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EN5602 Reading Old English

[This course is not running in the current academic year]

This course is designed to provide students with the expertise necessary to read Old English poetry and prose in the original language at a level sufficient to allow analysis. Depending upon the students’ previous experience of the language, the course starts with a more or less extensive review of Old English grammar, but the aim is to begin translating as soon as possible. The reading list will be adapted to the students’ interests. We will meet for two hours per week. The amount of material covered depends upon the students’ experience and progress, but by the end of the course we should be covering the equivalent of 70-80 lines of poetry per week. As this is a Skills course, the emphasis is on translation skills, but we discuss literary and historical issues as they arise.

Texts will be provided on handouts, but students will need to purchase a dictionary (J. R. Clark Hall, ed., A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching 14 (1894; Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1960)) and a grammar book (for example, Bruce Mitchell and Fred Robinson’s A Guide to Old English or Peter Baker’s Introduction to Old English).


Suggested Reading:

Godden, Malcolm and Michael Lapidge, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991)

Crossley-Holland, Kevin, The Anglo-Saxon World (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1982)



2-hour examination. Students translate a selection of previously seen passages (with a dictionary, which will be provided).


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