English 205A

Old English

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2013 Thornbury, Emily V.
TTh 11-12:30 108 Wheeler

Book List

Baker, Peter S.: Introduction to Old English, 3rd ed.; Liuzza, R. M.: 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 will 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. (You will even have written a poem in Old English!) Linguistic mastery is emphasized, and much of the in-class work for the course will consist of translation and close reading. The coursework will also address a range of interpretative and literary-historical issues, as well as introduce 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 (after classes start, if there is still room in the course); undergraduate English majors may satisfy the pre-1800 requirement with 205A.

This course satisfies the Group 2 (Medieval through sixteenth century) requirement.

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