I read my PhD at Manchester University and was a lecturer in Medieval English and history of the language at Brasenose College, Oxford University. Today I teach Old English Language and Literature, Paleaography and Historical Linguistics.
My main research interests include manuscript studies, science (mainly astronomy and weather), magic and prognostications in Latin, Old English and Middle English, and the relationship between weather, health and time. Most of this research has been disseminated in books and international peer-reviewed journals, including Anglo-Saxon England, English Studies, Germanic Philology and Studies in Philology. I also published on Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, Ovid’s influence in Anglo-Saxon England, kingship and prognostication, and the role of natural phenomena in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. I was guest editor with K. Prietzel of ‘Holy and Unholy Appetites in Anglo-Saxon England’ (special issue English Studies, August 2012) and co-edited with Hugh Magennis a collection of essays, Aspects of Knowledge: Preserving and Reinventing Traditions of Learning in the Middle Ages, published by Manchester University Press, 2018.
I am currently on research leave thanks to an APEX award (£98,149.00) awarded by the UK’s national academies (The Royal Society, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and the Leverhulme Trust) for cross-disciplinary excellence and innovative research. The project ‘Before and After Halley: Medieval Visions of Modern Science’, in collaboration with astrophysicist Dr Pedro Lacerda, renegotiates the meaning and importance of medieval science and demonstrates how medieval records of comets can help test the theory of the existence of the elusive Planet 9. This ground-breaking project, for the first time, looks at celestial occurrences, as they appear in English, Irish, Western European and Russian Chronicles from the 9th to the 12th centuries from a fresh perspective, by relying on up-to-date scientific tools in an attempt to demonstrate the importance of astronomy and scientific thought in early medieval Europe. It also illustrates how the Humanities can make a resounding contribution to the ongoing scientific debate on the existence of the so-called Planet Nine, currently impossible to confirm by direct observation.