H(ilda) R(oderick) Ellis Davidson

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Date: Dec. 18, 2003
Document Type: Biography
Length: 508 words
Content Level: (Level 2)
Lexile Measure: 710L

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About this Person
Born: 1914
Nationality: English
Occupation: Writer
Other Names: Davidson, H. Roderick Ellis; Ellis, Hilda Roderick; Davidson, H.R. Ellis
Updated:Dec. 18, 2003

Family: Born October 1, 1914, in Bebington, Cheshire, England; daughter of Henry Roderick (a stationer) and Millie (Cheesman) Ellis; married Richard Robertson Davidson (a research scientist), December 27, 1943; children: Hilary, Richard Neil Roderick. Education: Newnham College, Cambridge, M.A., 1939, Ph.D., 1940. Politics: Liberal. Religion: Church of England. Memberships: Society of Antiquaries of London (fellow), Folklore Society (council member).


University of London, London, England, assistant lecturer in English, Royal Holloway College, 1939-44, part-time lecturer in English, Birkbeck College, 1945-54, lecturer in extramural department, 1942-54; Cambridge University, Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, England, research fellow, 1968-71, lecturer, beginning 1971.


Leverhulme research award for work in Soviet Union, 1964.



  • (Under name Hilda Roderick Ellis) The Road to Hel: A Study of the Conception of the Dead in Old Norse Literature, Cambridge University Press, 1943, reprinted, Greenwood Press, 1968.
  • The Golden Age of Northumbria, Longmans, Green, 1958.
  • The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England, Clarendon Press, 1961.
  • Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, Pelican Books, 1965, published as Gods and Myths of the Viking Age, Crown, 1981.
  • (Contributor) Joan Cadogan Lancaster, Godiva of Coventry, Coventry Corp., 1967.
  • Pagan Scandinavia, Praeger, 1967.
  • (With G. N. Garmonsway and Jacqueline Simpson) Beowulf and Its Analogues, Dent, 1968.
  • Scandinavian Mythology, Hamlyn, 1969, revised edition, Peter Bedrick Books (New York, NY), 1986.
  • (With Peter Gelling) The Chariot of the Sun, Praeger, 1969.
  • (Editor) The Journey to the Other World: Papers from the Exeter Conference, 1971, Rowman & Littlefield, 1975.
  • The Viking Road to Byzantium, Allen & Unwin, 1976.
  • Symbols of Power, Brewer, 1977.
  • Patterns of Folklore, Rowman & Littlefield, 1978.
  • (Editor) Gesta Danorum: The History of the Danes, Books I-IX, translated by Peter Fisher, Rowman & Littlefield, Volume I: Saxo Grammaticus: English Text, 1979, Volume II: Saxo Grammaticus: Commentary, 1980.
  • (Editor with W. M. Russell) The Folklore of Ghosts, Brewer, 1982.
  • (Editor) The Hero in Tradition and Folklore: Papers Read at a Conference of the Folklore Society held at Dyffryn House, Cardiff, July 1982, Folklore Society (London, England), 1984.
  • Katharine Briggs: Story-Teller, Lutterworth Press (Cambridge, England), 1986.
  • Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions, Syracuse University Press (Syracuse, NY), Manchester University Press (Manchester, UK), 1988.
  • (Editor) The Seer in Celtic and Other Traditions, John Donald Publishers (Edinburgh, UK), 1989.
  • The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe, Routledge (New York, NY) (London, UK), 1993.
  • The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England: Its Archaeology and Literature, Boydell (Rochester, NY) (Woodbridge, UK), 1994.
  • (Editor with Anna Chaudhri) Supernatural Enemies, Carolina Academic Press (Durham, NC), 2001.
  • (Editor with Carmen Blacker) Women and Tradition: A Neglected Group of Folklorists, Carolina Academic Press (Durham, NC), 2001.
  • (Coeditor with Anna Chaudhri and Derek Brewer) A Companion to the Fairy Tale, D. S. Brewer; Boydell & Brewer, 2003.

Contributor to Encyclopaedia Britannica, and to Antiquity, Folklore, Arms and Armour, and other journals.



H. R. Ellis Davidson has reading knowledge of Anglo-Saxon, early Norse, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, Russian, Latin, and German.




  • Times Literary Supplement, January 29, 1982.*


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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000023388