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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

We also welcome anyone from outside the University with an interest in our work to join. Membership is free of charge. You will receive invitations to our programme of events, with a weekly emails digest about what is happening in the Insitute and further afield. To join IMEMS contact:

Dr David Ashurst, B.Sc. Mathematics; B.A. English; M.A. Medieval Studies; Ph.D. Old Norse

Contact Dr David Ashurst (email at

Dr Ashurst’s main field of research is Old Norse-Icelandic literature, particularly that associated with the court of Hákon Hákonarson, king of Norway (1217-63). Following his study of Alexanders saga, an Old Norse-Icelandic account of Alexander the Great which was written for Hákon’s son, he has also worked on Alexander literature in Old and Middle English and Middle Scots. In addition he is a member of a group of ten Old Norse scholars from leading universities in Iceland, Germany, Poland, Denmark and England, which meets regularly to exchange research papers on heathen and Christian beliefs within the medieval north. The main post-medieval topic on which he is currently writing is the literary work of William Morris, particularly the influence of Old Norse literature on Morris's erotic imagination.

Research Interests

  • Old Norse-Icelandic
  • Medieval literature on Alexander the Great
  • Literary work of William Morris

He is interested in supervising postgraduate students working on any aspect of Old Norse-Icelandic studies, literature about Alexander the Great (whether medieval or modern), or the literary works of William Morris and other figures relevant to Victorian medievalism.

Recent and current PhD students under his supervision have been working on the following: saga portrayals of travel to far-off lands; the Latin antecedents for a medieval Icelandic account of the pilgrim route to Rome; the copying of medieval manuscripts in seventeenth-century Iceland; Anglo-Saxon concepts of the inner man; representations of empowered females in Old Norse literature; and the characteristics of feminine sanctity in Old Icelandic hagiography.

Indicators of Esteem

  • :
  • : Hon. Assistant Secretary of the Viking Society for Northern Research, since 2004.
  • : Review regularly for Saga-Book.

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

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