English 205B

Old English

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2011 Thornbury, Emily V.
Thornbury, Emily
F 1-4 301 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Bjork, R.: Cynewulf Reader; Woolf, R.: Cynewulf's Juliana; Gradon, P.: Cynewulf's Elene


Ever since 1840, when two scholars simultaneously announced that the runes in three Old English poems spelled out the name "Cynewulf," the subject of this seminar has been entangled in controversy. Through a close reading of the four "signed" poems (Elene, Juliana, Christ II, and the later-identified Fates of the Apostles), together with a selection of other "Cynewulfian" literature and scholarship, we will try to sort through the assumptions and terms of the many debates on Cynewulf. The topics we will address will include the formation and description of style in Old English poetry; key principles and assumptions behind the controversies on dating literature; the role of philology in modern literary study; the history of Old English scholarship; and notions of canon in Anglo-Saxon England and the modern day. Classes will involve translation, discussion, and research presentations.

Prerequisite: 205A, or equivalent knowledge of Old English.

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