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Summary: Old and Modern Icelandic language and literature, Old and Middle English language and literature, Irish (Gaelic) language and literature, Old Norse mythology, Viking history, modern literary theory.
Research and Interests
I came to Leeds in 1978 from University College Dublin, where I had taught for nine years. Before that I had taught at the Universities of Lund and Copenhagen, having taken my undergraduate degree at Oxford (in 1963) and a further degree at the University of Iceland, Reykjavík (in 1965). While at U.C.D. I started working on my doctorate, which I was awarded by the National University of Ireland in 1985. While in post at Leeds I varied my career by being for three calendar years (1986-88) the University's Adviser to Overseas Students, spending three months in Iceland in 1995 as the holder of a Snorri Sturluson Fellowship (awarded by the Sigurður Nordal Institute of the University of Iceland, Reykjavík), and spending the academic year 1998-99 as a Visiting Professor at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, on the Leeds-Vanderbilt exchange. I became a Reader in 1994 and a Professor in 2006. In December 2005 I became by invitation an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Scandinavian Studies, University College London, for a period of five years.
I have research interests in Old and Modern Icelandic language and literature, Old and Middle English language and literature, Irish (Gaelic) language and literature, Old Norse mythology, Viking history, and modern literary theory.
In addition to my two authored books, Studies in Ragnars saga loðbrókar and its major Scandinavian analogues (Oxford, 1991), and Chaucer and the Norse and Celtic worlds (Aldershot, 2005), I have edited the Blackwell Companion to Old Norse-Icelandic literature and culture (Oxford, 2004) and have co-edited, with Andrew Wawn, a volume of essays, Úr Dölum til Dala (Leeds, 1989), in commemoration of the Icelandic scholar Guðbrandur Vigfússon (1827-89). I have also contributed five edited texts to A new introduction to Old Norse, Part II, Reader (4th edition, ed. Anthony Faulkes, London 2007). My publications further include two Icelandic saga translations (one now reissued by Penguin), two book-length translations of scholarly works on Icelandic topics (one from Swedish and one from Icelandic), numerous articles in journals and collections of essays, and a translation (published in 2007) of an Icelandic novel, The Thief of Time, by Steinunn Sigurðardóttir (Reykjavík, 1986).
At present I am completing an edition, with introduction, translation and commentary, of the thirteenth-century Icelandic prose narrative Ragnars saga loðbrókar (the subject of my book of 1991), and am contributing to the collaborative edition of Norse-Icelandic skaldic poetry under the overall editorship of Professor Margaret Clunies Ross of the University of Sydney, for which I am editing verses related to Ragnars saga.
Professor McTurk has retired from teaching.