Texas Tech University

Brian McFadden

Dr. McFadden studies marvels and miracle stories in Old English and Anglo-Latin prose, especially the concept of the monstrous.  He has edited a special issue of Religion and Literature on visions of the other world and has published articles on Beowulf, the Letter of Alexander to Aristotle, the Venerable Bede's Ecclesiastical History, the Liber Monstrorum, the Exeter Book Physiologus and Phoenix, the Old English lives of St. Margaret, and J.R.R. Tolkien's use of Early Medieval monster lore in his fiction, and the Exeter Book riddles in their tenth-century context.  He has a forthcoming essay on the use of Tolkien's work in teaching about the late classical philosopher Boethius. His book project discusses the compilation of the Beowulf manuscript in the context of tenth-century English social changes.

Website: http://myweb.ttu.edu/bmcfadde

Articles and Book Chapters

"Raiding, Reform, and Reaction: Wondrous Creatures in the Exeter Book Riddles." Texas Studies in Literature and Language 50.4 (2008): 329-51.

"Sweet Odors and Interpretative Authority in the Exeter Book Physiologus and Phoenix." Papers on Language and Literature 42.2 (2006): 181-209.

“‘The Books of Life': Preserving Narrative and Identity in the Old English Lives of St. Margaret.” English Studies 86.6 (2005): 473-92.

"Fear of Difference, Fear of Death: The Sigelwara, Tolkien's Swertings, and Racial Difference." Tolkien's Modern Middle Ages, eds. Jane Chance and Alfred K. Siewers (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005): 155-69.

“Authority and Discourse in the Liber Monstrorum." Neophilologus 89.3 (2005): 473-93.

"The Elements of Discourse: Orality, Literacy, and Nature in the Elemental Miracles of Bede's Ecclesiastical History." American Benedictine Review 55.4 (2004): 442-63.

"The Social Context of Narrative Disruption in The Letter of Alexander to Aristotle." Anglo-Saxon England 30 (2001): 91-114.

"Sleeping After the Feast: Deathbeds, Marriage Beds, and the Power Structure of Heorot." Neophilologus 84.4 (2000): 629-646.

"Visions of the Other World in Medieval Literature: An Introduction." Religion and Literature 31.1 (1999): 1-12.

Edited Special Issue

Religion and Literature 31.1 (1999).


Review of Political Allegory in Late Medieval England,  by Ann Astell. Religion and Literature 32.1 (2000): 123-25.

Review of Deformed Discourse: The Function of the Monster in Mediaeval Thought and Literature, by David Williams. Religion and Literature 29.3 (1997): 95-96.

Review of Job, Boethius, and Epic Truth, by Ann Astell. Religion and Literature 28.1 (1996): 141-42.

Review of A New Earth: The Labor of Language in the Pearl-Poet, Herbert's Temple, and Blake's Jerusalem, by Douglas Thorpe. Religion and Literature 26.2 (1994): 103-4.



TTU Faculty Development Leave, Fall 2009

TTU Arts and Sciences Research Enhancement Fund Grant Recipient, 2002-03


Teaching Academy, Member, inducted 2004

Professing Excellence Award, Spring 2007


Outstanding Service Award, Fall 2005

Awarded by Sigma Tau Delta honor society for faculty sponsorship, 2000-05

Outstanding Faculty Member Award recipient, Fall 2005

Nominated as one of five outstanding faculty members by Omicron Delta Kappa and Mortar Board honor societies

TTU Alumni Association New Faculty Award Recipient, 2004

Works in Progress

Monsters, Vikings and Monks: The Tenth-Century Context of the Beowulf Manuscript
This book will argue that the Benedictine Reform, which originated in monasteries on the Continent in the early tenth century, and the Viking invasions of the late tenth century produced a great deal of cultural anxiety about the Other; the Beowulf MS becomes a site for the expression of these anxieties by its inclusion of five texts that display hostility toward and by foreigners and monsters.


Associate Professor
Early Medieval English Literature

Email: brian.mcfadden@ttu.edu
Office: HUMA 430
Phone: (806) 834-8033