Alaric's research focuses on early medieval Britain and medieval and early modern Scandinavia. His doctoral work examined the relationships between societies, their beliefs in supernatural beings and powers, and the role of language and texts in the creation and transmission of those beliefs. His more recent work focuses on linguistic contact, interlinguistic communication, and Icelandic sagas. Particular projects are:
Working papers (any comments about these are welcome!):
- Medieval Scandinavian romance (its cultural meanings, and its transmission): Alaric is translating some sagas; using computer-assisted stemmatology to reconstruct the transmission of several romance-sagas across a large number of manuscripts; and off the back of all this, studying a few sagas in depth from literary and cultural perspectives. So far, Alaric's been looking in particular at Sigurðar saga fóts, Sigurgarðs saga frækna, Jarlmanns saga og Hermanns, Nikulás saga leikara and Konráðs saga keisarasonar.
- On stemmas see article on the stemma of Konráðs saga keisarasonar, working papers on the stemmas of Sigurgarðs saga, Nikulás saga leikara, and, er, Njáls saga.
- On the actual texts see article on Branwen (2001); article on Heiðreks saga (2005); translation of Sigurðar saga fóts; translation of Sigrgarðs saga frækna and Alaric's Sigurgarðs saga frækna resources page.
- Cultural responses to the 2008 Icelandic financial crisis: partly off the back of a welcome Leverhulme fellowship in 2014, Alaric has been working his way through large numbers of novels and other cultural products relating to the kreppa, looking at how Icelanders have constructed their experience of this event and its aftermath. Amongst other things, this work involves looking at medievalism and Orientalism in these works.
- See working paper on elves in financial-crisis literature (2014); application for Leverhulme fellowship (2013); blogpost about Bjarni Harðarson's Sigurðar saga fóts (2011).
- Interlinguistic communication, and language contact: how did people from different language backgrounds communicate, and what does this tell us about their lives, and about language-change? Alaric explores the interplay of languages in early medieval England, particularly using place-name evidence, and in the high medieval Nordic world, particularly using the evidence of fourteenth-century sagas.
- See article on Low German influence on Old Norse; article on the instability of Anglo-Saxon and Welsh place-names; article on language in Bede (2010); article on place-names in Bede; contribution to article by Fox (2007).
- Related studies are: note on the etymology of Adel (2009); article on orality (2008); article on elves in place-names (2006); article on Old English diphthongs (2001).
- The supernatural in health and healing, medieval and early modern: supernatural beings and their connection with health and healing was the subject of Alaric's doctoral work, a subject that he continues to return to now and again. For a full list of work on this stuff, see publications. Meanwhile, early modern witchcraft is a related sideline that Alaric visits for intellectual holidays. Great material, especially in early modern Scotland, and it's always nice to do research connected with countries where you've worked :-)
- On medieval stuff, see book on elves (2007); article on orality (2008); special section in Asclepio on moral transgression with Markku Hokkanen and Jari Eilola (2009); articles on the plant(-name) elleborus in earlier Anglo-Saxon England and later Anglo-Saxon England (2013).
- On early modern stuff, see article on 'elf-shot' (2005); article on Stein Maltman (2006); article on eldritch (2007); short piece on fairies (2008); short piece on early medieval witchcraft (2011).