In 1966, after I had completed my “Abitur” (=high-school graduation) at the monastery school of Ettal in Southern Germany, I emigrated to Canada and enrolled in English and Latin at St. Michael’s College of the University of Toronto. In 1967 I interrupted my studies for one year and worked for the International Nickel Company in Thompson/ Manitoba (“North of 55”) as a sampler. In 1971 I completed my B.A., and enrolled at the centre for medieval studies of the University of Toronto for an M.A., which I completed in 1972. And in 1976, still at the centre for medieval studies, I successfully defended my Ph.D. thesis, which is entitled “The Latin Glosses on Arator and Prudentius of Cambridge, University Library Manuscript Gg.5.35.”
My career at the University of British Columbia began as an Assistant Professor in 1976. Promotion to Associate Professor followed in 1983, and to Full Professor in 1991. I have served on the Graduate, Major, English 100, and Curriculum Committees, and have held the posts of Secretary of the Graduate Committee from 1981-1982 and again from 1983 to 1985, Chair of the Majors Committee from 1993 to 1996, and Chair of the Curriculum Committee from 1990 to 1992. I must have done something right, since from departmental Chair of the Curriculum Committee I was catapulted to Chair of the Faculty of Arts Curriculum Committee (1993 – 1996). In 1996 I became Assistant Dean in charge of Arts Academic Advising, a position I held to June 2001. From July 2002 to 30 June 2007 I was Head of the Department of English. In 2008, I became Chair of the Faculty of Arts Curriculum Committee (again!) and of Interdisciplinary Studies. All good things eventually come to an end, and so I retired at the end of August 2014, after 38 years in the Department.
During my time at UBC I have published widely (see “Publications“) in Canada, England, Germany, Italy, and the U.S. The publications fall roughly in three groups: those examining the glosses of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and attempting to determine what these glosses can tell us; those dealing with the contacts of Anglo-Saxons with the Continent; and those discussing aspects of Old English and Anglo-Latin literature (note: “Anglo-Latin” is the Latin written by the Anglo-Saxons). Since retirement I have shifted to a new research area, namely Bede’s exegesis. Because Bede has written so much and because a lot can still be explored on the literary aspects of his exegesis, I suspect that this research area will keep me busy for as long as I have what the Germans call “Schaffenskraft.”
Most of my work is interdisciplinary, crossing the boundaries of literature, language (both Old English and Latin), palaeography, codicology, and history – but then, interdisciplinarity is the hallmark of a medievalist.