Dr James Paz

Lecturer in Early Medieval Literature

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Research interests

My speciality is Old English language and literature, but I am also an interdisciplinary medievalist who recognises that early medieval literature interacts with the visual and material culture of the period. Some of my more recent work looks at how medieval writing can inform and transform modern literary genres, such as science fiction.

In 2017, I published my first monograph, Nonhuman Voices in Anglo-Saxon Literature and Material Culture, which draws on thing theory to argue that ‘things’ do not simply carry Old English voices across the ages but change them, sometimes reshaping or even subverting the messages intended by their original human makers. In arguing for the agency of things, this monograph rethinks the divisions between ‘animate’ human subjects and ‘inanimate’ nonhuman objects.

In 2016, I co-edited a collection of essays on Medieval Science Fiction, addressing the recurring omissions of the Middle Ages from constructed histories of SF. Contributors consider where, how and why ‘science’ and ‘fiction’ intersect in the medieval period; explore the ways in which works of modern SF illuminate medieval counterparts; but also identify the presence and absence of the medieval past in SF history and criticism.

My peer-reviewed articles have appeared in Exemplaria, New Medieval Literatures and the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies.

My current research examines modern translations and poetic responses to Old English riddles, and I am also working on a long-term study of 'craft' in Anglo-Saxon literature.

I welcome proposals from research students interested in working on any aspect of Old English or medieval literary culture, including (but not limited to) the following topics: the intersections between early medieval literature and material culture; the relationships between humans and nonhumans in early medieval literature; medievalism (especially in science fiction and fantasy); theoretical approaches to medieval literatures (especially new materialism and ecocriticism).



Research and projects

No current projects are available for public display