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College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty and Staff

Scott Gwara

Title: Professor
Department: English Language and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-576-5962
Office: HUO 317
Resources: English Language and Literature


PhD in Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, 1993
MA in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge, 1990 (BA 1986)
MA in English, Yale University, 1987
BA in English, Hamilton College, 1984

Areas of Specialization 

    Old and Middle English
    Medieval Manuscripts and Manuscript Culture
    Arthurian Literature
    Great Books
    Germanic Literature
    Tolkien Studies
    Literature Survey
    Inquiry and Research-Based Learning

Recently Taught Courses 

CPLT 390    Great Books of the Western World, Part I
CPLT 415G  Heroic Legends of the North (Early Medieval Germanic Literature)
ENGL 102     Freshman composition
ENGL 282     Fiction: The Modern Bestseller
ENGL 283     Legends of King Arthur
ENGL H288   Honors Survey of English Literature
ENGL 380     From Epic to Romance
ENGL 419I    Legends of King Arthur: Honors College Proseminar
ENGL 650B/769B    Literature and Theory for Language Arts Teachers
ENGL 702     Old English
ENGL 703     Beowulf
SCCC 281A  Proseminar: Introduction to Inquiry in the Humanities

Professional Accolades 

    Virginia Brown Fellowship in Medieval Latin Paleography, Ohio State University
    B.H. Breslauer Foundation grant ($46,000)
    South Carolina Humanities Council major grant ($8,000)
    USC Arts Institute grant
    USC Honors College Hewlett Grant for Inquiry
    USC Venture Fund Grant
    USC Research and Productive Scholarship Grant
    Mellon Fellowship, Yale University and the University of Toronto
    Open Fellowship, University of Toronto
    Marshall Scholarship, University of Cambridge
    Dame Bertha Phillpotts Research Grant, University of Cambridge
    Corpus Christi College Travel Grant in Aid of Research
    Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission Award for Research
    Phi Beta Kappa, Hamilton College
    George A. Watrous Prize in Literary Criticism, Hamilton College
    Willard Bostwick Marsh Prize Scholarship, Hamilton College
    Benjamin Walworth Arnold Prize Scholarship, Hamilton College

Current Research Projects 

    Anglo-Saxon Heroic Style. Analysis of the culture of Old English heroic literature in multiple genres. Examines violence, political discourse and self-control as a function of "moral" behavior from a fatalistic perspective. Identities of warrior/king, insider/outsider, young/old, etc. in articulation of ideals. Discussion of identity in the nexus of social expectations and self-restraint.
    New Essays on Pre-Conquest Heroism. Co-edited with Richard North (UCL). A collection of original articles contesting the "heroic code" and asserting new understandings of martial behavior, violence, and linguistic codes of heroic performance.
    Carolingian Song: Alcuin's Collected Verse. English translation of Alcuin's verse. Solicited for the Dumbarton Oaks series on Medieval Latin classics.
    A History of Medieval Manuscripts in North America. A study detailing how medieval manuscripts came to North America, the collectors who bought them, what the manuscripts tell us about American collectors, and where the collections now reside.

    "Puns in Beowulf": an examination of deliberate bivalences in nominal compounds, suggesting that the poet expressed situational ironies in complex amphibolies.
    "Praising and Appraising Heroic Deeds: Kingly Generosity in Beowulf": consideration of royal gift-giving as entailing self-conscious, public appraisals of generosity, as patently excessive. Emphasis on praise in similar terms, as exaggeration of accomplishment. Exploration of gifting parlance as euphemizing.
    "Marie de France, the Illuminated English Psalter, and Devotional Parody in Yonec": a study outlining the evidence that Affective Piety encoded imagined sexual acts that launched erotic meditations. Evidence for the imagery of meditation from illuminated Psalters.
    "Anglo-Saxon Mnemotechniques and Old English Scholastic Diction": a study of echoic glossing and artificial terminology meant to evoke the phonological contours of abstruse target terms.
    "Notable Manuscripts in South Carolina Collections": study of eight significant manuscripts in South Carolina collections, with detailed examination of manuscript and textual contexts.
    "Medieval Manuscripts at the University of Dayton": unpublished manuscripts and texts from the University of Dayton's Roesch Library and Marian Library, for Marian Library Studies.

    MS-LINK. A site devoted to re-unifying dismembered manuscript leaves into virtual codices.
    Dated and Datable Manuscripts in North American Collections. A web-based paleographical resources providing digital images of dated and datable manuscripts in North America.

A Legacy of Medieval Manuscripts in the American South. An exhibition of fifty medieval treasures rarely, if ever, exhibited, from small collections in the American South. Proposed to the Columbia Museum of Art. Includes an exhibition catalogue.

Selected Publications 

    Heroic Identity in the World of Beowulf, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2008.
    A Census of Medieval Manuscripts in South Carolina Collections, Columbia, SC: Thomas Cooper Library, 2007.
    Aldhelmi Malmesbiriensis Prosa de virginitate cum glosa latina atque anglosaxonica, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina, two vols. TurnhouBrepols, 2001.
    with David Porter, Anglo-Saxon Conversations: The Colloquies of ælfric Bata, Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 1997.
    Latin Colloquies from Pre-Conquest Britain, Toronto Medieval Latin Texts 22, Toronto: Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies, 1996.

    Pages from the PasA Legacy of Medieval Books in South Carolina Collections. Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina, January-April 2008. Exhibition of 90 medieval manuscript items from public collections statewide. This $160,000 event opened in January 2008 with cooperation from seven campus units and eight off-campus partners. It attracted 1200 guests, gained a major grant, received statewide publicity, and presented, for the first time, a concert of medieval polyphony arranged by a USC undergraduate.
    Heroicons: Fantasy Images of Beowulf, Grendel and the Dragon. Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina, November-December 2007. Exhibition of 40 illustrated facsimiles, editions, and translations of Beowulf, with modern ephemera (posters, games, comix) based on the poem.

WEBSITE A web-based resource of digital images and bibliographical data from approximately 130 medieval manuscripts in South Carolina collections.

    Richard Gameson, The Earliest Books of Canterbury Cathedral: Manuscripts and Fragments to c. 1200 (London, 2008), in Papers of the Bibliographical Society 103 (2009), 248-51.
    Rochelle Altman, Absent Voices: The Story of Writing Systems in the West (New Castle, DE, 2004) in Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 100 (2006), 125-34.
    Paolo Gatti, Un glossario bernense (Bern, Burgerbibliothek, A. 91 [18]): Edizione e commento, Trento: Dipartimento di Scienze Filologiche e Storiche, 2001 in Speculum 78 (2003), 1291-2.
    Duo Glossaria: Anonymi Montepessulanensis Dictionarius (Le Glossaire Latin-Français du Ms. Montpellier H236. Ed. Anne Grondeux; Glossarium Gallico-Latinum (Le Glossaire Français-Latin du Ms. Paris lat. 7684. Ed. Brian Merrilees and Jacques Monfrin. Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Medievalis, series in quarto II. Lexica Latina Medii Aevi 2. Ed. Brian Merrilees and Jacques             Monfrin. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 1998. Pp. 1-271 in Speculum 78 (2003), 507-9.
    Peter Stotz, Handbuch zur lateinischen Sprache des Mittelalters, Munich: C. H. Beck, 2000, in Speculum 78 (2003), 267-70.
    R. B. C. Huygens, Ars edendi: A Practical Introduction to Editing Medieval Latin Texts, TurnhouBrepols, 2000, in Speculum 78 (2003), 531-3.
    David Howlett, Cambro-Latin Compositions: Their Competence and Craftsmanship, Dublin, 1998, in Speculum 76 (2001), 472-4.
    M. Gretsch, The Intellectual Foundations of the English Benedictine Reform (Cambridge, 1999) in Studi Medievali 41 (2000), 713-23.
    H. Gneuss, Books and Libraries in Early England (Aldershot, 1996) in Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 93 (1999), 279-281.
    M. Richter, Die altenglischen Glossen zu Aldhelms De laudibus virginitatis in der Handschrift BL, Royal 6. B.vii (Munich, 1996) in Speculum 74 (1999), 820-22.
    Andy Orchard, The Poetic Art of Aldhelm (Cambridge, 1994) in Speculum 73 (1998), 877-79.
    L. Crinelli and A. Fantoni, Treasures from Italy's Great Libraries (New York, 1997) in Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 92 (1998), 349-51.
    Andy Orchard, The Poetic Art of Aldhelm (Cambridge, 1994) in Notes and Queries 242 (1997), 244.
    Burt Kimmelman, The Poetics of Authorship in the Later Middle Ages, Studies in the Humanities 21 (New York, 1996) in Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 91 (1997), 429-30.
    D. Scragg & P. Szarmach, Editing Old English Texts (Woodbridge, 1994) in Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 89 (1995), 351-53.
    Nigel Ramsey, Margaret Sparks and Tim Tatton-Brown, edd., St. Dunstan: His Life, Times and Cult, (Woodbridge, 1992) in Journal of Medieval Latin 4 (1994), 209-13.
    Brita Larsson, Johannes Magnus' Latin Letters: A Critical Edition with Introduction and Commentary, Studia Graeca et Latina Lundensia 3 (Lund, 1992) in Scandinavian Studies 35 (1993), 583-85.
    Theodore M. Andersson and William Ian Miller, Law and Literature in Medieval Iceland: Ljósvetninga saga and Valla-Ljóts saga (Stanford, 1989) in Scintilla 7 (1990), 52-4.

    "Paradigmatic Wisdom and the Native Genre giedd in Old English" (Studi Medievali).
    "Anglo-Saxon Schoolbooks," in The Cambridge History of the Book, vol. 1, ed. R. Gameson (Cambridge, 2010).
    "Gloss, Commentary; Bilingualism" and various other entries for The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages, ed. Robert Bjork (Oxford, 2010).
    "The Dissemination of Aldhelm's Prosa de virginitate," The History of English Lexicographers Ashgate).
    Review of Siân Echard, Printing the Middle Ages (Philadelphia, PA, 2008), in Papers of the Bibliographical Society.
    Review of Richard North, The Origins of Beowulf: From Vergil to Wiglaf (Oxford, 2006), in Studi Medievali.
    Review of Piero Boitani and Jill Mann, The Cambridge Companion to Chaucer (Cambridge, 2003), in Studi Medievali.

Recent Presentations 

    "Intimacies of the Medieval Book" (Southeast Association for Book Arts, Columbia, SC, 2009).
    "Understanding the Bilingual Glosses to Aldhelm's Prose Treatise on Virginity through Concepts ofSecond Language Learning" (Medieval Academy of America, 2009).
    "An Ohio Bibliodyssey: 6000 Miles, 20 Collections, 300 Medieval Books" (Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Center for Epigraphical and Paleographical Studies, The Ohio State University, 2009).
    "The Wisdom Context of the Hunferð Episode of Beowulf" (University of Bern, School of English Language and Literature, 2008).
    "Appreciating the Heroic Catastrophe: Why Beowulf's Dragon Fight Resembles The Battle of Maldon and What It Means for Germanic Heroic Literature" (Columbia University Medieval Studies Colloquium, 2008).
    "Pages from the Past: A Legacy of Medieval Books in South Carolina Collections" (opening Address, 2007, with three additional lectures in 2008).
    "One Passage from the Alfredian Meters of Boethius Minus Four Cardinal Virtues Equals Two Germanic Vices Illustrated in Six Old English Poems" (Forty-Second Congress on    Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, 2007).
    "Praising and Appraising Heroic Deeds: Kingly Generosity in Beowulf" (University of South Carolina Medieval Studies Colloquium, April 2007).
    "Manuscripts of the Canterbury Recension of Aldhelm's Prose Treatise on Virginity," Thirty-Third Annual St Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies, St. Louis, MO (October 2006).
    "Hengest and Beowulf in the 'gidd' of Finnesburh," International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, 2004.
    "Education in Dark Age Wales and Cornwall: Understanding De raris fabulis," Fourth Kathleen Hughes Memorial Lecture, Cambridge University (2003).
    "An Innovative Summer Course Designed for Pre-Service and In-Service Language Arts Teachers," 2003 Professional Development Schools National Conference, Orlando (2003).
    "University Arts and Sciences Interaction in the High School Setting: Issues of Instructional Diversity," Annual Conference of the National Network for Educational Renewal, Denver (2001).
    "Enhancing Partnerships: Finding Common Ground in the Midst of Diversity and Change," Annual Conference of the National Network for Educational Renewal, Denver (2001).
    "Insular Paleography and the History of Uncial Script," North and South: Identity, Imagination and Memory in Medieval and Renaissance Culture, Columbia, SC (2001).
    "Bilingual Competence in Pre-Conquest England: Lexical Simplification and Reading Strategies in the Comprehension of Latin," International Society of Anglo-Saxonists, Notre Dame, IN (1999).
    "Old English Scratched Glosses and Latin Literacy in Pre-Conquest England," Internationale Fachkonferenz Mittelalterliche volkssprachige Glossen, Bamberg (1999).
    "The Moral Instruction of Boys in the Tenth-Century Anglo-Saxon Monastery," Medieval Academy of America (1998).
    "Glosses to Aldhelm's Prose De virginitate and Glossaries from the Anglo-Saxon Golden Age, ca. 670-800," International Society of Anglo-Saxonists (1997).
    "Aspects of Medieval Pedagogy: Second Language Acquisition and Competence in Latin Among Speakers of Old English," Thirty-Second International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI (1997).
    "Middle English in Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts," SAMLA (1996).
    "Old English Substrate in ælfric Bata's Tenth-Century Latin Idiom," SAMLA (1995).
    "Genre in Old English and the Latin Context of OE giedd," Twenty-First Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Medieval Association, Charleston, SC (1995).
    "The Origin and Transmission of Glosses to Aldhelm of Malmesbury's Epistola ad Ehfridum," Twenty-First St. Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies, St. Louis (1994).
    "The Origin and Transmission of the Old English and Latin Glosses to Aldhelm of Malmesbury's Prosa de Virginitate," Medieval Academy of America, Knoxville (1994).
    "The Rise of Aldhelm Studies in Late Anglo-Saxon England and Manuscripts of the Prosa de Virginitate," Medieval Association of the Pacific, Seattle (1994).
    "Latin Literacy in Tenth-Century England: Contemporary Glosses to 'Curriculum' Texts as Evidence of Reading Comprehension and (Mis)interpretation," Twenty-Eighth International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI (1993).

Other Information 

    Marshall Scholarship, Regional Selection Committee, 2009-.
    Session Chair and Moderator, "Ambiguity in Old English Poetry," SAMLA, 2007.
    Co-chair, Southeast Association for Book Arts, biennial conference, 2006.
    Teaching Committee, Dept of English, USC, 2006-.
    Co-chair, Southeast Association for Book Arts, biennial conference, 2004.
    Co-Founder, Southeast Association for Book Arts, Columbia, SC, 2003-.
    Session Chair, Old English and Anglo-Norman, The Citadel Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Literature, 2002.
    Session Chair, Canterbury Tales, Nineteenth Annual Meeting of SEMA, 1993.
    Session Organizer and Chair, Medieval Education, Twenty-First Annual Meeting of SEMA, 1995.
    Session Organizer and Chair, Intersections of Old and Middle English, SAMLA, 1996.
    Chair, Nominating Committee, Old English Section, SAMLA, 1997.
    Reader, University of Toronto Press, 1997-.
    Reader, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 2005-.
    Reader, Tolkien Studies, 2005-.
    Reader, Exemplaria, 2008-.
    Reviewer, Publications of the Bibliographical Society of America, 1994-.
    Reviewer, Speculum, 1998-.
    Reviewer, Studi Medievali, 1999-.

    ΦBK Steering Committee, USC, 2009-.
    Founder, USC Studio for Book Arts and Printing History, a collaboration involving the departments of Art and English, the USC Honors College, the College of Mass Communication and Information Science, and USC Housing. The 1500 sf facility incorporates The Maxcy Press, a letterpress operation I founded in 2000, and studio space for silk-screening, paper-making and bookbinding.
    USC, South Carolina Honors College, Discovery Summer Camp, 2004-2007.
    Founder, University of South Carolina Medieval Studies Colloquium, 2007.
    Founder, Southeast Association for Book Arts, 2003-.
    Member, Ex Libris Society (USC Library Donors), 2008-.
    University Athletics Committee
    University Committee on Fellowships and Summer Programs
    Departmental Hiring Committees (English, Classics)
    Departmental Teaching Committee (English)
    Chair, British Marshall Scholarship Sub-Committee
    Director of Master of Arts in Teaching Program
    Advisor, Dept. of English
    Departmental Graduate Committee
    Chair, MA and PhD Comprehensive Examinations
    Departmental Undergraduate Committee
    Departmental Job Placement Committee
    Faculty Advisor and Founder, University Chess Club