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James Gordon Hanes Distinguished Professor

1980 Ph.D. English, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
1976 M.A. Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, Canada
1975 M.Phil. Medieval Studies, University College Dublin
1968 B.A. Medieval Studies, University College, Dublin


Most of my academic work has focused on the principal languages and literatures of the British Isles (English, Irish/Gaelic, Welsh, and Latin) during the early Middle Ages, as recoverable from the output of the ecclesiastical schools.  In recent years I have extended my interests chronologically to the Middle English period, especially on the subject of works produced in the Anglo-Irish community; and I have begun a comparative project with Japanese scholars on how medieval students of East and West read sacred texts (in Chinese and Latin, respectively) with the help of glosses and construe marks.


  • King Alfred’s Old-English Prose Translation of the First Fifty Psalms, Medieval Academy of America, Cambridge, MA, 2001.
  • The Old English Psalms (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library vol. 42, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2016.)
  • “Latin Learning at Winchester in the early eleventh century: the evidence of the Lambeth Psalter,” Anglo-Saxon England 20 (1991), 143-66.
  • Biblical Study and Mediaeval Gaelic History (Quiggin Lecture no. 8), of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge, 2003
  • “Celtic Britain and Ireland in the early Middle Ages,” in The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland, vol. 1 to 1640), ed. E. Leedham-Green and T. Webber (Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 69-90.
  • “The Irish role in the origins of the Old English Alphabet: a re-assessment,” Proceedings of the British Academy 157 (2009), 1-22.


  • James Gordon Hanes Distinguished Professor of the Humanities (2011-)
  • British Academy, Sir Israel Gollancz Memorial Prize for Medieval Studies (2005)
  • Norman and Dorothy Eliason Fixed-Term Chair of English (2002-05)
  • National Humanities Center, Fellow (2001-02)
  • Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Fellow (Fall semester, 1990)
  • Hettleman Award for Junior Faculty, Univ. of North Carolina (1986)

Courses Taught:


  • English 120                 British Literature survey
  • English 123                 Introduction to Fiction
  • English 314                 History of the English Language
  • English 319                 Medieval English Literature
  • English 320                 Chaucer
  • English 322H              Celtic Influences on English Literature
  • English 377                 Introduction to the Celtic Cultures


  • English 719                 Old English Grammar and Readings
  • English 720                 Old English Poetry
  • English 776                 Old Irish I
  • English 777                 Old Irish II
  • English 778                 Medieval Welsh I
  • English 779                 Medieval Welsh II
  • English 814                 History of the English Language
  • English 876                 Introduction to Modern Irish I
  • English 877                 Introduction to Modern Irish II