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Dr Carl Kears

  • Academics
  • Supervisors

Lecturer in Medieval Literature

Research subject areas

  • Literature

Contact details


My research examines the poetry of early medieval England and the reception and adaptation of Old English literature in contemporary culture. I am particularly interested in the materiality of poetry and in questioning the ways in which burned, smudged, glossed or unfinished pages of early medieval poetic codices ask to be read and re-read as they move through time. My training as a medievalist informs my approach to modern and contemporary poetry, which continues to examine the archives and small presses of the British Poetry Revival and explore the ways independent publishers, renegade poets and reactionary artists resourced Old English poetry and early medieval manuscripts in the 20th century. I have published on the re-use of Old English by the poet and editor Eric Mottram and I am the co-editor of Medieval Science Fiction (KCLMS/Boydell, 2016). I am currently writing a book about one of the four major manuscripts of Old English poetry: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 11.

Research Interests

• Old English Literature, especially the manuscripts of Old English poetry

I am interested in how the poetry of early medieval England can be understood from the perspective of compilation, and through the philological study of poems in their cultural and historical contexts. This approach informs my forthcoming book about the violence, vengeance and brokenness of the illustrated and unfinished manuscript known as Junius 11.

• Contemporary Innovative Poetry

I am fascinated by the material histories of modern and contemporary poetry and with how experimental, self-published poets draw on the medieval past. My article about the ‘British Poetry Revival’ in The Review of English Studies  represents this major strand of my research. I am building on this work as I develop my next project, which will be a study of the poet, publisher, translator and editor Bill Griffiths and his relationships with Old English, north-eastern dialect, small presses, class and Anglo-Saxon Studies in the second half of the 20th century and early decades of the 2000s.

• Science Fiction and histories of genre fiction

My research also examines the place of the Middle Ages in science fiction literature and in the history of science. I am interested in representations of the medieval future in modern SF, but, more importantly, in reading early medieval literature as scientifically-informed in order to challenge popular assumptions about the medieval period that have been influenced by the genre of fantasy.


I teach the following modules:

  • Reading Poetry
  • Medieval Literary Culture
  • Cultural Encounters: Language and Literature in Anglo-Saxon England
  • Forms of Engagement
  • Medieval Science Fiction
  • Beowulf
  • The Visual and the Verbal in the Middle Ages (postgraduate)
  • Contemporary Medieval (postgraduate)
  • Premodern Dialogues (postgraduate)
  • Making the Middle Ages (postgraduate)