Undergraduate English Courses

358:411 Old English Language and Literature

01  TTH5  CAC 06304   KLEIN  SC-104

 Old English Language and Literature

Old English was the language written and spoken in England from approximately 450-1100 AD. This course is designed to give students with no previous knowledge of Old English the basic skills necessary to read and interpret Old English texts. We will examine a variety of poems and prose writings, including Old English alliterative shorter poems dealing with exile, gender roles, and early medieval cults of the cross; chronicles and historical narratives designed to construct specific ideas about the past and historical memory; and excerpts from the growing body of vernacular religious writings produced for an Anglo-Saxon populace that, according to some monks, was becoming increasingly illiterate. Throughout the course, attention will be given to Old English pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary, and most of the individual class periods will be devoted to reviewing and discussing translations which students will have prepared at home. Enrolled graduate students will be assigned additional readings and will meet with me individually and in small groups to discuss bibliographic and other resources for pursuing Anglo-Saxon studies, theoretical approaches to the period's literature, and their own research interests.

Requirements: regular and intense translation, midterm and final, one 5-7 page paper, and memorization of a short passage in Old English