Dr David Clark (DPhil, MSt, MA (Oxon), FHEA)

Writer and tutor in medieval literatures, contemporary medievalism, creative writing

Personal details | Publications | Research | Teaching | Supervision | Media

Associate ProfessorDavid Clark

Department: English

Telephone: +44

Email: dc147@le.ac.uk



Personal details


David Clark studied at St John's College, Oxford, where he won the Gibbs Prize, Turville-Petre prize for Old Norse, and a Lamb & Flag Graduate scholarship. He is now an Associate Professor in the English department, specialising in medieval literatures (Old English, Middle English, Old Norse) and contemporary medievalism (particularly in film, television, and children's/YA literature). As well as those topics, he has taught creative writing, critical theory, and the history of the English language. His current research centres around medievalism in contemporary literature, and literary representations of friendship, gender and sexuality. He is currently Literary Editor for Northern Studies and External Examiner for the London College of Music (University of West London). He regularly act as an independent Reader for journals and presses, including Oxford University Press, and acts as an expert reviewer for funding bodies (most recently the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland). He also contributes articles for the general public on gender and sexuality, and speaks at LGBTQ+ History Month and at public events (most recently at the British Library).


  • MA, MSt, DPhil, St John's College, University of Oxford
  • Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy


Most recent:

Beowulf in Contemporary Culture, ed. David Clark (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2020). An essay collection I edited, and to which I contributed a chapter on gender and sexuality in films of Beowulf, and one on race and ethnicity in contemporary television, focussing on Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands.


  • Gender, Violence, and the Past in Edda and Saga (Oxford University Press, 2012).
  • It is in the later chapters on sagas that Clark’s work rises to its heights, redefining the way Modern readers may see especially thirteenth-century literary perceptions of women and men and their various relationships.
    (Anonymous Reader's Report for OUP 1)

    His confident, compelling theories on gender and sexuality, and illuminating close readings, make this book both stimulating (it may cause a stir) and at the same time highly readable and enjoyable.
    (Anonymous Reader's Report for OUP 2)

  • Between Medieval Men: Male Friendship and Desire in Early Medieval English Literature (Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • An important study. 
    (Mary Swan, University of Leeds, Year's Work in English Studies 2011)

    An important and timely topic... destined to be widely cited... [an] important study. 
    (Clare Lees, King's College, London, Gender & History)

    Smart, elegant and ambitious.  
    (Robert Mills, King's College, London, Times Higher Education Supplement) Full review

    Demonstrates qualities of scrupulous scholarship and careful thinking about difficult historical problems together with an alert sense of literary implications.  
    (A.S.G Edwards, De Montfort University, Times Literary Supplement)

    A sober, penetrating and comprehensive study of Anglo-Saxon literature… Clark’s scholarly acumen waves like a banner above the whole project… this is an impressive book by any standard, written by an equally impressive scholar.  
    (Bill Burgwinkle, King's College, Cambridge, Review of English Studies)


    Edited collections

    A powerful and often entertaining case for the myriad pathways by which the Anglo-Saxon past inhabits, enlivens and even transforms the cultural imagination of our present.
    (Eileen A. Joy, Southern Illinois University, Times Higher Education Supplement.) Full text

    (T)he editors are to be commended for producing a handsomely illustrated, rich collection. ENGLISH STUDIES

    This rich collection of essays looks back to the influence of Anglo-Saxon culture in nineteenth-century and modernist writers, and explores a diverse range of more contemporary "moments of intersection between past and present". MEDIUM AEVUM

    [The editors] have assembled a scholarly and unfailingly interesting foundation for a study of the impact of the Anglo-Saxon world on our own, as well as proving how much potential there is in the topic. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

    The book is physically beautiful, soundly edited, and intellectually stimulating from beginning to end. (...) Any medievalist who reads this volume will surely learn something new about the reception of Anglo- Saxon culture, be surprised by the extent of this reception, and get ideas for new research in this area. (...) It is an excellent book that will hopefully make a real intellectual and institutional impact. ANGLIA

    Articles and book chapters

    • Beowulf on Film: Gender, Sexuality, Hyperreality’, in David Clark, ed., Beowulf in Contemporary Culture (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2020), pp. 1-30.
    • ‘Race/Ethnicity and the Other in Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands’, in David Clark, ed., Beowulf in Contemporary Culture(Cambridge Scholars Press, 2020), pp. 31-50.
    • ‘Diana Wynne Jones’s Contemporary Medievalism’, in Diana Wynne Jones 2019, ed. Catherine Butler and Farah Mendlesohn. Manifold Press, 2019, pp. 107-11.
    • ‘Norse medievalism in children’s literature’ in Pre-Christian Religions in the North, volume on Research and Reception, Gen. Ed. Professor Emerita Margaret Clunies Ross (Brepols, 2018).
    • ‘The Ideal of Friendship in Amis and Amiloun’, Nottingham Medieval Studies 60 (2016).
    • ‘Discourses of Masturbation: The (Non)solitary Pleasures of the (Medieval) Text’, in Men and Masculinities 2016, 1-29.
    • ‘Representation of gender in eddic poetry’ (with Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir), in Carolyne Larrington et al, A Handbook to Eddic Poetry: Myths and Legends of Early Scandinavia. Cambridge: CUP, 2016, pp. 331-48.
    • 'The Magical Middle Ages in Children's Fantasy', in Magical Tales: Myth, Legend, and Enchantment in Children's Books (Bodleian Library, 2013), pp. 81-112.

    This magical book is a bibliophile's delight.
    (W.P. Hogan, Eastern Michigan University, Choice)

    • 'Marlowe and Queer Theory', in Christopher Marlowe in Context, ed. Emily Bartels and Emma Smith (Cambridge: CUP, 2013), pp. 232-41.
    • 'The Semantic Range of Wine and Freond in Old English', in Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 114 (2013), 79-93.
    • ‘Heroic Homosociality and Homophobia in the Helgi Poems’, in Revisiting the Poetic Edda: Essays on Old Norse Heroic Legend, ed. Paul Acker and Carolyne Larrington. New York: Routledge, 2013, pp. 11-27.
    • 'Notes on the Medieval Ideal of Dying with One's Lord', in Notes and Queries 256 (2011), 475-84.
    • ‘Manslaughter and Misogyny: Women and Revenge in Sturlunga saga’, Saga-Book 33 ( 2009), 25-43.
    • Old English Literature and Same-Sex Desire: An Overview’Literature Compass 6 (2009), 573-84.
    • ‘Kin-slaying in the Poetic Edda: the End of the World?’ Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 3 (2008), 21-41.
    • ‘Old Norse Made New: Past and Present in Modern Children’s Literature,’ in Old Norse Made New (see above).
    • ‘Revisiting Gísla saga: sexual themes and the heroic past’, Journal of English and Germanic Philology 106 (2007)
    • ‘Relaunching the Hero: the Case of Scyld and Beowulf re-opened’, Neophilologus 90 (2006), 621-42.
    • ‘Revenge and Moderation: the Church and Vengeance in Medieval Iceland’, Leeds Studies in English n. s. 36 (2005), 133-56.
    • ‘Undermining and en-gendering vengeance: distancing and anti-feminism in the Poetic Edda’, Scandinavian Studies 77 (2005), 173-200.


    I specialise in medieval literature with current research interests in

    • the modern/contemporary reception of medieval literature
    • literary representations of friendship
    • medieval gender, sexuality, and identity


    • EN2030: Beginnings of English Literature. (This module covers Old English literature in translation, considering issues such as who the early English were, their relations with the Vikings, literary explorations of heroism, monstrosity, gender, and sexuality, and misappropriations of the period by white supremacists.)
    • EN2035: Viking Myths and Sagas. (This option considers a range of Old Norse poetry and sagas in translation, covering central literary motifs, the range of Norse attitudes to masculinities and feminities, sexualities, and otherness, and racist appropriations of Old Norse myth and culture.)
    • EN1035: Creative Writing. (This module introduces students to basic principles and techniques in creative writing.)
    • EN1010: Reading English. (This module covers transferrable skills in critical interpretation and teaches students to close-read literature from the medieval to the contemporary period.)
    • EN3010: Dissertations. (I supervise a number of dissertations each year, ranging from medieval literature to contemporary medievalism, gender and sexuality in superhero films, the representation of mental health in modern and contemporary literature, and much more.)
    • Special Options including 'Fantasy Literature and the Middle Ages', and 'Medieval Gender and Sexuality'
    • MA Creative Writing (EN7043). (This module develops students' own writing and introduces them to advanced techniques in creative writing.)
    • I convene and teach on the MA in English Studies: Editing & Textual Cultures, Authorship & Authority (convener), and Dissertations (convener). All these modules cover literary works in historical and theoretical context from their beginnings in Old English literature to the present-day.


    My current PhD student is completing a thesis on the representation of textiles and gender in Old Norse literature, drawing on contemporary theoretical perspectives and recent research in material cultures.


    I am currently working on medievalism in contemporary children's/YA literature, friendship in English literature, and Beowulf in the media.

    Recent publications for the general public include:

    • contributing to the BBC Radio 3 programme 'Beyond Binary' (by Emma Smith)
    • a contribution to the international blog, Notches
    • this article for 'The Conversation', which was picked up by The Independent
    • this article on premodern friendship in Call Me By Your Name for 'The Conversation'

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