University of Minnesota
Department of English

Department of English

Calvin B. Kendall

Professor Emeritus

Central Interests

  • Old English literature (especially Beowulf)
  • Middle English literature (especially Chaucer)
  • Medieval Latin


  • Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of English, 1996-
  • CLA Scholar of the College Award, 1999-2002
  • University of Minnesota Academy of Distinguished Teachers, 1999-2004
  • McKnight Research Award, 1993-96
  • Horace T. Morse-Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions ot Undergraduate Education, 1988


  • Education
    University of California-Berkeley, M.A., Ph.D.
    Bowdoin College, B.A.
  • Teaching Appointments
    University of Minnesota, Professor, 1982-
    University of Minnesota, Graduate Faculty, Interndisciplinary Archaelogocial Studies, 1994-
    University of Minnesota, Graduate Faculty, Medieval Studies, 1992-
    University of Minnesota, Graduate Faculty, Germanic Philology, 1986-
    University of Minnesota, Associate Professor, 1971-82
    University of Minnesota, Assistant Professor, 1967-71
    Seaside High School, Seaside CA, English and Latin Teacher, 1963-67
  • Administrative Appointments
    Director of Graduate Studies, Program in Germanic Philology 1989-90
    Acting Director, Center for Medieval Studies, Fall 1989
    Assistant Chair, Department of English, 1974-77
    Acting Chair, Department of English, Spring 1976


  • Current projects

    A translation, with introduction and notes, of Bede's Commentary on Genesis.

  • Books

    The Allegory of the Church: Romanesque Portals and Their Verse Inscriptions. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998. xv + 401 pp.

    Ed., with Peter Wells. Voyage to the Other World: The Legacy of Sutton Hoo. Medieval Studies at Minnesota 5. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1992. xix + 222 pp.

    Bede's Art of Poetry and Rhetoric: The Latin Text with an English Translation, Introduction, and Notes. Introduction and notes. Bibliotheca Germanica, series nova 2. Saarbrucken AQ-Verlag, 1991. 216 pp.

    The Metrical Grammar of Beowulf. Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England 5. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. xvi+ 318 pp.

    Ed., with Charles W. Jones (editor-in-chief), Margot H. King, and Frances Lipp. Bedae Venerabilis Opera, Pars I, Opera Didascalica. Corpus Christianorum, series latina 123A. Turnhout: Brepols, 1975. xxvi + 237 pp. [Ed., Beda Venerabilis, De Arte Metrica et De Schematibus et Tropis. In Corpus Christianorum 123A: 59-171.]

  • Recent Articles

    "The Verse Inscriptions of the Tympanum of Jaca and the PAX Anagram," Mediaevalia 19 (1996), 405-34.

    "Literacy and Orality in Anglo-Saxon Poetry: Horizontal Displacement in Andreas."  Journal of English and Germanic Philology 95 (1996), 1-18.

    "The Plan of St. Gall: An Argument for a 320-Foot Church Prototype."  Mediaeval Studies 56 (1994), 279-97.

    "The Gate of Heaven and the Fountain of Life: Speech-Act Theory and Portal Inscriptions." Essays in Medieval Studies 10 (1993), 111-28.

    "The Voice in the Stone: The Verse Inscriptions of Ste.-Foy of Conques and the Date of the Tympanum."  Hermeneutics and Medieval Culture, ed. Patrick J. Gallacher and Helen Damico. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989, pp. 163-82.

    "Dry Bones in a Cathedral: The Story of the Theft of Bede's Relics and the Translation of Cuthbert into the Cathedral of Durham in 1104."  Mediaevalia 10 (1988), 1-26.

    "Let Us Now Praise a Famous City: Wordplay in the OE Durham and the Cult of St. Cuthbert." Journal of English and Germanic Philology 87 (1988), 507-21.

  • Other Articles and Chapters

"Introduction: Sutton Hoo and Early Medieval Northern Europe," in Voyage to the Other World, ed. Kendall and Wells, pp. ix-xix (co-authored with Peter S. Wells).

"The Metrical Grammar of Beowulf: Displacement." Speculum 58 (1983), 1-30

"The Prefix un- and the Metrical Grammar of Beowulf. " Anglo-Saxon England 10 (1982), 39-52

"Imitation and the Venerable Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica."  Saints, Scholars, and Heroes, 2 vols., ed. Margot H. King and Wesley M. Stevens. Collegeville, MN: St. John's University, 1979, vol. 1: The Anglo-Saxon Heritage, pp. 161-90.

"Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica: The Rhetoric of Faith."  Medieval Eloquence: Studies in the Theory and Practice of Medieval Rhetoric, ed. James J. Murphy. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1978, pp. 145-72.


  • Graduate seminars
    • EngL 8050: The Allegory of the Church
    • EngL 8110: Medieval Aesthetics Seminar
    • EngL 8210: Old English Poetry/Orality and Literacy
  • Combined graduate and undergraduate courses
    • EngL 5211: Old English (Anglo-Saxon)
    • EngL 5212: Readings in Old English Prose and Verse
    • EngL 5213: Beowulf
  • Courses for undergraduate majors
    • EngL 3008: Techniques of Literary Study
    • EngL 3111: Survey of English Literature--The Beginning to 1603
    • EngL 3218: Medieval Literature in Translation
    • EngL 3242: Shakespeare
    • EngL 3920: Northern Europe in the Age of Sutton Hoo
    • EngL 3960: Junior-Senior Seminar - Medieval Narrative
  • General education courses
    • EngL 1011: Introduction to Old & Middle English Literature
    • EngL 1020: Introduction to Medieval Studies


Other Activities

  • Membership in Professional Organizations
    • Association of Literary Scholars and Critics
    • International Society of Medieval Art
    • Medieval Academy of America
    • Medieval Association of the Midwest
    • Midwest Modern Language Association
    • Modern Language Association
    • Modern Language Society
  • Academic Service
    • Department of English Graduate Curriculum Committee, 2001
    • Department of English Graduate Admissions Committee, 1987-99, 1997, 2000
    • CLA Policy & Review Council Assembly, 1999-2000
    • CLA Language & Liberal Arts Policy & Review Council, 1999-2000
    • Chair, CLA Promotion and Tenure Review Committee, 1996-97
    • Executive Committee, Center for Medieval Studies, 1989-91, 1996-2000
    • McKnight Research Award Committee, 1994