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Jonathan Evans

Professor, Department of English
Director, UGA Medieval Studies Program
Graduate Coordinator, UGA Department of Linguistics

Contact Info

Park Hall 335
Office Hours:
Before & after classes; by appointment.

Jonathan Evans (Ph.D., Indiana University, 1984) is aprofessor of medieval languages and literature; he holds the B.A. from Asbury College (1976), the M.A. from Indiana University (1978), and a Doctoral Certificate from the Medieval Studies Program at Indiana University (1982).  He has been a member of the UGA English Department from 1984 to the present; he was a Visiting Lecturer in the Indiana University Living-Learning Center in 1983 and a Visiting Associate Professor in Emory University's Linguistics Program in 2006.  Dr. Evans specializes in Old English language and Literature, Old Norse literature, the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, and Environmental Literature.  He is the Graduate Coordinator in the UGA Linguistics Program. He has taught courses regularly on Old English, Beowulf and Old English Literature, Medieval Literature, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as many First-Year Odyssey seminars on various posthumously-published works by Tolkien.  His most recent Maymester course (2019) was on "The Languages of Middle-earth": Quenya, Sindarin, Adûnaic, Khuzdul (Dwarvish), Westron, Entish, etc.

He is the editor of a volume of Semiotica entitled Semiotica Mediaevalia (1987), coeditor of the annual proceedings of the Semiotic Society of America (1982, 1983, 1986), and coeditor of Semiotics and International Scholarship: Towards A Language of Theory (1986). He has published essays and reviews in numerous reference works and edited collections including The Facts on File Companion to Pre-1600 British Poetry (2008), The J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia (2007), J.R.R. Tolkien and His Literary Resonances (2000), The Encyclopedia of Medieval Folklore (2000), Medieval Scandinavia: An Encyclopedia (1993), the Dictionary of Literary Biography (1990), and Mythical and Fabulous Creatures: A Sourcebook and Research Guide (1987),  His articles on medieval literature and contemporary theory have appeared in the Journal of English and Germanic Philology (2000), NOWELE: North-Western European Language Evolution (2000), the Journal of English Linguistics (1999), The Simms Review (1999), Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts (1998), Semiotica (1986, 1987), Poetics Today (1987), Style (1986), and the Journal of Folklore Research (1985).  His review article, "The Ring and the Cross: Christianity and The Lord of The Rings, and: Light Beyond All Shadow: Religious Experience in Tolkien's Work" was published in Tolkien Studies 9 (2012).

Dr. Evans's most recent book -- Dragons: Myth and Legend (Ivy Press, 2008) -- is a lavishly-illustrated and modern popular retelling of 20 myths and legends concerning dragons and dragon slayers from ancient, classical, and medieval literature and culture.  He is co-author of Ents, Elves, and Eriador: J.R.R. Tolkien's Environmental Vision (University Press of Kentucky, 2006) with Matthew Dickerson.  His essay "Wörter, Sachen, und Wahrheit: Philology and the Tree of Language in Tolkien" was published in Constructing Nations, Reconstructing Myth: Essays in Honour of T.A. Shippey (Amsterdam: Brepols, 2007).  His study of racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth was published in Tolkien the Medievalist as "The Anthropology of Arda: Creation, Theology, and the Race of Men" (ed. Jane Chance, Routledge 2003). His essay titled "'As Rare as They Are Dire': Old Norse Dragons, Jacob Grimm, and the Deutsche Mythologie" was published in The Shadow-Walkers: Jacob Grimm's Mythology of the Monstrous (ed. Tom Shippey, Arizona State Univ./Brepols, 2005).

The manuscript of Dr. Evans's scholarly essay "Beowulf's Bane, Fáfnir, and the Firedrake of Erebor" is under editorial review with Arizona State University Press for a festschrift, edited by Eric Bryan, honoring Thomas A. Shippey.  Dr. Evans's current book project, An Introduction to Old English, is currently in the final stages of editing and scheduled to be in print in 2019 in the "Older Languages" series published by the Modern Language Association. His long-term scholarly interests include Scandinavian loan-words in the Peterborough Chronicle -- a manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle -- and elements of medieval dragon-lore and the dragon-slayer legend in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.  His interest in medieval mystical motifs in 17th/18th-century German pietistic hymnody, particularly in Das Kleine Davidische Psalterspiel der kinder Zions : von alten und neuen auserlesenen Geistes-gesangen (1744), is currently on long-term hold.

In 1987 Dr. Evans held a Sarah H. Moss Fellowship at the Arnamagnaean Institute in the University of Copenhagen; he was a General Sandy Beaver Teaching Professor from 1997-2000. He was a lecturer in the Franklin College Outreach Program; he is a member of the UGA Program in Linguistics, the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program, and director of the UGA Medieval Studies Program.

Dr. Evans, his wife Susan, and their children Owen and Anna reside in Athens, where Anna is a Nurse Practitioner specializing in cardiac surgery and critical care and Owen is completing a degree majoring in Arabic language. Their son John David has an M.A. in Philosophy and Public Policy and is a Division Chief of Inspections in the City of Baltimore, Maryland, with principal responsibilities in the "Vacants to Value" urban revitalization program. Jonathan & Susan have no dogs and certainly no cats, though they enjoy dog-sitting Owen and Anna's 3 dogs Finley, Fern, and Watson. They are quiet Presbyterians. Not the dogs, the parents. The dogs are of loud and enthusiastic but indeterminate canine faith-commitments.

Research Interests:
  • Old English
  • Beowulf
  • Old Norse
  • J.R.R. Tolkien


Selected Publications:

See CV link below.

Of note:

"Ofost is sēlest tō gecyðanne hwanan ēowre cyme syndon." – Beowulf, ll. 256b - 257.


See CV link below.

Curriculum Vitae:

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