School of Divinity, History and Philosophy,
University of Aberdeen,
Professor in the Literature and Culture of Britain, Ireland & Iceland
Winner of the 2008 best book prize of the British Society for Literature and Science (click here), and the 2008 best book prize of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts.
For an essay review of this book, click on this link: PDF
For information on Icelandic Histories and Romances, see Amazon.
For a review of this book in Saga-Book of the Viking Society, click on the following link and scroll down to pp. 137-9: http://www.vsnrweb-publications.org.uk/2003_XXVII.pdf
My research currently falls into four linked areas: mediaeval Celtic literature, mediaeval Scandinavian literature, modern history of science, and literary history in the long nineteenth century. My specific interests within these fields are:
- Science and literature, and the literary study of science-writing, 1750-1950 (mainly in Britain and America)
- The prehistory of science fiction, 1850-1950 (Britain, America, France)
- The history of popular science and science communication, 1750-present
- Religion and the physical sciences since 1800
- Mediaeval Irish legendary, historical and mythological narrative, 700-1200
- Mediaeval Icelandic legendary, historical, mythological and chivalric narrative, 1200-1600
- Fictionality and genre in mediaeval narrative
- Kingship ideology in mediaeval Ireland
- Dragons, dinosaurs and other monsters of science
I have just completed my fourth book, The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel: Kingship and Narrative Artistry in a Mediaeval Irish Saga (Oxford University Press, February 2013). I am currently participating in a collaborative research project at the Centre for Advanced Study, Oslo, on the representation of the warrior in relation to the king in northwest Europe, 600-1600. With Dr Michael Taylor of National Museums Scotland I am editing a new annotated edition of Hugh Miller's literary masterpiece The Old Red Sandstone. With Dr Ben Marsden and Dr Hazel Hutchison of the University of Aberdeen I am editing Uncommon Contexts: Encounters between Science and Literature in Britain, 1800-1914.
In 2009-10 my research was supported by the AHRC-funded Research Leave Scheme. This award was made via the Modern Languages panel in order to enable me to finish my book The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel.
In 2012-13 I am in receipt of a grant and stipend from the Centre for Advanced Study in Oslo to enable me to attend as Fellow for the year.
- HI 1518 Vikings!
- CE 1028 Romans, Celts, Druids, and Warriors
- CE 2027 Arthur in Medieval Welsh and Gaelic Literature
- CE 2028 The Vikings in Scotland AD 795-1266
- CE 2529 History of the Celtic Languages
- CU 2507 Brains, Breeding and the Bomb: From Enlightenment to Scepticism
- CU 3011 Science and Religion: From Galileo to Creationism
- CE 3585/4585 Tales of Vengeance and Enchantment: Mediaeval Irish Sagas
- CE 3575/4575 Celtic Myth in the Modern World: From Ossian to the New Age
- EL 40BL Frankenstein to Einstein: Literature and Science
- CU 4029 Aspects of Culture
- HA 4057 Critical Perspectives in Art History
- HI 5029 Mediaeval Texts and Manuscripts
- CU 5510 Trolls, Druids and the Walking Dead: Visions of the Pagan Past in Mediaeval Ireland and Iceland
Contributions to Journals
- O'Connor, RJ. 'Compilation as Creative Artistry: A Reassessment of ‘Narrative Inconsistency’ in Togail Bruidne Da Derga'. Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies, vol 65, pp. (22343 words).
- O'Connor, RJ. (2012). 'Astronomy and dream-visions in late mediaeval Iceland: Stjörnu-Odda draumr and the emergence of Norse legendary fiction'. Journal of English and Germanic Philology, pp. 474-512.
- O'Connor, RJ. (2012). 'Victorian saurians: The linguistic prehistory of the modern dinosaur'. Journal of Victorian Culture, vol 17, no. 4, pp. 492-504.
[Online] DOI: 10.1080/13555502.2012.738896
- O'Connor, RJ. (2009). 'From the Epic of Earth History to the Evolutionary Epic in Nineteenth-Century Britain'. Journal of Victorian Culture, vol 14, no. 2, pp. 207-223.
[Online] DOI: 10.3366/E1355550209000794
- O'Connor, RJ. (2009). 'Reflections on Popular Science in Britain: Genres, Categories and Historians'. Isis, vol 100, pp. 333-345.
- O'Connor, RJ. (2007). 'Young-earth creationists in early nineteenth-century Britain?: Towards a reassessment of 'Scriptural geology''. History of Science, vol 45, no. 4, pp. 357-403.
- O'Connor, RJ. (2006). 'The poetics of earth science: 'Romanticism' and the two cultures'. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, vol 36, pp. 607-617.
[Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.shpsa.2005.07.004
- O'Connor, RJ. (2006). 'Searching for the moral in Bruiden Meic Da Reo'. Ériu, vol 56, pp. 1-27.
- O'Connor, RJ. (2005). 'History or fiction? Truth-claims and defensive narrators in Icelandic romance-sagas'. Mediaeval Scandinavia, vol 15, pp. 101-169.
- O'Connor, RJ. (2003). 'Thomas Hawkins and geological spectacle'. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, vol 114, pp. 227-241.
- O'Connor, RJ. (2000). 'Stepmother Sagas: An Irish Analogue for Hjálmþérs saga ok Ölvérs'. Scandinavian Studies, vol 72, no. 1, pp. 1-48.
- O'Connor, RJ. (2000). 'Not Drowning but Waving: The Sagas of Icelanders after the Golden Age'. Quaestio, vol 1, pp. 66-81.
- O'Connor, RJ. (1999). 'Mammoths and Maggots: Byron and the Geology of Cuvier'. Romanticism, vol 5, no. 1, pp. 26-42.
Comments and Debates
- O'Connor, RJ. (2006). 'Interrogating genre in the fornaldarsogur (contribution to round-table discussion)'. Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, vol 2, pp. 291-293.
Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings
- O'Connor, RJ. (2009). 'Truth and lies in the fornaldarsogur: the prologue to Gongu-Hrolfs saga'. in Armann Jakobsson, Annette Lassen & A Ney (eds), Fornaldarsagaerne: Myths and Reality. Museum Tusculanums Forlag, Copenhagen, Denmark, pp. 361-378.
- O'Connor, RJ. (2009). 'Facts and Fancies: The Geological Society of London and the Wider Public, 1807-1837'. in CLE Lewis & SJ Knell (eds), The Making of the Geological Society of London. vol. 317, Geological Society special publication, vol. 317, The Geological Society, Bath, UK, pp. 331-340.
- O'Connor, RJ. (2008). 'Storytelling and the Otherworld in Togail Bruidne Da Derga'. in A Bergholm & K Ritari (eds), Approaches to Mythology and Religion in Celtic Studies. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, pp. 54-67.
- O'Connor, RJ. (2008). 'Byron’s Afterlife and the Emancipation of Geology'. in B Beatty, Tony Howe & CE Robinson (eds), Liberty and Poetic Licence: New Essays on Byron. Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, UK, pp. 147-164.
- O'Connor, RJ. (2003). 'Hugh Miller and geological spectacle'. in L Borley (ed.), Celebrating the life and times of Hugh Miller: Scotland in the early nineteenth century. University of Aberdeen, Elphinstone Institute, Cromarty and Aberdeen, pp. 237-258.
Entries for Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
- O'Connor, RJ. (2006). 'Lyell, Charles'. in J Merriman & J Winter (eds), Europe 1789 to 1914, Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire. vol. 3 of 5, Charles Scribner's Sons, Detroit, pp. 1401-1403.
Books and Reports
- O'Connor, RJ. (in press). 'The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel: Kingship and Narrative Artistry in a Mediaeval Irish Saga'. Oxford University Press.
- Marsden, B., Hutchison, H. & O'Connor, RJ. (eds) (in press). 'Uncommon Contexts: Encounters between Science and Literature 1800-1914'. Pickering & Chatto, London.
- O'Connor, RJ. (ed.) (2012). 'Victorian Science and Literature Part II: Vol. 7: Science as Romance'. Pickering & Chatto, London.
- O'Connor, RJ. (2007). 'The Earth on Show: Fossils and the Poetics of Popular Science, 1802-1856'. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.
- O'Connor, RJ. (2002). 'Icelandic histories and romances'. Tempus, Stroud.
Contributions to Specialist Publications
- O'Connor, RJ. (2006). 'Kirkdale Cave and the poetry of William Buckland'. p. 39-41, Studies in Speleology, 14.