Michael J. Alexander

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Michael Joseph Alexander (born 1941) is a British translator, academic and broadcaster. He held the Berry Chair of English Literature at the University of St Andrews until his retirement in 2003, he translated Beowulf into modern English verse.

He was educated at Downside School, read English at Oxford University, then spent a year in France and in Italy, attending the University of Perugia. He then spent some years working in the publishing industry in London, interrupted by attending Princeton University, before taking up his post at St. Andrews he was a lecturer at the University of Stirling.[1]

He translated several works of Old English verse, his verse translation of Beowulf being singled out for particular praise.[2]

For many years he was a member of the Scottish team in Radio 4's Round Britain quiz show.


Criticism, scholarship, educational
  • The Poetic Achievement of Ezra Pound (1979)
  • York Notes on Geoffrey Chaucer's "Prologue to the Canterbury Tales" (1999, with Mary Alexander)
  • A History Of English Literature (2000, 2007, 2013)
  • A History of Old English Literature (2002)
  • Mediaevalism: The Middle Ages in Modern England (2007)
  • Reading Shakespeare (2013)
  • Twelve Poems (1978)
  • Beowulf: A Glossed Text (1995, revised 2000)
  • The Earliest English Poems (1966)
  • Beowulf: A Verse Translation (1973, revised 2001)
  • Old English Riddles: from the Exeter Book (1980, revised 2007)


  1. ^ Biographical information at front of The Earliest English Poems translated by Michael Alexander, Penguin Classics, 1972 reprint
  2. ^ "St. Andrews faculty page". 

External links[edit]