Niles Home Page Niles CV Niles Publications Niles Courses Niles Tools


John D. Niles

Professor Emeritus of Humanities

University of Wisconsin –Madison


Professor Emeritus of English

University of California – Berkeley

1460 Riverside Ave.

Boulder CO 80304



Welcome to my personal home page. This site is meant to be of use to anyone interested in my background, interests, and career.


Curriculum Vitae offers an outline of my academic career, my teaching experience and specialties, my higher degrees, some awards I have received, and my professional affiliations.

Publications lists in six categories my books, editions, essays, and works in progress.

CURRENT NEWS (updated August 2023):

Since retiring from teaching at the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 2011, I have remained active in research. Seven books that I have authored or co-edited have appeared in print since then. The most recent of these are the following:

Webspinner: Songs, Stories and Reflections of Duncan Williamson, Scottish Traveller (University Pres of Mississippi, 2022). A study of the role of a single gifted tradition-bearer in the oral culture of the Scottish traveling people, or tinkers. Based on original fieldwork undertaken chiefly in the 1980s.

God's Exiles and English Verse: On the Exeter Anthology of Old English Poetry (University of Exeter Press, 2019). (University of Exeter Press, 2019). The first book-length critical study of the whole of the Exeter Book, the most important anthology of Old English poetry to have come down to us: its principles of design, its relationship of parts, its leading themes, its points of formal and stylistic interest, its probable makers and readers, and its possible uses in its time.

Medical Writings from Early Medieval England, Volume I: The Old English Herbal, Lacnunga, and Other Texts, co-edited with Maria A. D'Aronco (Harvard University Press, 2023). The first comprehensive edition and translation of Old English writings on health and healing in more than 150 years. The first of a pair of volumes on this topic to be published by the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library.

In addition, in October 2022 I launched a major digital publication, Scottish Voices, hosted by the U.W. Digital Collections Center. This consists of audio selections, video selections, and still photographs documenting my work with skilled Scottish traditional singers, storytellers, and musicians, particularly from among the Scottish Travellers. Some stories and songs included in Webspinner can be heard here, alongside much else.








Updated: April 2019