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John Scattergood, M.A. (Birmingham, Dublin), Litt. D. (Dublin), F.T.C.D., M.R.I.A. Professor Emeritus, Former Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature, Former Pro-Chancellor of the University of Dublin

John Scattergood was educated at the University of Birmingham and King’s College London.  From 1964 to 1980 he was a member of the Department of English at the University of Bristol:  he was made Reader in Medieval English in 1978.  Between 1980 and 2006 (when he retired) he was Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature in the School of English.  In addition to spells as head of department and chairman of the School of English he was Senior lecturer of the College in 1984-87 and in 1990-91, Dean of the Faculty of Arts (Letters) in 1995-2001 and Senior Proctor in 2002-2005.  In 2008 he was elected one of the Pro-Chancellors of the University of Dublin.  He continued to teach and supervise on the MPhil course in Medieval Language, Literature and Culture until 2018.  In 1981 he was elected to a Fellowship of Trinity College  Dublin, and is now a Fellow Emeritus. In 1991 he was elected to membership of the Royal irish Academy, of which he is now a life member.                                                                                                                                                                                                            .

His teaching and research are mainly on the literature of the later Middle Ages and the early Renaissance.  He specializes in literature with a social, political and historical dimension and on texts dealing with religious controversy:  he has written extensively on Chaucer, Langland, late medieval alliterative poetry and Skelton.  He is interested in cultural materialism and urban history and has written on the social impact of medieval and renaissance maps and clocks.  He has published extensively, taking his materials mainly from the manuscript holdings of Trinity College library, on codicology and palaeography.  He is the author or editor of the following books:

  • Politics and Poetry in the Fifteenth Century (Blandford:  London, 1971)

  • The Works of Sir John Clanvowe:  The Boke of Cupide and The Two Ways, edited by V. J.  Scattergood (D. S. Brewer, Rowman and Littlefield:  Cambridge, Totowa NJ, 1975)

  • English Court Culture in the Later Middle Ages, edited by V. J. Scattergood and J. W. Sherborne (Duckworth:  London, 1983)

  • John Skelton:  The Complete English Poems, edited by John Scattergood (Yale University Press and Penguin Books:  New Haven and London, 1983)

  • Literature and Learning in Medieval and Renaissance England:  Essays Presented to Fitzroy Pyle, edited by John Scattergood (Irish Academic Press:  Dublin, 1984)

  • Oxford Guides to Chaucer:  The Shorter Poems [A. J. Minnis, with V. J. Scattergood and J. J. Smith], (Clarendon Press:  Oxford, 1995)

  • Reading the Past: Essays on Medieval and Renaissance Literature, (Four Courts Press: Dublin, 1996)

  • Texts and Their Contexts:  Papers from the Early Book Society edited by John Scattergood and Julia Boffey (Four Courts Press:  Dublin, 1997)

  • Text and Gloss:  Studies In Insular Learning and Literature Presented to Joseph Donovan Pheifer, edited by Helen Conrad O'Briain, Anne Marie D'Arcy, and John Scattergood (Four Courts Press: Dublin, 1999)

  • The Lost Tradition:  Essays on Middle English Alliterative Poetry (Four Courts   Press: Dublin, 2000)

In 2006 a festschrift was published to celebrate his 65th birthday:

  • Studies in late Medieval and Early Renaissance Texts in Honour of John Scattergood, edited by Anne Marie D’Arcy and Alan Fletcher (Four Courts Press: Dublin, 2006)

Since then he has published:

  • Italian Culture:  Interactions, Transpositions, Translations edited by Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin, Corinna Salvadori and John Scattergood (Four Courts Press:  Dublin, 2006)

  • Manuscripts and Ghosts:  Essays on the Transmission of Late Medieval and Early       Renaissance Literature (Four Courts Press:  Dublin, 2006)

  • Occasions for Writing: Essays on Medieval and Renaissance Literature, Politics and Society (Four Courts Press: Dublin, 2010)

In 2012 a second festschrift was published essentially by his friends and former students.

  • Transmission and Generation in Medieval and Renaissance Literature: Essays in Honour of John Scattergood, edited by Karen Hodder and Brendan O’Connell (Four Courts Press: Dublin, 2012)

Since then he has published:

  •  John Skelton: The Career of an Early Tudor Poet (Four Courts Press: Dublin, 2014)

  • John Skelton:  The Complete English Poems, revised edition, edited by John Scattergood (Liverpool University Press: Liverpool, 2015)

  • A Critical Companion to John Skelton, edited by Sebastian Sobecki and John Scattergood (D.S. Brewer: Cambridge, 2018)

  • Trinity College Library Dublin: A Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Midddle English and Some Old English (with the assistance of Niamh Pattwell and Emma Williams) (Four Courts Press: Dublin, 2021

In addition he has published two books of poetry:  In Leonardo’s Garden (Dublin, 2007) and For Another Year (Dublin, 2009).  Of late he has become interested in medievalism and medievalists.  In 2008 he wrote a long introduction to the reissue of Helen Waddell’s Mediaeval Latin Lyrics (Four Courts Press: Dublin, 2008) and in 2009 an essay on John Matthew Kemble as an introduction to The Kemble Lectures on Anglo-Saxon Studies 2005-2008, which he edited with his colleagues Alice Jorgensen and Helen Conrad-O’Briain.  He has written about 110 journal articles or chapters in books.  These are all listed along with his books, on the RSS. He is also the series editor for Dublin Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, which is published by Four Courts Press.

He has always interested himself in the international, particularly European, dimension of higher education.  He has given invited lectures and conferences papers at numerous universities in Britain, North America and Europe.  He has taught for short spells, mainly on ERASMUS and SOCRATES exchanges, at the universities of Leuven, Copenhagen and Bologna, and for longer periods at the Centre d’Ētudes Supérieures de la Renaissance at the Université François Rabelais Tours (1995) and at the Universiteit Utrecht (2007).  He was Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford in 2008.  He was Academic Advisor on the Bologna Process for the College. In relation to this he also did some work for the Irish Universities Association and the National Qualifications Framework Ireland and represents both of these groups on networks dealing with the implementation of qualifications frameworks at both a national and international level.


John Scattergood

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