93 (1992), 1-56

‘Bones of Contention: The Context of Ælfric’s Homily on St Vincent’, Anglo-Saxon England 19 (1990), 117-32

(iii) Electronic Publications

I have contributed to the major research database, Fontes Anglo-Saxonici: A Register of Written Sources Used by Authors in Anglo-Saxon England, providing 345 entries on works by Ælfric and other Old English homilists (1997), and 287 entries on the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (2001). These are available both on the World Wide Web (Fontes Anglo-Saxonici: World Wide Web Register) and also in a CD-ROM version, Fontes Anglo-Saxonici: A Register of Written Sources Used by Anglo-Saxon Authors [CD-ROM Version 1.1], ed. Fontes Anglo-Saxonici Project (Oxford: Fontes Anglo-Saxonici Project, English Faculty, Oxford University, 2002).