Our Research

Hugh Magennis

Professor Hugh Magennis

Emeritus Professor

Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 3260

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Hugh Magennis is Professor of Old English Literature and Director of the Medieval Studies research cluster in the School of English; he is also Director of the the Queen's University Institute of Theology. He has been on the staff of Queen's University since the 1970s and has has had a range of positions of responsibility down to the present, including Advisor of Studies, Associate Dean, and Head of School. Outside Queen's he has held positions on a range of advisory boards and subject-specialist committees, including those of the International Association of Anglo-Saxonists (ISAS) and Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland (TOEBI).

Research Statement

Hugh Magennis's research focuses on ideas and imagery in Old English and related literature, especially with reference to poetic texts, and on writings about saints, a major genre in the Middle Ages. He is currently working on modern poetic translations of Beowulf and is co-editing with Mary Swan a volume showcasing current research on the Old English writer Ælfric, A Companion to Ælfric (Brill, 2009), for which he is writing a chapter surveying the history of Ælfric scholarship; he is also currently preparing the chapter ‘Legend and Heroic Poetry' for the forthcoming Blackwell Companion to Medieval Poetry and is in the early stages of writing The Cambridge Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Literature; meanwhile, he and colleague Ivan Herbison are engaged in producing an enlarged revised version of their textbook Discovering Old English: Guided Readings. Hugh Magennis's existing publications include critical editions of Old English texts, most recently The Old English Life of St Mary of Egypt (2002), a wide range of journal articles, and the single-authored books Images of Community in Old English Poetry (1996) and Anglo-Saxon Appetites: Food and Drink and their Consumption in Old English and Related Literature (1999). Hugh is associate editor of English Studies and of The Literary Encyclopedia and is reviews editor of College Literature.

Some recent publications:

'Approaches to Saints' Lives', in The Christian Tradition in Anglo-Saxon England: Approaches to Current Scholarship and Teaching, ed. Paul Cavill (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2004), pp. 163-83

‘Ælfric's Lives of Saints and Cotton Julius E. vii: Adaptation, Appropriation and the Disappearing Book', in Imagining the Book, ed. Stephen Kelly and John J. Thompson (Turnhout: Brepols, 2005), pp. 99-109

‘Ælfric and Heroic Literature', in The Power of Words: Anglo-Saxon Studies Presented to Donald G. Scragg on his Seventieth Birthday, ed. Hugh Magennis and Jonathan Wilcox, Medieval European Studies 8 (Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Press, 2006), pp. 31-60

‘Hagiographical Imagery of Light and Ælfric's "Passion of St Dionysius"', Leeds Studies in English, New Series 37 (2006) (Essays for Joyce Hill on her Sixtieth Birthday, ed. Mary Swan), 209-28

‘Saints and Their Roles in Anglo-Saxon Christianity' and ‘Hagiography', in Pilgrims and Pilgrimage: Journey, Spirituality and Daily Life through the Centuries, interactive CD-ROM, ed. Dee Dyas (York and Nottingham: University of York and St John's Nottingham, 2007)


Hugh Magennis's teaching interests range widely in the medieval field and beyond, including Icelandic literature, the Bible in English and the history of the English language, but concentrate particularly on writings from Anglo-Saxon England. He has a number of teaching related publications, including, most recently (with Ivan Herbison), the second edition of the textbook, Discovering Old English: Guided Readings (2007).

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Frequent Journals

  • English Studies

    ISSNs: 0013-838X

    Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1744-4217


  • Anglia

    ISSNs: 0340-5222


  • Traditio

    ISSNs: 0362-1529


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