Proseminar: Old English: Unlock the Wordhord!

  • Enseignement


    Faculté Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines
    Domaine Anglais
    Code UE-L06.01024
    Langues Anglais
    Type d'enseignement Proséminaire
    Cursus Bachelor
    Semestre(s) SA-2020

    Horaires et salles

    Horaire résumé Mercredi 10:15 - 12:00, Hebdomadaire



    The hero's first speech in the epic poem Beowulf is announced as a moment of liberation: "wordhord onleac" [he unlocked his hoard of words, l. 259]. Beowulf must answer the enquiries of Hrothgar's watchman, who calls to him from the Danish headland to determine the reason for his visit; the poet's framing of the warrior's response invites us to think of it as a release of treasure.

    This course considers the rich "wordhord" on which the Beowulf-poet drew in the making of his poem, offering students a comprehensive introduction to Old English and the varied literature surviving in that language. Grammatical particularities will be introduced via the translation of a series of increasingly complex texts in verse and prose. Works considered will include prognostics (brief predictions for the future), instructions for monastic sign language, chronicles, Christian and secular poetry, riddles, and Beowulf itself, which we will consider in extract. This course will appeal especially to students with interests in the History of the English language and translation studies.


    In a final exam in week 13, students will: 1) Translate a passage of Old English prose with the help of a generous glossary (a list of the words that will not be glossed on the exam will be circulated in week 1); and 2) Write an essay on the topics treated in the course, choosing from one of two prompts. Exams will be returned with feedback in week 14.

    Objectifs de formation
    • The ability to read Old English texts in student editions.
    • Familiarity with the history and vernacular literature of early medieval England.
    • An enhanced appreciation for the creative work of literary translation

    Online course

    Hors domaine



    Set Texts

    Richard Marsden, The Cambridge Old English Reader. 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, 2015. Copies of this book have been ordered at librophoros (

  • Dates et salles
    Date Heure Type d'enseignement Lieu
    16.09.2020 10:15 - 12:00 Cours
    23.09.2020 10:15 - 12:00 Cours
    30.09.2020 10:15 - 12:00 Cours
    07.10.2020 10:15 - 12:00 Cours
    14.10.2020 10:15 - 12:00 Cours
    21.10.2020 10:15 - 12:00 Cours
    28.10.2020 10:15 - 12:00 Cours
    04.11.2020 10:15 - 12:00 Cours
    11.11.2020 10:15 - 12:00 Cours
    18.11.2020 10:15 - 12:00 Cours
    25.11.2020 10:15 - 12:00 Cours
    02.12.2020 10:15 - 12:00 Cours
    09.12.2020 10:15 - 12:00 Cours
    16.12.2020 10:15 - 12:00 Cours
  • Modalités d'évaluation

    Séminaire - Hors session

    Mode d'évaluation Par note, Par réussi/échec
  • Affiliation
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