Welcome to the Department of English at Rutgers University

01  MTH2  CAC  12162  O'BYRNE SC-102

01-Medieval Irish Literature
Escape enslavement with St. Patrick.  Set sail from the rocky western coast of Ireland to lands unknown.  Accompany the great warrior Cú Chulainn on his quest to single-handedly defend Ulster from the army of Queen Maeve.  Flee the wrath of king Conchobar with Deirdre and her lover, Naoise.  This course offers a survey of literature written in Ireland between ca. 400-1400.  Major readings will include St. Patrick’s autobiography, the famous saga, The Cattle Raid of Cooley, accounts of Finn McCool and his band of élite warriors, the tale of Oisín’s journey to the Land of the Young, and several works pertaining to the lives of Ireland’s three major saints: Patrick, Bridget, and Columba.  This course asks students to think critically about the ways in which literature reflects and enhances the culture that created it.  Students will gain an understanding of the history and development of literature in Ireland.  In the final weeks, they will explore how medieval literature persists in modern Irish culture.  Through this course, students will develop a set of tools for examining other ancient, multilingual cultures and their literature.  They will also have the opportunity to deepen their skills in close reading and oral and written expression.  Some course texts will be in Middle English.  All course texts originally written in Irish, Latin, or French will be available in English translation.


Attendance and Participation, including weekly online posts               10%

2 in-class reports on secondary articles or books accompanied by 2-page summaries     20%

Take-home close-reading exam                                                       10%

Peer-review of essay drafts of 2 classmates                                      10%

10-12 page essay                                                                            30%

Final 15-minute conference presentation                                            20%

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Statue of "Willie the Silent"