University of South Florida
College of Arts and Sciences
Nicole Guenther Discenza
Office: CPR 358-B
Email: ndiscenza (at) usf.edu
I enjoy teaching Old English language and literature, Middle English language and literature, and History of the English Language. My PhD and Master of Medieval Studies are from the University of Notre Dame.
My research focuses primarily on early medieval England. My recent book Inhabited Spaces: Anglo-Saxon Constructions of Place (University of Toronto Press, 2017) explores how early English writers shaped the universe into knowable places, from the earth’s place in the universe to the kingdoms of different peoples to the intimacy of the hall. Educated early medieval English writers described the earth as a ball or a nut at the center of a similarly spherical universe. While they recognized that their home was far from places of power such as Rome and Jerusalem, sometimes they thought with a more northern orientation in which their home was more central. They also frequently connected their island at the margins to the transcendent space of heaven.
Another strand of my research focuses on the translations of Alfred the Great and his circle; in addition to several articles and chapters in the area, I co-edited A Companion to Alfred the Great (Leiden, 2015) with Paul E. Szarmach. My monograph The King’s English: Strategies of Translation in the Old English Boethius (New York, 2005) argues that the Old English Boethius reflects a coherent set of strategies to share classical and patristic knowledge with English speakers while validating particular early medieval English values. My entries on sources of the Old English Boethius are included in Fontes Anglo-Saxonici.
My current research includes my work as bibliographer for Old English Newsletter and a project on wonder and curiosity in Anglo-Saxon England: the relationship between the two, and the different attitudes that different authors took towards each.
I work with graduate students on a variety of projects, particularly ones that encompass more than one era: Old and Middle English, Middle and Early Modern, or all three. I enjoy working with graduate students on such a variety of projects. If you wish to work with me, please contact me!
My Twitter feed is https://twitter.com/ndiscenza1.