Undergraduate Graduate People News & Events

Scott Gwara


Areas of Specialization

Recently Taught Courses

CPLT 390 Great Books of the Western World, Part I
CPLT 415G Heroic Legends of the North (Early Medieval Germanic Literature)
ENGL 102 Freshman composition
ENGL 282 Fiction: The Modern Bestseller
ENGL 283 Legends of King Arthur
ENGL H288 Honors Survey of English Literature
ENGL 380 From Epic to Romance
ENGL 419I Legends of King Arthur: Honors College Proseminar
ENGL 650B/769B Literature and Theory for Language Arts Teachers
ENGL 702 Old English
ENGL 703 Beowulf
SCCC 281A Proseminar: Introduction to Inquiry in the Humanities

Professional Accolades

Current Research Projects


Anglo-Saxon Heroic Style. Analysis of the culture of Old English heroic literature in multiple genres. Examines violence, political discourse and self-control as a function of "moral" behavior from a fatalistic perspective. Identities of warrior/king, insider/outsider, young/old, etc. in articulation of ideals. Discussion of identity in the nexus of social expectations and self-restraint.

New Essays on Pre-Conquest Heroism. Co-edited with Richard North (UCL). A collection of original articles contesting the "heroic code" and asserting new understandings of martial behavior, violence, and linguistic codes of heroic performance.

Carolingian Song: Alcuin's Collected Verse. English translation of Alcuin's verse. Solicited for the Dumbarton Oaks series on Medieval Latin classics.

A History of Medieval Manuscripts in North America. A study detailing how medieval manuscripts came to North America, the collectors who bought them, what the manuscripts tell us about American collectors, and where the collections now reside.


"Puns in Beowulf": an examination of deliberate bivalences in nominal compounds, suggesting that the poet expressed situational ironies in complex amphibolies.

"Praising and Appraising Heroic Deeds: Kingly Generosity in Beowulf": consideration of royal gift-giving as entailing self-conscious, public appraisals of generosity, as patently excessive. Emphasis on praise in similar terms, as exaggeration of accomplishment. Exploration of gifting parlance as euphemizing.

"Marie de France, the Illuminated English Psalter, and Devotional Parody in Yonec": a study outlining the evidence that Affective Piety encoded imagined sexual acts that launched erotic meditations. Evidence for the imagery of meditation from illuminated Psalters.

"Anglo-Saxon Mnemotechniques and Old English Scholastic Diction": a study of echoic glossing and artificial terminology meant to evoke the phonological contours of abstruse target terms.

"Notable Manuscripts in South Carolina Collections": study of eight significant manuscripts in South Carolina collections, with detailed examination of manuscript and textual contexts.

"Medieval Manuscripts at the University of Dayton": unpublished manuscripts and texts from the University of Dayton's Roesch Library and Marian Library, for Marian Library Studies.


MS-LINK. A site devoted to re-unifying dismembered manuscript leaves into virtual codices.

Dated and Datable Manuscripts in North American Collections. A web-based paleographical resources providing digital images of dated and datable manuscripts in North America.


A Legacy of Medieval Manuscripts in the American South. An exhibition of fifty medieval treasures rarely, if ever, exhibited, from small collections in the American South. Proposed to the Columbia Museum of Art. Includes an exhibition catalogue.

Selected Publications

Refereed Articles and Book Chapters

Pages from the PasA Legacy of Medieval Books in South Carolina Collections. Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina, January-April 2008. Exhibition of 90 medieval manuscript items from public collections statewide. This $160,000 event opened in January 2008 with cooperation from seven campus units and eight off-campus partners. It attracted 1200 guests, gained a major grant, received statewide publicity, and presented, for the first time, a concert of medieval polyphony arranged by a USC undergraduate.

Heroicons: Fantasy Images of Beowulf, Grendel and the Dragon. Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina, November-December 2007. Exhibition of 40 illustrated facsimiles, editions, and translations of Beowulf, with modern ephemera (posters, games, comix) based on the poem.

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Recent Presentations

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