Department of English


English Language and Literature

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Photo: Ruth Wehlau

Ruth Wehlau

Associate Adjunct Professor

PhD Toronto

  • Old English poetry
  • Middle English drama and romance
  • medievalism from the 18th century to the present
  • Ireland and Irish Gaelic
  • global Englishes
  • endangered languages

"I was originally drawn to Medieval Studies by the pleasure involved in studying and reading early English. As a medievalist I focussed on Old English poetry and medieval drama, and although I maintain an interest in these subjects, over the years I have become fascinated by a number of other areas of interest, including Arthurian traditions, notions of the nation and national narratives, and medievalism—the study of the reception of the Middle Ages in later periods. I am especially curious about geography as an aspect of literature, specifically the interaction of peoples in northern Europe; how does the northern world that stretches from Sweden to Iceland, and which includes the archipelago of the British Isles, create a medieval literary world? Part of this interest revolves around Ireland and other Celtic communities. This interest motivated me to study Irish Gaelic and in turn to take an interest in other endangered languages of the world. Thus my love of English literature and language led me to languages and literatures that have been displaced by English."


  • 613-533-6000, ext. 74405
  • office: Watson Hall, Room 405
  • office hours: Tue. 10-11 am and Thu. 2:30-3 pm

2020-21 Courses

  • ENGL 281 001/3.0 King Arthur: Medieval to Modern
  • ENGL 290 003/3.0 Seminar in Literary Interpretation – Reading Tolkien Reading Beowulf
  • ENGL 411 001-1/3.0 Topics in Medieval Literature II – Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales
  • ENGL 411 001-7/3.0 Topics in Medieval Literature II – The Imaginary Other: Jews and Muslims in Medieval English Literature

Recent Publications

“Alfred and Ireland: Irony and Irish Identity in John O’Keeffe’s Alfred,” European Romantic Review (forthcoming).

“Truth, Fiction and Freedom: The Harrowing of Hell in Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass and Ursula Le Guin’s The Other Wind,” The Year’s Work in Medievalism (2008).