Seminar: Warriors, Women, and Writing: Old English Language and Literature

Enseignant(s): Dutton Elisabeth
Cursus: Master
Type d'enseignement: Séminaire
Langue(s) du cours: Anglais
Semestre(s): SA-2019

Some of the most profound and moving poetry in the English language was written before the 1066 Norman Conquest of England, in what is now called ‘Old English’ or ‘Anglo-Saxon’.  Also surviving in Old English are a number of sophisticated and engaging philosophical and religious treatises, intriguing historical writings – and of course the celebrated epic Beowulf.  This course will explore the language, literature and culture of the Anglo-Saxons, considering the wide generic range of Old English writings.  Important themes will be the roles of women and their voices in literature, and the heroic code and its construction of warrior masculinity. The final weeks of the course will be dedicated to a consideration of the role of the Anglo-Saxon world in the modern imagination: we will consider the evocation of Old English by poets including Hopkins, Pound and Heaney, and the adaptation of Beowulf in modern film.  


  • Knowledge of grammar of Old English language
  • Training in translation from Old English
  • Consideration of theories of translation
  • Broad appreciation of the early stages of development of written English
  • Understanding of pre-Conquest English literature and culture
  • Appreciation of importance of the Anglo-Saxon world in the modern English imagination, and sense of ‘Englishness’