Jonathan Wilcox


The literature, language, and thought of early medieval England lie at the heart of my professional activity. I teach courses that engage students in the challenges and pleasure of literature of the distant past, while my research explores the complexities and delights of cultures of early England. One strand of my writing centers on uncovering the wide scope of early Christian thought, as in my book Ælfric's Prefaces (Durham, 1994); another centers on medieval manuscripts, as in the edited collection, Scraped, Stroked, and Bound: Materially Engaged Readings of Medieval Manuscripts (Brepols, 2013). I have a long-standing interest in techniques of humor in the past, reflected in my upcoming monograph, Humour in Old English Literature: Communities of Laughter in Early Medieval England (to be published by University of Toronto Press in late 2023).

My involvement in the scholarly field of medieval studies has included editing the Old English Newsletter, serving on the executive committee of the MLA and the International Society for the Study of Early Medieval England, and as President of the Medieval Association of the Midwest. I am interested in supporting international education and have led study abroad to the United Kingdom, taught as a visitor in France, and was a 2019 Fulbright Scholar in Iceland. I have been widely active in service at the University of Iowa, including two stints as chair of the Department of English, and my achievements have been recognized in a Regents Award for Faculty Excellence and appointment as a Collegiate Fellow.

Recent Publications:
“Objects that Object, Subjects that Subvert: Agency in Exeter Book Riddle 5,” Humanities 11 (2): 33 (2022).

“The Wolf at Work: Understanding Wulfstan’s Compositional Method,” in Manuscripts in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Cultures and Connections, ed. Claire Breay and Joanna Story, with Eleanor Jackson (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2021): 141-53

“The Pains and Pleasures of Vercelli Homily IX and the Delights of Textual Transmission,” in The Anonymous Old English Homily: Sources, Composition, and Variation, ed. Winfried Rudolf and Susan Irvine (Leiden: Brill, 2021): 287-311

“Humour and the Exeter Book Riddles: Incongruity in Feþegeorn (R.31),” in Riddles at Work in the Early Medieval Tradition: Words, Ideas, Interactions, ed. Megan Cavell and Jennifer Neville (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020):128-45

Characteristic Courses:
ENGL:2216  Selected Works of the Middle Ages: Early English Culture through Riddles, Lyrics, and Fragments
ENGL:3226  Literature & Culture of the Middle Ages: Visualizing the Middle Ages
ENGL:3256  Old English Language and Literature
ENGL:3257  Old English: Beowulf
ENGL:3266  Medieval Celtic Literature
ENGL:3267  Medieval Norse Literature: Viking Sagas and Norse Mythology

Research Interests:
Medieval Studies
Early English Literature and Culture
Book Studies

Jonathan Wilcox CV

Jonathan Wilcox
Contact Information

450 English-Philosophy Building (EPB)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States