Bayeux Tapestry animal OERG:
The Old English Reading Group
What we do...

If you would like to practise reading Old English aloud and discuss it in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, please join us. Although OERG is a very good way to prepare for exams and assignments in EN1001 (Introduction to Medieval Literature), EN2008/3008 (Myths of Origin in Old English Literature), EN2319/3003 (Tolkien's Roots), EN5602 (Old English Skills), and EN5609 (Old English Riddles), we don't do any homework, we never talk about exams, we sometimes watch films, and we usually eat biscuits. All welcome!

Texts are provided. Recently we've read The Wanderer and ploughed through quite a lot of Beowulf, although we didn't reach the end, in part because we engaged with various issues and articles along the way. We've also read Gerefa, several of the Exeter Book Riddles, Deor, The Fortunes of Men, The Seafarer, and Judith.

In 2012-13, we are meeting on Fridays, 10-11am in MBS0-08 (that's in the new Management Building), and we're going to start with a new text, Guthlac. I hope to see you there!


We occasionally produce written translations from our discussions of the texts. These can be quite free, as they reflect the personal preoccupations and interests of members of OERG, as well as the compromises necessary in group work.

Judith - The Wife's Lament

Other things we've done...

Jennifer Neville and Pirkko Koppinen presented papers on Gerefa at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds in July 2012.

Jennifer Neville and Pirkko Koppinen presented papers on the 'mock heroic' at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds in July 2010.

We held our own 'OERG International Conference' on 17 June 2010, with papers as follows:

  • Myfanwy Ashley, 'Translating Heart, Mind, and Soul in The Wanderer'
  • Rosie Holden, 'Maldon and Repetition'
  • Pirkko Koppinen, 'Mimic Men in Andreas'
  • Natasha Lett, 'The Wineleas Wonsaelig Mon: A Lesson in Friendship'
  • Jennifer Neville, 'Shaking the Foundations: The Mock Heroic in the Old English Riddles'
  • Slaney Ross, 'The Finnsburh Episode and Richard II'

We also shared a magnificent pot-luck lunch.

Pirkko Koppinen, Pat Gillies, Jennifer Neville, and Melanie Heyworth presented papers on a variety of topics at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds in July 2007.

Pirkko Koppinen, Pat Gillies, and Jennifer Neville presented papers on the Old English riddles at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo in May 2006.

Jennifer Neville presented a paper on Riddle 9 at the Medieval Academy in Boston in March 2006.

Jake Snyder presented a paper to OERG on 17 March 2005 entitled 'Style I Interlace and the Structure of Beowulf'.

Members of OERG contributed to a session on Old English Riddles at the 2004 Leeds conference entitled 'New Perspectives on the Exeter Book Riddles'. Jane Page presented 'Structures of Power in Some Exeter Riddles'. Mel Heyworth presented 'Moral Regulation or Moral Resistance: Gendered Discourse in the Exeter Book Riddles'. Pirkko Koppinen presented 'Runes, Swords, and Semiotics in the Exeter Book Riddles'.

Pirkko Koppinen presented a paper on 7 May 2004 entitled 'Ond seo Cwen Numen (And the Queen Taken): Feud and the Ambiguity of Hildeburg's Marriage'.

Mel Heyworth presented a preview of her paper on Exeter Book Riddle 4 on 23 April 2004.

Jane Page has given talks to literary societies and book clubs on many aspects of English literature, but especially mediaeval. These have been received with enthusiastic acclaim.

In 2003 we worked together on the Old English poem, Judith, and managed to produce (after many, many weeks) our translation and a session at the 2003 Leeds conference: 'Feminine Force in the Old English Judith'. Jane Page presented 'Wundenlocc: Power and Status in a Tangle of Hair'. Pirkko Koppinen presented 'Judith Masquerading as a Man: Mimickery as an Empowering Force in the Old English Poem Judith'. Jennifer Neville Presented 'The Jewel in its Setting: Judith and Gendered Language'.

Pirkko Koppinen presented a paper to OERG on swords and Exeter Book Riddle 20 in 2002.

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Last updated 3 October, 2012 16:30