English 205A

Old English

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2009 Thornbury, Emily V.
Thornbury, Emily V.
TTh 9:30-11 301 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Baker, Peter S., Introduction to Old English; Liuzza, R. M., ed., Old English Literature: Critical Essays


This class introduces students to the language, literature, and modern critical study of the written vernacular culture of England before the Norman Conquest—an era whose language and aesthetics now seem radically foreign. By the end of the semester, however, students should be capable of reading and translating a variety of Old English prose and verse texts, analyzing these works’ style, and situating them in the context of early medieval culture. Linguistic mastery is emphasized, and much of the in-class work for the course will consist of translation and close reading. However, coursework will also address a range of interpretative and literary-historical issues, as well as the tools and methods essential to scholars in the field of Anglo-Saxon literature. Depending on student interests, we may also consider topics such as palaeography; manuscript context; the interaction of Latin and Old English; and/or modern translations from Old English. 205A is normally a prerequisite for more advanced courses in Old English. No prior knowledge of Old English is assumed, and undergraduates may be admitted with the permission of the instructor.

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