The Second Francis L. Utley Lecture: John D. Niles
Initiated last year, the Utley Lecture is a collaboration between CFS and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in honor of the scholar who established both fields of study at Ohio State. It features a scholar working in Utley's footsteps and combining, as Utley did, expertise in folklore and in medieval literature. This year CMRS takes its turn in organizing the lecture and brings us:
Professor John D. Niles received his PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkley in 1972. His research interests include Old and Middle English Language and Literature, comparative medieval literature, comparative folklore and mythology, and oral literature and the workings of oral tradition. His publications include Beowulf: The Poem and Its Tradition(1983),Homo Narrans: The Poetics and Anthropology of Oral Literature(1999),Old English Enigmatic Poems and the Play of the Texts(2006), and Old English Heroic Poems and the Social Life of Texts(2006). His has published numerous articles and edited a number of volumes on literature and culture. He says, "I like to test all truths, especially the ones that I used to find acceptable. Anthropological approaches to literature are my specialty, but sometimes literature has to resist any 'approach'....I am interested not only in what we know but in how we think we know it, and it the history of that enterprise."