English 105

: Anglo-Saxon England

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2007 Nolan, Maura
Nolan, Maura
TTh 12:30-2 110 Barrows

Other Readings and Media

Bede: Ecclesiastical History of the English People; Campbell, J., ed.: The Anglo-Saxons; Crossley-Holland, K., ed.: The Anglo-Saxon World; Donoghue, D., ed. and Heaney, S., trans.: Beowulf: A Verse Translation; Howe, N., ed. and Donaldson, E., trans.: Beowulf: A Prose Translation; Keynes, S. and Lapidge, M., eds.: Alfred the Great; Webb, J. F. and Farmer, D. H., eds.: The Age of Bede


In this course we will read a wide variety of writing ranging across the entire Anglo Saxon period, from chronicles to histories to saints� lives to poetry, riddles, and charms. Our focus will be on the intersections among history, culture, art, and writing. We will ask ourselves how � England � came into being as a cultural and political idea, and how notions of �Englishness� affected the kinds of writing that people were likely to produce. We will explore the artwork of various groups, including burial artifacts, coins, manuscripts and other visual artifacts, and ask ourselves what such materials have to do with the development of a literary tradition. We will talk about cultural contact, colonization, and imperialism, especially in the context of pagan and Christian ideas about conversion and social change. You will have the opportunity to experiment with Anglo-Saxon modes of cultural production, particularly alliterative poetry, but also other forms of writing and art. Students need not have any prior knowledge of Old English or of Anglo-Saxon history; all texts will be in translation.

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