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Course Details

Fall 2015-2016
ENG 421 / MED 421 (LA)   No Pass/D/Fail


Sarah M. Anderson

How does Beowulf work as a poem? In this course, we aim to find out, learning Beowulf through close study of its manuscript context and of its literary and historical milieux. Topics emphasized include the poem's genre; its sources, analogues, and afterlives; its place in theories of oral performance; its aesthetics; and its troubled relationship to the culture(s) that wrote it and to the modern cultural investment in it. Tune up your harp, sharpen your wits, and get set to explore a startling and crucial text.

Sample reading list:
Fulk, R.D., et al., Klaeber's Beowulf
Heaney, Seamus, Beowulf: A Verse Translation (Norton Critical Edition)
Chickering, Howell D., Beowulf; A Dual-Language Edition
Blair, John, The Anglo-Saxon Age: A Very Short Introduction
Crossley-Holland, Kevin, The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
We will focus on learning Beowulf as the magnificent poem that it is, aspiring to perform or re-present the text as a class project by term's end.Though weekly reading selections from the poem and critical sources will be short, thorough preparation is needed for each weekly meeting. Informal written responses expected bi-weekly; one brief creative or analytical project presented to the seminar during the term. No Dean's Date paper.

Take Home Mid term Exam - 15%
Take Home Final Exam - 20%
Oral Presentation(s) - 10%
Class/Precept Participation - 25%
Other (See Instructor) - 30%

Other Requirements:
Not Open to Freshmen.

Other information:
Any knowledge of Old English or of the early Middle Ages in the West will be helpful, but is not required. In the first few weeks of the term, I will conduct a review or brief introduction to Old English. Department Distribution: British Foundation

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
20272 S01 01:30:00 pm - 04:20:00 pm W   McCosh Hall   26   Enrolled:7 Limit:16