Ms Anya Adair

BA, LLB, MA (Melbourne), M.St. English (Oxford), MA, MPhil, PhD (Yale)
Lecturer in English

A20 - John Woolley Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone 02 9351 8750

Biographical details

I research and teach in the areas of Old and Middle English literature; my interests extend also to book history and manuscript studies, Old Norse language and literature, English poetry and poetics, and the history of the English language.

I hold a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne and graduate degrees in English Literature from Melbourne, Oxford and Yale. At Melbourne and Yale, I have taught creative writing, medieval and early modern English literature, the history of the English language, digital humanities, palaeography and codicology.

My published work includes studies of Old English religious lyrics, the development of emotional metaphor, Old English psalm translations, and Jonathan Swift’s satiric use of personal pronouns. My book historical studies offer commentary on linguistic and palaeographic issues in late-medieval English manuscript production, and on the effects of technological constraints on William Caxton’s early printed works.

The historical scope of my present research covers the seventh to the sixteenth centuries. It aims to unite more closely the fields of medieval law and medieval literature, and to provide insight into the intellectual, emotional and social dimensions of legal and literary production across the period.The diffusion of legal texts and ideas takes my work into the history of emotion, historical and socio-linguistics, religious writing, poetry and poetics, as well as paleography, codicology, and the history of law. In all of these dimensions, my research is driven by a fascination with the minutiae of language, a desire to discover the new patterns and understandings that these details can uncover, and the search for new ways to preserve and demonstrate them.

Research interests

  • Old English language and literature
  • Middle English language and literature
  • Old Norse language and literature
  • Medieval palaeography and codicology
  • Digital humanities
  • Medieval law and legal culture
  • History of the English language

Teaching and supervision

I teach widely across the literature of the medieval period and beyond. I welcome enquiries from students considering studying the languages and literature of the pre-modern period at the University of Sydney.


At present, I teach the undergraduate units ENGL1002 “Narratives of Romance and Adventure” and ENGL3633 “Introduction to Old English”.

Associations

  • American Association of Law Libraries
  • Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies
  • Australian Early Medieval Association
  • Digital Scholarship in the Humanities
  • Early English Text Society
  • Early Book Society
  • International Society of Anglo-Saxonists
  • Medieval Academy of America
  • Medieval Association of the Pacific
  • Modern Language Association
  • New Chaucer Society
  • Text Encoding Initiative Consortium

Awards and honours

TEACHING HONORS

  • 2015-16 Prize Teaching Fellowship, in recognition of outstanding performance as a teacher, Yale University.
  • 2015 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award, national award for leadership in higher education through teaching, Association of American Colleges and Universities.

ACADEMIC HONORS

  • 2012, 2015 Noah Webster Prize for best essay on the history of English, Yale University (twice).
  • 2013 St Peter’s College Academic Prize, Oxford University.
  • 2012 Percival Serle Prize for Thesis of Special Distinction, University of Melbourne.
  • 2011 Dean’s Honours List, University of Melbourne.
  • 2010 H. B. Higgins Poetry Scholarship, University of Melbourne.
  • 2009 Shakespeare Scholarship for best essay on Shakespeare, University of Melbourne.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Adair, A. (2017). Hateful Hills and Joyful Dread: Emotive "Filler Words" in the Old English Metrical Psalms. English Studies, 98(1), 15-25. [More Information]
  • Adair, A. (2016). Swift, Satire and the Second-Person Pronoun. The Review of English Studies, 67(278), 103-121. [More Information]
  • Adair, A. (2013). Joy as a Metaphor for Volition: Old English Lustum, Estum and the Giving of Gifts. Notes and Queries, 60(3), 343-349. [More Information]
  • Adair, A. (2011). The Unity and Authorship of the Old English Advent Lyrics. English Studies, 92(8), 823-848. [More Information]

2017

  • Adair, A. (2017). Hateful Hills and Joyful Dread: Emotive "Filler Words" in the Old English Metrical Psalms. English Studies, 98(1), 15-25. [More Information]

2016

  • Adair, A. (2016). Swift, Satire and the Second-Person Pronoun. The Review of English Studies, 67(278), 103-121. [More Information]

2013

  • Adair, A. (2013). Joy as a Metaphor for Volition: Old English Lustum, Estum and the Giving of Gifts. Notes and Queries, 60(3), 343-349. [More Information]

2011

  • Adair, A. (2011). The Unity and Authorship of the Old English Advent Lyrics. English Studies, 92(8), 823-848. [More Information]

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