Skip over navigation

Course Offerings

Course Evaluation Results

Course Details

Fall 2017-2018
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:
R.D. Fulk, R.E. Bjork, and J.D. Niles, Klaeber's Beowulf (Fourth Edition)
George Jack, Beowulf: A Student Edition
Seamus Heaney., Beowulf: A Verse Translation (Norton Critical Ed.)
John Blair, The Anglo-Saxon Age: A Very Short Introduction
Kevin Crossley-Holland, The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
Twenty-five pages of reading per week. 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 - 20%
Take Home Final Exam - 25%
Oral Presentation(s) - 10%
Class/Precept Participation - 25%
Other (See Instructor) - 20%

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. During the first few weeks of the term, I will conduct a workshop introducing the language as we work with the poem. Textual and historical problems will be part of class discussion each week. Distribution Requirement: British Foundation

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
21130 S01 01:30:00 pm - 04:20:00 pm W   McCosh Hall   64   Enrolled:17 Limit:20