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COURSE NUMBER: ENGL 315
COURSE TITLE: Old English Language and Literature
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Brett Roscoe
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3 (hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Anglo-Saxons battling Vikings, miraculous stories of angels and saints, riddles, elegies about the transience of the world, Beowulf's heroic deeds-all these and more can be found in English literature between the 5th and 11th centuries. According to J. R. R. Tolkien, "the unrecapturable magic of ancient English verse" can only be experienced by "those who have ears to hear," or those who can read Old English verse in its original language ("On Translating Beowulf"). This course introduces students to the language and literature of the Anglo-Saxons. It combines language instruction with literary study, readings of modern translations with readings in the original language, so that students may experience firsthand the earliest English literature. No previous linguistic training is required.

Prerequisites: ENGL 215
REQUIRED TEXTS:
  • Chickering, Howell D. Jr. Beowulf: A Dual Language Edition. New York: Anchor Books, 2006.
  • Crossley-Holland, Kevin. The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Baker, Peter S. Introduction to Old English. 3 rd  ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
Participation 10%
Quizzes 10
Midterm20%
Essay (4-5 pages)15%
Annotated Translation Project20%
Final Exam 25%
100%
COURSE OBJECTIVES: Students will …
  • become familiar with the Old English literary corpus by reading texts in translation
  • acquire the basic grammatical knowledge and vocabulary required to begin reading Old English texts
  • practice reading and translating Old English poetry
  • become familiarized with some of the textual, linguistic, and cultural difficulties of reading Old English texts.
  • develop close reading skills by learning to appreciate the relation between the form and content of literature.
  • be encouraged to read both sympathetically and critically within a Christian framework.
  • practice research and essay writing skills
COURSE OUTLINE:
  • Jan 5 Introduction to the Course
  • Jan 8 Baker 2.1 (pp. 12-16), 2.6, 2.7
  • Jan 10 Stories of Origins: Baker 1.1; Crossley-Holland, 33-43, 159-63
  • Jan 12 Baker ch. 4
  • Jan 15 Baker 5.1.1, 5.1.2
  • Jan 17 Baker 5.1.3
  • Jan 19 Baker 6.1.2, 6.1.3; Crossley-Holland, “Bede’s Death Song” (205)
  • Jan 22 Quiz #1; Baker 6.1.1
  • Jan 24 I.S. Conference (regular classes canceled)
  • Jan 26 Extra practice with (pro)nouns; Crossley-Holland “The Ruin” (59-60), “Durham” (204-05)
  • Jan 29 Quiz #2; Baker 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 7.8
  • Jan 31 Extra practice with verbs
  • Feb 2 Baker 7.10, 8.1
  • Feb 5 Quiz #3; “The Gifts of Men” (Moodle); Crossley-Holland, “The Fortunes of Men” (301-06)
  • Feb 7 Review
  • Feb 9 Review;
  • Feb 12 Crossley-Holland, “Allegory” (279-89)
  • Feb 14 Translation: Baker, “The Story of Cędmon” paragraphs 12-13 (just the poem); Reading: Baker ch. 14
  • Feb 16 Midterm
  • Feb 19-23 Reading week (no classes)
  • Feb 26 Translation: Riddles D (p. 226) and F (p. 227); no reading, but please bring the Crossley-Holland book to class.
  • Feb 28 Translation: Riddles A (pp. 224-25) and C (pp. 225-26); no reading, but please bring the Crossley-Holland book to class
  • Mar 2 Translation: The Battle of Maldon ll. 1-24; Reading: Crossley-Holland,
  • The Battle of Maldon (pp. 11-19)
  • Mar 5 Translation: The Battle of Maldon ll. 25-61
  • Mar 7 Translation: The Battle of Maldon ll. 62-107
  • Mar 9 Translation: The Battle of Maldon ll. 285b-94 and 309-25
  • Mar 12 Discussion of The Battle of Maldon
  • Mar 14 Translation: The Wanderer ll. 1-36; Reading: Crossley-Holland, The Wanderer (pp. 50-53)
  • Mar 16 Translation: The Wanderer ll. 37-72
  • Mar 19 Translation: The Wanderer ll. 73-115
  • Mar 21 Translation: The Dream of the Rood ll. 1-38; Reading: Crossley-Holland, The Dream of the Rood (pp. 200-04)
  • Mar 23 Translation: The Dream of the Rood ll. 39-77
  • Mar 26 Translation: The Dream of the Rood ll. 78-121
  • Mar 28 Translation: The Dream of the Rood ll. 122-56
  • Mar 30 Good Friday (no classes)
  • Apr 2 Easter Monday (no classes)
  • Apr 4 Discussion of The Dream of the Rood
  • Apr 6 Reading: Crossley-Holland, Beowulf (pp. 74-154)
  • Apr 9 Translation: Beowulf ll. 86-114 and 710-719
  • Apr 11 Translation: Beowulf ll. 720-36a and 765b-90
  • Apr 13 Translation: Beowulf ll. 2231b-77
  • Apr 16 Review


Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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