27 Sep Visiting Professorship for Dr Mark Atherton
Congratulations to English Lecturer, Dr Mark Atherton, who has been appointed Visiting Professor of Medieval English Literature and Historical Linguistics at the University of Düsseldorf in Germany. Mark joins a team of seven professors who lead the Faculty of English Studies, which is a large department, with 2000 students, divided into five sections: Medieval, American Studies, English Linguistics, Modern English Literature, and Literary Translation. He will be teaching his everyday fare of Old and Middle English but also a BA advanced seminar on ‘Tolkien and Medieval Literature’ and an MA seminar on ‘The Making of England: Politics and Literature in Anglo-Saxon England’, both of which chime with his recent research and publications. Since the winter semester runs from November to February, Mark will be dividing his time between Oxford and Dusseldorf in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms. He says: ‘This came out of the blue, just before the start of term. But Germany is not new to me, since I also studied German originally and spent time teaching at Cologne. So it is a kind of home from home. I have many contacts in Germany with professors in my field, and my name was put forward when this position suddenly became available. It will be interesting to see a different department and how it runs, and teach different types of courses, as well as carrying on with my research.’
On a somewhat different note, Mark will also be busy in October in Cheshire with the millennial celebrations of King Cnute, who became king of England in 1016. Canute, known as a writer of songs, including the English poem ‘The Song of Canute’, and famed in legend for his publicity stunt of (not) stopping the tide, was actually Danish, the only former Viking ever to rule the kingdom of England, and he eventually became a wise and effective king for twenty years and emperor of a vast Anglo-Scandinavian empire. The town of Knutsford, near Manchester, who have long held that Cnute (also known as Knut) crossed the river there on his route to gaining the throne, is hosting the millennial celebrations, which include a special dinner and a visit from the Danish ambassador, and various lectures and musical events, to which Mark will contribute. Mark is speaking on ‘The Life and Times of King Canute’ on Tuesday 18 October at St John’s Church, Knutsford.