01 MW4 CAC 47060 HURLEY SC-206
“There is not much poetry in the world like this.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, in his famous essay on this earliest English epic, wrote that Beowulf spoke of matters “already old and weighted with regret” even when new. This seminar will explore the world of the poem that so fascinated Tolkien – pairing readings in Anglo-Saxon history, culture, and literature with a careful study of the language and poetry of Beowulf itself. While Old English is not a pre-requisite for this course, a willingness to achieve basic competency in the language early in the semester is very important. We will also look at modern re-settings of the poem, paying careful attention to the ways later authors rework the poem to respond to the changing needs and desires of an evolving canon of English literature.