Professor Richard Dance

Old and Middle English language and literature, Germanic Philology, English etymology; especially the influence of Old Norse on early English vocabulary and the language and style of early English poetry.
Director of Studies in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic; Praelector; Clerk to the Governors of the Skerne Exhibition Foundation
Professor of Early English

Professor Richard Dance is Director of Studies in ASNC at St Catharine's, a Fellow of the College and a Professor in the ASNC department. He has published on various aspects of Old and Middle English language and literature, including work on Wulfstan, 'The Battle of Maldon', Layamon's 'Brut', 'Ancrene Wisse' and 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight', and is particularly interested in the influence of Old Norse on early English. After studying at the University of Oxford, he came to the College in 1997. He is the principal teacher of Old English in Cambridge, and lectures and supervises widely in that subject (and in Germanic Philology) for the ASNC tripos. He is Editorial Secretary of the Early English Text Society ( and an etymological consultant for the Oxford English Dictionary.

Words Derived from Old Norse in Early Middle English: Studies in the Vocabulary of the South-West Midland Texts (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2003)

'Glossary' (and some 'Notes') in Ancrene Wisse: A Corrected Edition of the Text in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 402, with Variants from Other Manuscripts, ed. Bella Millett, vol. 2 (Oxford University Press, 2007)

With Laura Wright (eds.), The Use and Development of Middle English: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Middle English, Cambridge 2008 (Peter Lang, 2012).

'Getting A Word In: Contact, Etymology and English Vocabulary in the Twelfth Century' (The Sir Israel Gollancz Memorial Lecture 2013), Journal of the British Academy 2 (2014), 153–211

Words Derived from Old Norse in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: An Etymological Survey, Publications of the Philological Society 50, 2 vols (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019)

The British Academy's 2021 Sir Israel Gollancz Prize for ‘The Gersum Project: The Scandinavian Influence on English Vocabulary'; The University of Cambridge Pilkington Prize for excellence in teaching