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Faculty of Humanities
English Language & Literature
M.Litt. Glasgow 1970
Areas of Specialization:
Professor Somerville maintains scholarly interests in his teaching areas of 14th and 15th century English literature, Anglo Saxon, Old Norse language and literature, and the history of the English language. He is the winner of two awards for execllence in teaching.
From the late 1970s, Somerville's research was composed largely of work towards The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, a notional analysis and history of the English vocabulary from Anglo-Saxon to the present. His own responsibilities included the semantic analysis and classification of all English words beginning with "B" and "U." He also completed for the same project analyses of the semantic fields of heraldry; astrology/astronomy; rhetoric; poetics; style and language.
Since 2003, Somerville has developed new courses in Old Norse language and literature. This area is now the major focus of his research.
Professor Somerville also publishes on modern authors such as Robert Graves and Evelyn Waugh, and is a published writer of poetry and fiction.
Selected recent publications:
Co-editor with Andrew McDonald (History, Brock), The Viking Age: A Reader. University of Toronto Press, 2010.
Contributor to The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, ed. M. L. Samuels and others. Oxford University Press, 2009. Available online with the OED since December, 2010.
"Sturla Þórðarson and Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar." Paper delivered at the Inaugural St. Magnus Conference, Orkney, April 2011.
Works in Progress:
With Professor Andrew McDonald (History, Brock), Abbot Nikulás of Þverá: Leiðarvísir: an edition, translation, and commentary. Completion date: summer, 2012
With Professor Andrew McDonald (History, Brock), A Companion to the Viking Age. University of Toronto Press, 2012.
'The Changing Face of Theatre Criticism in the Digital Age,' A remarkable two-day colloquium with international reach, part of the Walker Cultural Leader Series for 2013-14