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Craig Davis

Professor of English Language & Literature

Professor Craig Davis


Tyler Annex 106


Craig Davis teaches Old and Middle English, Old Norse and Medieval Celtic languages and literatures in the English department. He has also directed the Medieval Studies and Comparative Literature programs, teaching traditional epics—ancient, medieval and modern—from around the world. 

Davis studied Welsh in Aberystwyth and Icelandic in Reykjavík before completing his doctorate in English at the University of Virginia. In 1996, Davis published ‘Beowulf’ and the Demise of Germanic Legend in England and was the Beowulf reviewer for “The Year’s Work in Old English Studies” from 1999-2010, which reached a high watermark in 2007 with 123 books, articles and other pieces. A recent essay on that poem appeared in Oxford Handbooks Online (2014), and his current project is titled, “Gothic Beowulf: The Northern Ethnography of the Nowell Codex,” a miscellany of five texts on the most distant peoples in space and time known to the Anglo-Saxons. Davis has also written on Celtic Britain and Anglo-Saxon England for the Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages (2010), as well as published articles on the Anglo-Saxon royal genealogies, the Old English Battle of Maldon, the Icelandic family sagas, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Malory’s Morte Darthur, and the Welsh origins of the Arthurian legend. Another current project explores the formation and continuity of the La Tène civilization of ancient Gaul—its Old European, Indo-European, Etruscan, Greek and Roman roots. Davis has held visiting positions at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Mount Holyoke College, twice at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and three times at Hamburg University in Germany.

Selected Recent Publications

“Recovering Germans: Teutonic Origins and Beowulf,” Kritikon Litterarum · American and English Studies 43.1-2 (2016): 125-142.

“Gothic ‘Immigrants’ in the Roman Empire,” in Strangers in this World’: Multi-Religious Reflections on Immigration, ed. Hussam Timani, Allen G. Jorgenson and Alexander Y. Hwang (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015): 129-42.

 “Arthur in Early Wales/Culhwch and Olwen,” in Medieval Arthurian Epic and Romance: Eight New Translations, ed. William W. Kibler and R. Barton Palmer (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2014): 70-98.

 “A Mother from Hell: Love and Vengeance in Beowulf,” in Vox Germanica: Essays in Germanic Languages and Literature in Honor of James E. Cathey (Tempe, AZ: ACMRS, 2012), ed. Stephen J. Harris, Michael Moynihan and Sherrill Harbison: 187-98.

 “Theories of History in Traditional Plots,” in Myth in Early Northwest Europe, ed. Stephen O. Glosecki (Tempe, AZ: ACMRS/Brepols, 2007): 31-45.

 “An Ethnic Dating of Beowulf” (2006), which shared the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists' prize for best article in two years.

Office Hours

Spring 2024

Monday 11 a.m.-noon
Thursday 11 a.m.-noon
and by appointment



Ph.D., University of Virginia
M.A., University of Wales, Aberystwyth
B.A., College of William and Mary

Selected works in Smith ScholarWorks