Michael Drout

Professor of English
Director of the Center for the Study of the Medieval


Phone: 508-286-3607

Fax: 508-285-8263

Website: http://michaeldrout.com/


Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago
M.A., University of Missouri-Columbia
M.A., Stanford University
B.A., Carnegie Mellon University


I’m Professor of English and the Director of the Center for the Study of the Medieval here at Wheaton. My research on medieval literature and fantasy is centered around the problems of tradition and influence. As part of the Lexomics Research Group I have been developing new, computer-assisted methods of analysis. (Click here for access to the Lexomics Department.)

Main Interests

Anglo-Saxon, Medieval Literature, Evolutionary Epistemology, Fantasy and Science Fiction, J.R.R. Tolkien, Cognitive Approach to Literary Texts, Digital Analysis of Literature (Lexomics)

Other Interests

Birding, fishing, ice hockey.


Books and Edited Volumes

J. R. R. Tolkien’s Beowulf and the Critics. Ed. Michael D. C. Drout. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 248 (Tempe:  Arizona Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2002).  Winner of the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies, 2003. Reprinted in Revised and Expanded Edition, 2011.

Tolkien Studies, volumes 1-10. Founding editor, with Douglas A. Anderson and Verlyn Flieger. West Virginia University Press.  Tolkien Studies 1 (2004).  Tolkien Studies 2 (2005); Tolkien Studies 3 (2006); Tolkien Studies 4 (2007); Tolkien Studies 5 (2008); Tolkien Studies 6 (2009); Tolkien Studies 7 (2010); Tolkien Studies 8 (2011); Co-editor with Flieger only: Tolkien Studies 9 (2012); co-editor with Flieger and David Bratman: Tolkien Studies 10 (2013).

How Tradition Works: A Meme-Based Poetics of the Anglo-Saxon Tenth Century. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 261 (Tempe: Arizona Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2006).

J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment. (New York: Routledge, 2007). General Editor. A complete encyclopedia in one volume, 774 pages.

Drout’s Quick and Easy Old English. Troy, AL: Witan Publishing, 2012.

Tradition and Influence in Anglo-Saxon Literature: An Evolutionary, Cognitivist Approach(New York: Palgrave, 2013).

[forthcoming] Transitional States: Cultural Change, Tradition and Memory in Medieval England, A Festschrift for Allen Frantzen. Ed. Graham Caie and Michael D.C. Drout. (Tempe: AZ Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2014).

Articles in refereed journals

Michael D.C. Drout. “Hoisting the Arm of Defiance: Beowulfian Elements in Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion,” Western American Literature 28.2 (1993): 131-41.

———. “The Fortunes of Men 4a: Reasons for Adopting a Very Old Emendation,” Modern Philology 96.2 (1998): 184-87.

———.”Piers’ Good Will: Langland’s Politics of Reform and Inheritance in the C-Text.” Essays in Medieval Studies 13 (1996). available online at http://www.luc.edu/publications/medieval/emsv13.html

———.”Reading the Signs of Light: Anglo-Saxonism, Education and Obedience in Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising,” The Lion and the Unicorn  21 (1997): 230-50.

———.”Anglo-Saxon Wills and the Tradition of Inheritance in the English Benedictine Reform,” Revista de la Sociedad Española de Lengua y Literatura Inglesa Medieval (SELIM)13 (2000): 5-53.

Laura B. Comoletti and Michael D.C. Drout. “How They Do Things With Words: Language, Power, Gender and the Priestly Wizards of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Books.” Children’s Literature 21 (2001): 113-41.

———.”Re-Dating the Old English Translation of the Enlarged Rule of Chrodegang: The Evidence of the Prose Style.” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 103.3 (2004): 341-68.

———. “Tolkien’s Prose Style and its Literary and Rhetorical Effects,” Tolkien Studies 1 (2004): 139-63.

———. with Laura Kalafarski and Stefanie Olsen. “Bibliography (in English) for 2001-2002,” Tolkien Studies 1 (2004): 183-89; with Laura Kalafarski and Stefanie Olsen.

———. “The Problem of Transformation: The Use of Medieval Sources in Fantasy Literature” Literature Compass 1 (2004): ME 101, 1-22.

——— and Melissa Smith-MacDonald. “Bibliography (in English) for 2003,” Tolkien Studies 2 (2005): 317-22; with Melissa Smith-MacDonald.

Barbara Brennessel, Michael D.C. Drout and Robyn Gravel. “A Re-Assessment of the Efficacy of Anglo-Saxon Medicine,” Anglo-Saxon England 34 (2005): 183-95.

———. “A Spliced Old English Quote in “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” Tolkien Studies 3 (2006): 149-52.

———, Marcel Bülles and Rebecca Epstein. “Bibliography (in English) for 2004,” Tolkien Studies 3 (2006): 267-75.

———. “A Note on the Style of Beowulf 1864a,” Modern Philology 104.2 (2006): 224-28.

———. “A Meme-Based Approach to Oral Traditional Theory,” Oral Tradition 21.2 (2006): 269-94.

also online at http://journal.oraltradition.org/issues/21ii/drout

———. “J. R. R. Tolkien’s Medieval Scholarship and its Significance,” Tolkien Studies 4 (2007): 113-176.

———, Rebecca Epstein and Kathryn Paar. “Bibliography (in English) for 2005,” Tolkien Studies 4 (2007) 357-67.

———. “’The Partridge’ is a Phoenix: Revising the Exeter Book Physiologus,” Neophilologus91.2 (2007): 487-503.

———. “Blood and Deeds: The Inheritance Systems in Beowulf,” Studies in Philology 104.2 (2007): 199-226.

———, Rebecca Epstein, Jason Rea and Lauren Provost. “Bibliography (in English) for 2006,” Tolkien Studies 5 (2008): 299-308.

———, Tara McGoldrick, Kathryn Paar, Lauren Provost and Jason Rea. “Bibliography (in English) for 2007,” Tolkien Studies 6 (2009): 345-59.

———, Rebecca Epstein and David Bratman. “Bibliography (in English) for 2008,” Tolkien Studies 7 (2010): 379-98.

———, Michael J. Kahn, Mark D. LeBlanc and Christina Nelson. “Of Dendrogrammatology: Lexomic Methods for Analyzing the Relationships Among Old English Poems,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 110: (2011): 301-36.

———. “Albert S. Cook’s Invention of Cynewulf and the History of English Studies in America.” English Studies 92.3 (2011): 237-58.

———. “‘Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics’ Seventy-Five Years Later.” Mythlore 30, no. 1/2; Issue 115/116 (2011): 5-22.

———, Maryellen Groot, Tara McGoldrick, Jason Rea and Julia Rende. “Cumulative Index: Tolkien Studies, Volume I-V,” Tolkien Studies 8 (2011).

———, Rebecca Epstein and David Bratman. “Bibliography (in English) for 2009,” Tolkien Studies 8 (2011): 297-307.

———. “Variation within Limits: An Evolutionary Approach to the Structure and Dynamics of the Multiform.” Oral Tradition, 26/2 (2011): 447-474. http://journal.oraltradition.org/issues/26ii/drout#

———. “A Note on Homiletic Fragment II and the Process of Translation from Latin to Old English,” Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 113 (2012): 75-84.

Rebecca Epstein, David Bratman, Merlin de Tardo, and Michael D.C. Drout. “Bibliography (in English) for 2010,” Tolkien Studies 9 (2012): 297-307.

Sarah Downey, Michael D.C. Drout, Michael J. Kahn and Mark D. LeBlanc. “’Books Tell Us’: Lexomic and Traditional Evidence for the  Sources of Guthlac AModern Philology 110 (2012): 1-29.

[in press] Phoebe Boyd, Michael D.C. Drout, Namiko Hitotsubashi, Michael J. Kahn, Mark D. LeBlanc and Leah Smith. “Lexomic Analysis of Anglo-Saxon Prose: Establishing Controls with the Old English Penitential and the Old  English translation of Orosius.” Revista de la Sociedad Española de Lengua y Literatura Inglesa Medieval (SELIM) 19 (2014).

[under consideration] Sarah Downey, Michael D.C. Drout, Veronica Kerekes and Douglas Raffle. “Lexomic Analysis of Medieval Latin Texts, Journal of Medieval Latin.

[in progress] Michael D.C. Drout, Yvette Kisor, Elie Chauvet, Allison Dennett, Natasha Piirainen and Leah Smith. “Lexomic Analysis of Beowulf.”

[in progress] Elie Chauvet, Michael D.C. Drout, Michael J. Kahn, Mark D. LeBlanc, and Leah Smith “Lexomic Analysis of Poems Signed by, Attributed to and Related to Cynewulf.”

[in progress] Michael D.C. Drout, Namiko Hitotsubashi and Rachel Scavera. “The Evolution of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Túrin Story.”

[in progress] Leah Smith and Michael D.C. Drout. “Who is to blame for the Doom of the Geats?”

[in progress] Rosetta Berger and Michael D.C. Drout. “A Reconsideration of the Relationship Between Víga-Glúms Saga and Reykdæla Saga: New Evidence from Lexomic Analysis.”

[in progress] Elie Chauvet and Michael D.C. Drout, “A New Tool for the Investigation of Textual History of Old English Texts:Visual Representation of the Ratio of þ to þ+ð.”

Chapters in Books and Essays in Collections

“How the Monsters Became Important: the logical and rhetorical development of  ‘The Monsters and the Critics,’” In Fabelwesen, mostri e portenti nell’immaginario occidentale, ed. Carmela Rizzo (Torino: Edizione dell’Orso, 2004), 1-23.

“A Mythology for Anglo-Saxon England,” in J.R.R. Tolkien and the Invention of Myth, ed. Jane Chance (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2004), 335-62.

“Towards a Better Tolkien Criticism,” in Re-Reading the Lord of the Rings, ed. Robert Eaglestone (London: Continuum, 2005), 15-28.

“The Rhetorical Evolution of ‘Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” in The Lord of the Rings, 1954-2004: Scholarship in Honor of Richard E. Blackwelder, ed. Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull (Milwaukee: Marquette UP, 2005), 183-215.

“Possible Instructional Effects of the Exeter Book “Wisdom Poems”: A Benedictine Reform Context,” in Form and Content in Anglo-Saxon England in the Light of Contemporary Manuscript Evidence, ed. Patrizia Lendinara, Loredana Lazzari and Maila Amalia D’Aronco. Louvain-la-Neuve: Fédération Internationales des Instituts d’Etudes Médiévales, Textes et Études du Moyen ge 39 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), 447-66.

“Everyone was an Orthodox, Educated Roman Catholic,” in Misconceptions About the Middle Ages, ed. Stephen J. Harris and Bryon L. Grigsby, eds. (London: Routledge, 2007), 54-59.

“Reflections on Thirty Years of Reading The Silmarillion,” in The Silmarillion Thirty Years On, ed. Allan Turner (Zurich:  Walking Tree Press, 2007) 33-57.  Translated into Italian as “Luce e Ombra, Trionfo e Caduta nella lettura del ‘Silmarillion,’” in Tolkien. Le Luce e l’Ombra, ed. Giovanni Agnoloni, ed. (Ascoli Piceno: Senzapatria, 2011), 187-210.

“Introduction: Beowulf Basics,” in Beowulf, ed. Joshua A.C. Newman (Northampton, MA: Glyphpress, 2009), i-x.

“The Dating of Beowulf,” in Beowulf, ed. Joshua A.C. Newman (Northampton, MA: Glyphpress, 2009), 138-63.

“Survival of the Most Pleasing: A Meme-Based Approach to Aesthetic Selection,” in On the Aesthetics of Beowulf and Other Old English Poems, ed. John M. Hill (Toronto: U of Toronto Press, 2010), 111-34.

“A Paradox: Tales of Hope,” in The Last Man Anthology, ed. Hunter Liguore (Bristol, CT: Sword and Saga Press, 2010), x-xvi.

“The Rohirrim, the Anglo-Saxons, and the Problem of Appendix F: Ambiguity and Reference in Tolkien’s Books and Jackson’s Films,”  in Picturing Tolkien: Essays on the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings Trilogy, ed. Janice M. Bogstad and Philip E. Kaveny (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011), 248-63.

William Goldbloom Bloch and Michael D.C. Drout, “Fair and Unfair Division in Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon,” in Mathematics and Popular Culture, ed. Jessica Sklar and Elizabeth Sklar (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011), 71-86.

“‘I am Large, I contain Multitudes’: The Medieval Author in Memetic Terms,” in Tradition and the Individual Talent: Modes of Authorship in the Middle Ages, ed. Slavica Rankovic, et al. (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 2012), 30-51.

“Introduction: Tolkien’s Poetry,” in Tolkien’s Poetry, ed. Julian Eilmann and Allan Turner (Zollikofen: Walking Tree Press, 2012), 1-9.

[in press] “Teaching Beowulf Aloud,” in Teaching Beowulf in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Howell Chickering, Allen J. Frantzen and Robert Yeager (Tempe: Arizona Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2013), 139-49.

[in press] “The Tower and the Ruin: The Past in Tolkien’s Works,” in Tolkien: The Forest and the City, ed. Helen Conrad O’Briain (Dublin: Four Courts, 2013), 175-90.

[in press] “The Council of Elrond, All those Poems, and the Famous F-ing Elves: Strategies for Teaching the Hard Parts of Tolkien,” in Approaches to Teaching J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Other Works, ed. Leslie Donovan (Modern Language Association, 2013).

[forthcoming] “Give the People What They Want: Historiography of the Dating of Beowulf,” in The Dating of Beowulf: A Reassessment, ed.  Leonard Neidorf and Joseph McMullen (Tempe: Arizona Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2013).

[forthcoming] “How to Think: Some Ways. Lessons Learned from Allen Frantzen,” in Transitional States: Cultural Change, Tradition and Memory in Medieval England, A Festschrift for Allen Frantzen, ed. Graham Caie and Michael D.C. Drout (Tempe: AZ Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2014).


Essays,  Notes and Columns

“The Influence of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Masculinist Medievalism,” Medieval Feminist Newsletter 22 (1996): 26-27.

“King Alfred: A Teacher Controlled, Web Interfaced Old English Learning Assistant,” Old English Newsletter  33.1 (Fall 1999): 29-34.

“Wrong About Almost Everything: Editing J. R. R. Tolkien,” Medieval Academy News 143 (Feb. 2002): 12. (Repr. Beyond Bree June 2002, 3-4).

“An Anglo-Saxonist Gets His Fifteen Minutes (or, what happens when the media briefly  pay attention),” Old English Newsletter 37.3 (Spring 2004): 34-37.  On line at http://oenewsletter.org/OEN/essays.php?file=essays/drout37_3.txt

“Some Thoughts on Reading The Lord of the Rings Aloud,” Silver Leaves 1 (2007): 36-67.

“Anglo-Saxon Studies: The State of the Field?,” The Heroic Age 11 (Oct 2007).

Michael D.C. Drout and Scott Kleinman. “Philological Inquiries 1: Methods and Merovingians,” The Heroic Age 12 (2009). http://www.heroicage.org/issues/12/pi.php

“Lexomics for Anglo-Saxon Literature,” Old English Newsletter (Fall 2009).  With Michael Kahn, Mark LeBlanc, Amos Jones, Neil Kathok and Christina Nelson.

Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics”: The Brilliant Essay that Broke Beowulf Studies LotRPlaza Scholars Forum, March 2010.

Michael D.C. Drout and Scott Kleinman. “Philological Inquiries 2: Something Old, Something New: Material Philology and the Recovery of the Past.” The Heroic Age 13 (2010). http://www.heroicage.org/issues/13/pi.php

“Department of What If: Would Hobbits go on Strike?” Washington Post, 31 October, 2010, B3.

“The Heroic World and the Bourgeois World Each Have Something to Offer,” 75 Reasons to Why You Should Read The Hobbit Before Watching the Films, http://www.thetolkienist.com/

Creative Works

Other Media

Beyond the Movie: The Return of the King. National Geographic Video (2003); also included in the supplementary material on The Return of the King DVD (New Line Cinema, 2003).  Featured Expert.

Geoffrey Chaucer: Bard of the Middle Ages. (Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, LLC., 2005). Course on CD.

Rings, Swords and Monsters: Exploring Fantasy Literature. (Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, LLC., 2006).   Republished as Of Sorcerers and Men: Tolkien and the Roots of Modern Fantasy Literature (New York: Barnes and Noble “Portable Professor” Series, 2006). Course on CD.

From Here to Infinity: Science Fiction. (Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, LLC., 2006). Course on CD.

A Way With Words: Rhetoric, Writing and the Art of Persuasion. (Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, LLC., 2006). Course on CD.

The History of the English Language. (Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, LLC., 2007). Course on CD.

A Way With Words II: Approaches to  Literature. (Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, LLC., 2007).

BeowulfMasterpiece Library. Old English Edition nar. Michael D.C. Drout.  (Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, LLC., 2007).

Beowulf Aloud (Boston: Honeyguide, 2007). 3-CD set including entire poem in Old English; Introductory Lecture.  http://beowulfaloud.com

A Way With Words III: Grammar for Adults (Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, LLC., 2008).

A Way With Words IV: The Understanding Poetry. (Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, LLC., 2008).  Finalist for Audie Award, Original Works category, Audio Publishers Association, 2010.

Anglo-Saxon Aloud: Greatest Hits (Boston: Honeyguide, 2008). 2-CD set including ten Old English poems, translations and commentaries.  http://anglosaxonaloud.com

The Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records Aloud (podcasts of the complete ASPR). http://anglosaxonaloud.com

The Anglo-Saxon World.  (Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, LLC., 2009).

Clash of the Gods, mini-series, The History Channel [episodes on Thor, The Lord of the Rings, and Beowulf]. Air dates: 9/21/2009, 9/28/2009, 10/12/2009.

Tolkien and the West: Reclaiming Europe’s Lost Literary Tradition. (Washington,  D.C.: Crescite Group, 2012).

The Norsemen: Understanding Vikings and their Culture. (Washington,  D.C.: Crescite Group, 2013).

How to Think: The Value of the Liberal Arts. (Washington D.C.: Crescite Group, 2014).

Teaching Interests

Anglo-Saxon, Medieval Literature, Chaucer, Beowulf, Early Drama, Science Fiction, Fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin.

Research Interests

  • Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse and Middle English Language and Literature
  • Tradition and Influence
  • Meme-based Approaches to Literature
  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • Digital Analysis of Literature (Lexomics)





Meneely 315


Thursdays 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. and by appointment