Dr Megan Cavell

Dr Megan Cavell

Department of English Literature
Birmingham Fellow

Contact details

Address
Department of English Literature
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

I work on a wide range of topics in medieval studies, from Old and early Middle English and Latin languages and literature to gender, material culture, monstrosity, and animal studies/ecocriticism. My current research project focuses on predators and inter-species conflict in pre- and post-Conquest England.

Qualifications

  • BA in English Language and Literature, University of Western Ontario
  • MA in Medieval Studies, University of Toronto
  • PhD in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge

Biography

After undertaking a BA and MA in Canada, I completed my PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2012. I then took up a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto (2012-2014) and a Junior Research Fellowship at Durham University (2014-2016). I joined the Department of English Literature here at Birmingham in 2017, after lecturing in the Faculty of English at the University of Oxford (2016-2017).

Teaching

  • Popular Fiction before the Novel
  • The Canterbury Tales
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where They Came From
  • Understanding Medieval Literature (PG)

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome supervision enquiries from postgraduate students working on Old English and comparative literature (especially poetry), gender, monstrosity, and medieval animal studies/ecocriticism.


Find out more - our PhD English Literature  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Research

I work on a wide range of topics in medieval studies, from Old and early Middle English and Latin languages and literature to gender, material culture, monstrosity, and animal studies/ecocriticism. My current research projects focus on a) bestiaries and the Old and Middle English Physiologus poems and b) predators and inter-species conflict in pre- and post-Conquest England.

My past research has analysed literary representations of material culture, constructed objects and textiles, as well as theoretical approaches to non-human animals and the natural world. My first book, Weaving Words and Binding Bodies: The Poetics of Human Experience in Old English Literature, explored the early medieval fascination with constructive processes and constrictive practices, emphasising the ways in which Old English texts depict everything from material objects and human/animal bodies to abstract concepts as shaped things.

I am also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Riddle Ages: Old English Riddles, Translations and Commentaries, whose aim is to provide open-access translations and commentaries of the Exeter Book riddles for an audience of students and interested members of the public. The blog sponsors and I co-organise annual sessions on early medieval riddles with Jennifer Neville (RHUL) at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds.

Finally, I co-organise the Scholars of Early Medieval England (SchEME) mentoring programme with Mary Kate Hurley (Ohio State), Damian Fleming (Indiana/Purdue, Fort Wayne) and Robin Norris (Carleton).

Publications

Recent publications

Book

Cavell, M 2016, Weaving Words and Binding Bodies: The Poetics of Human Experience in Old English Literature. University of Toronto Press.

Article

Cavell, M 2019, 'Seeing red: visuality, violence and the making of textiles in early medieval enigmatic poetry', Medieval Feminist Forum.

Cavell, M 2018, 'Arachnophobia and Early English Literature', New Medieval Literatures, vol. 18.

Cavell, M 2017, 'The Igil and Exeter Book Riddle 15', Notes and Queries, vol. 64, no. 2, pp. 206–210. https://doi.org/10.1093/notesj/gjx003

Cavell, M 2017, 'Powerful Patens in the Anglo-Saxon Medical Tradition and Exeter Book Riddle 48', Neophilologus, vol. 101, pp. 129-138. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11061-016-9490-8

Cavell, M 2015, 'The Binding of Religious Heroes in Andreas and the Hêliand', English Studies, vol. 96, pp. 507-524. https://doi.org/10.1080/0013838X.2015.1029309

Cavell, M 2015, 'Formulaic FriÞuwebban: Reexamining Peace-Weaving in the Light of Old English Poetics', Journal of English and Germanic Philology, vol. 114, pp. 355-372. https://doi.org/10.5406/jenglgermphil.114.3.0355

Cavell, M 2014, 'Constructing the monstrous body in Beowulf', Anglo-Saxon England, vol. 43, pp. 155-181. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0263675114000064

Cavell, M 2014, 'Sounding the Horn in Exeter Book Riddle 14', Explicator, vol. 72, pp. 324-327. https://doi.org/10.1080/00144940.2014.962466

Cavell, M 2013, 'Old English 'Wundenlocc' Hair in Context', Medium Aevum, vol. 82, pp. 119-125.

Cavell, M 2012, 'Looming Danger and Dangerous Looms: Violence and Weaving in Exeter Book Riddle 56', Leeds Studies in English, vol. 42, pp. 29-42.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Cavell, M 2016, Sails, Veils and Tents: The Segl and Tabernacle of Old English Christ III and Exodus. in Medieval Clothing and Textiles. vol. 12, Medieval Clothing and Textiles, vol. 12, Boydell & Brewer, pp. 27-39.

Other contribution

Cavell, M (ed.) 2013, The Riddle Ages: An Anglo-Saxon Riddle Blog..

View all publications in research portal