Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 20 Hours. Seminar. 10 x 2 hr seminar workshops


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Translation portfolio comprising a short original translation (c 60 lines) and commentary (c 2500 words)  50%
Semester Assessment 1 essay (3000 words)  Continuous Assessment:  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit or resit failed elements and/or make good any missing elements  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module students should typically be able to:

1. demonstrate a detailed knowledge of selected Old English texts (in translation);

2. situate these texts within the literary genres of Old English;

3. relate the texts studied to aspects of their social and historical contexts;

4. demonstrate a basic knowledge of Old English orthography, pronunciation, vocabulary and syntax;

5. outline some of the problems encountered when translating Old English into modern English, and evaluate the effectiveness of different strategies for dealing with these problems.

Brief description

In this module students will read a range of texts from what is the earliest period of English literature. It begins by looking at Archbishop Wulfstan's famous 'Sermon of the Wolf', which describes the apocalyptic anxieties generated by Danish attacks. This provides a starting point for a broader discussion of pagan culture in, and the impact of Christianity on, Anglo-Saxon England. In seminars we will discuss texts in translation which will be ordered thematically and will cover topics such as heroic values, the experience of women, and the interaction of paganism and Christianity. In translation classes we will study Old English at elementary level.

N.B.: Only pre-selected passages will be translated from longer texts. On completion of the module students will be expected to have a good understanding and appreciation, not only of the texts covered, but also of Anglo-Saxon history and society. In addition, students should have a basic grounding in the Old English language.

Reading List

General Text
(c1994.) Medieval masculinities :regarding men in the Middle Ages /Clare A. Lees, editor, with the assistance of Thelma Fenster and Jo Ann McNamara. University of Minnesota Press Primo search Alexander, Michael (May 2003) Beowulf:A Verse Translation Revised Penguin Classics [Imprint] Primo search Alexander, Michael (Sept. 2007) Old English Riddles:From the Exeter Book 2nd ed. Anvil Press Poetry, Limited Primo search Alexander, Michael (Aug. 1991) The Earlist English Poems 3rd ed.,Revised Penguin Classics [Imprint] Primo search Campbell, James (1991.) The Anglo-Saxons /James Campbell, Eric John, Patrick Wormald; general editor, James Campbell ; with contributions from P.V. Addyman ... [et al.]. Penguin Books Primo search Chance, Jane Woman As Hero in Old English Literature Reprint Books on Demand Primo search Fell, Christine E. (1984.) Women in Anglo-Saxon England /by Christine Fell, and the impact of 1066; by Cecily Clark and Elizabeth Williams. British Museum Publications Primo search Jones, Chris (Sept. 2006) Strange Likeness : the Use of Old English in Twentieth-Century Poetry:The Use of Old English in Twentieth-Century Poetry Oxford University Press, Incorporated Primo search Lees, Clare A. A Place to Believe In:Locating Medieval Landscapes NetLibrary, Incorporated Primo search Lees, Clare A. (1999.) Tradition and belief :religious writing in late Anglo-Saxon England /Clare A. Lees. University of Minnesota Press Primo search Lees, Clare and Overing, Gillian Double Ages Primo search Swanton, Michael J. (Aug. 1993) Anglo-Saxon Prose 2nd ed. Everyman Primo search Swanton, Michael J. (1975.) Anglo-Saxon prose /edited and translated by Michael Swanton. Dent; Primo search
Should Be Purchased
Crossley-Holland, Kevin The Anglo-Saxon World Primo search Mitchell, Bruce (Dec. 2006) A Guide to Old English This is the course reader. 7th ed.,Revised Wiley-Blackwell [Imprint] Primo search
Recommended Text
Heaney, Seamus (1999.) Beowulf /translated by Seamus Heaney. Faber and Faber Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6