University of Calgary

Murray McGillivray

  • Professor Emeritus of English

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.

Professional Description

My research interests centre on textual criticism and textual editing, and in particular on the application of electronic technology to the presentation of editions. This interest resulted in the 1997 publication of my CD-ROM edition of Geoffrey Chaucer's Book of the Duchess. I am currently working on a project to produce an electronic edition of the poems of British Library MS Cotton Nero A.x., the famous manuscript containing the late 14th century poems Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Patience, and Cleanness. I am also rather slowly editing all known Old Engllish poetry in a Web edition:

I have also explored electronic approaches to university instruction, in particular in my on-line courses in Old English language and literature, and to scholarly communication.

I teach Old and Middle English, the history of the English language, and a range of literature and theory courses. I have particular interests in Chaucer, the Pearl Poet, Beowulf, the Exeter Book, and the Middle English romances.

One teaching interest I have been pursuing for the last several years is the incorporation of my own research into the classroom, particularly by engaging students in some of the hands-on work of editing medieval texts and producing electronic and print publications from them. Students learn some practical skills in the courses where I do this, including employment skills such as HTML coding and proofreading. They also find it very exciting to be involved in producing a useful product in an English class.

In my critical or theoretical courses, I also stress active engagement and real contemporary problems and cruxes that scholars are grappling with. Particularly in senior courses, I think of the class as an exciting opportunity to think through puzzling and difficult contemporary problems with a group of intelligent people who can bring varying points of view to bear.

Even in junior courses, I think students learn best when they see how the work they are doing relates to the problems and issues of contemporary society and also to the research that is going on in the university, so I try to frame our study in those terms and to approach it in a problem-solving way.

I'm probably a bit old-fashioned in having a strong attachment to correct and persuasive writing, and I put a lot of energy into helping students to write well, because I think writing is a skill that will stand by them for their entire lives.

Please see my personal home page at for links to various projects and a full curriculum vitae.

Research Groups

  • Medieval and Renaissance Cultural Studies Research Group (MARCS)
  • Medieval and Renaissance Cultural Studies Research Group (MARCS)


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