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Course Details

Spring 2018-2019
* ENG 313 / MED 315 / COM 358 (LA)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Worlds Made with Words: Select Old English Literature

Sarah M. Anderson

This course concentrates on a constitutive problem in OE literature: the theme of "making" and "makers". What powers does a text assume when it makes an inanimate object speak? What temporal and spatial fantasies about English origins and ambitions do OE texts build? What ideas of identity? We'll scrutinize authorship, too, asking how one learned and shaped the poet's role, and how OE texts represented literary composition and understood the tools of singing and writing. Each dramatic, dynamic text we'll encounter asks us to think about how words shape and fabricate the worlds of the OE period.

Sample reading list:
Ælfric, Colloquy
Anonymous, The Dream of the Rood and the Ruthwell Cross
Anonymous, The Franks Casket (inscriptions and decorative program)
Anonymous, select metrical charms
Anonymous, select riddles from the Exeter Book
Anonymous, The Seafarer
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
Students are encouraged to engage with OE literary problems that spark their interest right away, including the topic of translating texts into post-modern contexts. Weekly, we will read OE aloud together, and students will perform their favorites. Student-driven collaborative projects are crucial too, and one presentation is required. Two short papers give you the chance to translate, comment on, or edit OE texts (20pp min, total). 30pp of reading p/wk

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

Other Requirements:
Not Open to First Year Undergraduates.

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
Though acquaintance with the OE language and with medieval history will help, neither is assumed. This course is aimed at those at whatever level who are interested in reading OE. We will gain a working knowledge of the OE language during the first four weeks of the term, and I will gladly meet students informally to help that facility stick. All texts will be available in Modern English translation as aids to coping with the originals..

Other information:
ENG Major Distribution Area: British Foundation

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
42386 S01 11:00:00 am - 12:20:00 pm T Th        Enrolled:16 Limit:18