Alaric’s research

My research focuses on the cultural history of early medieval Britain and medieval and early modern Scandinavia.

In the first decade of the century, my work focused on the relationship between health, healing, and supernatural beings in traditional belief-systems of medieval and early modern north-west Europe. This included my Ph.D. thesis and a book on elves. I also published several articles on multilingualism and language-contact in medieval Britain and Scandinavia.

In the 2010s, I paid a lot of attention to contemporary Icelandic literature, paying particular attention to the role of Iceland's post-colonial anxiety in its twenty-first-century culture, and within that the role of medievalism and orientalism. This led to another book. I also translated a number of medieval Icelandic romance-sagas, helping make this important corpus of Icelandic texts available to a wider audience: Sigurðar saga fóts, Sigurgarðs saga frækna, Jarlmanns saga og Hermanns, and Tíodels saga (working paper).

In that decade I also spent a lot of time using computer-assisted stemmatology to reconstruct the transmission of several 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. This is painstaking work and has been reaching publication slowly, but I'm keeping at it here in the 2020s. I aspire to create a spacy über-stemma showing how all romance-sagas were transmitted through the mulitfarious manuscripts in which they are found, and thus how Icelandic scribes went about anthologising sagas in this genre, and what social networks they drew on to achieve this.

From around 2020 I've begun doing comparative research looking further south and east, which is likely to shape my work during this decade. I've been slowly learning Arabic and Hebrew, and in particular comparing riddles in these languages with riddles that have attracted a lot more research in Latin, Old English, and Old Norse. Whether or how I'll ever be able to fit Finnish into this project too, I don't know, but I miss it, so maybe I'll find a way... I began publishing research in this area in 2021.

I publish all my research open-access and only work with publishers who facilitate this. Editing Wikimedia projects (particularly Wikipedia) has become an integral part of my research process: for example, my self-education in medieval Arabic literature has largely been conducted by writing and editing articles on that theme.

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