Job advertised in The Times Higher December 19, 2003
Oxford University has appointed Vincent Gillespie J. R. R. Tolkien professor of English literature and language. He will take up the position on October 1.
The position was established in 1979 in honour of the Lord of the Rings author and academic, who was Rawlinson and Bosworth professor of Anglo-Saxon in the English faculty (1925-45) and then Merton professor of English language (1945-59).
Dr Gillespie, 50, a fellow of St Anne's College since 1980 and reader in English language and literature at Oxford, was selected by an 11-member board to replace Paul Strohm, the second holder of the chair to have left for Columbia University.
The professorship is a position that Dr Gillespie, as a graduate of Oxford, has always aspired to. "It's the job I wanted to have if I could," he says.
As well as overseeing the introduction of a one-year taught medieval master of studies programme and pursuing a range of other roles, he will also continue with current projects.
These include Hid Diuinite: The Brethren of Syon and the Religious Culture of England, 1415-1539 , a monograph that extends Dr Gillespie's research on the Birgittine House at Syon, London, and The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Mysticism , edited with Samuel Fanous, recently commissioned by Cambridge University Press.
A keen interest in the history of the book means examining manuscripts is very important to Dr Gillespie.
A non-stipendiary fellowship at St Hilda's College or Lady Margaret Hall is attached to the professorship. As St Hilda's remains all-female, Gillespie will work with Lady Margaret Hall.