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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr David Ashurst, B.Sc. Mathematics; B.A. English; M.A. Medieval Studies; Ph.D. Old Norse
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.
- 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.
- Ashurst, David (2009). The Ethics of Empire in the Saga of Alexander the Great: a study based on MS AM 519a 4to. Reykjavik: Bókmenntafræðistofnun Háskóla Íslands.
Chapter in book
- Ashurst, David (2013). 'Wagner, Morris, and the Sigurd Figure: Confronting Freedom and Uncertainty'. In Revisiting the Poetic Edda: Essays on Old Norse Heroic Legend. Acker, Paul & Larrington, Carolyne Routledge. 219-237.
- Ashurst, David (2012). 'Alexander the Great'. In Heroes and Anti-heroes in Medieval Romance. Cartlidge, Neil D. S. Brewer. 27-41.
- Ashurst, David (2011). 'Alexander Literature in English and Scots'. In A Companion to Alexander in the Middle Ages. Zuwiyya, Z. David. Brill. 255-290.
- Ashurst, David & Vitti, Francesco (2011). 'Alexander Literature in Scandinavia'. In A Companion to Alexander in the Middle Age. Zuwiyya, Z. David Brill. 315-327.
- Ashurst, David (2011). ‘Kings, Bishops, and Laws: The Old Norse-Icelandic Version of 1 Maccabees.’. In Myths, Legends and Heroes: Essays on Old Norse and Old English Literature in Honour of John McKinnell. Anlezark, Daniel Toronto University Press. 133-147.
- Ashurst, David (2010). 'Old English Wisdom Poetry'. In A Companion to Medieval Poetry. Saunders, Corinne Oxford: Blackwell. 125-140.
- Ashurst, David (2009). 'Eddic Myth, Victorian Values: The Popularisation of Old Norse Mythology in Britain, 1837 to 1876.'. In Sang an Ægir: Nordische Mythen um 1900. Schultz, Katja & Heesch, Florian Heidelberg: Winter. 45-71.
- Ashurst, D. (2007). 'Encyclopedic Literature: Physiognomy.'. In A New Introduction to Old Norse: Part II Reader.. Faulkes, A. London: Viking Society for Northern Research. 323-332.
- Ashurst, D. (2007). 'William Morris and the Volsungs.'. In Old Norse Made New.. Clark, D. & Phelpstead, C. London: Viking Society for Northern Research. 43-61.
- Ashurst, D. (2006). 'Imagining Paradise'. In The Fantastic in Old Norse/Icelandic Literature. Sagas and the British isles. McKinnell, J., Ashurst, D. & Kick, D. Durham: Durham University. 1: 71-80.
- Ashurst, D. (2005). 'Saga af Tristram ok Ísönd.’. In A New Introduction to Old Norse: Reader.. Faulkes, Anthony. London: Viking Society for Northern Research. 2: 163-172.
- Ashurst, D (2000). ‘Journey to the Antipodes. Cosmological and Mythological Themes in Alexanders saga’. In Proceedings of the Eleventh International Saga Conference. Clunies Ross & M. Sydney: University of Sydney. 1-13.
- Ashurst, D. (1997). ‘“We Call that Man Happy who Regards Himself as a King” Alexanders saga and the Norwegian Crown’. In Sagas and the Norwegian Experience: Tenth International Saga Conference Papers. Hagland, J.R. Trondheim: Senter for middelalderstudier. 23-32.
- McKinnell, J., Ashurst, D. & Kick, D. (2006). The Fantastic in Old Norse/Icelandic Literature. Sagas and the British Isles. Preprints of the Thirteenth International Saga Conference, Durham and York, 6th-12th August 2006. Durham: Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
- Ashurst, D. (2007). 'The Ironies in Cardinal William of Sabina's Supposed Pronouncement on Icelandic Independence'. Saga-Book. 31: 39-45.
- Ashurst, D (2002). ‘The Transformation of Homosexual Liebestod in Sagas Translated from Latin’. Saga-Book 26: 67-96.
- Ashurst, D. (2000). ‘Bleikir Akrar - Snares of the Devil? The Significance of the Pale Cornfields in Alexanders saga’. Saga-Book 25: 272-91.
- Ashurst, D. (1999). ‘Humour in the Cantigas d’amigo: Its Nature and Significance’. Portuguese Studies 14: 20-32.
- Ashurst, D. (1997). 'Masculine Postures and Poetic Gambits: The Treatment of the Soldadeira in the Cantigas d'escarnho e de mal dizer'. Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 74(1): 1-6.