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Medieval Studies

MDV 392M • Old English

39550 • Blockley, Mary
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM CAL 200 • Hybrid/Blended
(also listed as E 364P, E 395N)
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E 364P  l  Old English


Instructor:  Blockley, M

Unique #: 35045-35215

Semester:  Fall 2020

Cross-lists:  E 395N.1, MDV 392M


Prerequisites:  For E 364P:  Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.  For E 395N, MDV 392M:  Graduates standing and consent of the graduate advisor.



The earliest vernacular compositions in English, dating from the seventh century to some decades beyond the Norman Conquest in the eleventh, are our sources for Old English.  In this course we will learn how to read them with healthy skepticism, an on-line concordance, a fabulous historical thesaurus, and the glossaries of various editions.  We will begin with the prose and read extracts from proverb collections, vernacular chronicles, and saints’ lives.  We will spend most of the course reading the most-studied verse compositions, including The Wanderer, heroic poems like The Battle of Brunanburh and The Battle of Maldon, enigmatic first-person poems like The Dream of the Rood, The Wife’ s Lament, and possibly some riddles.  There will be daily translation, homework exercises, grammar quizzes as necessary, a midterm exam covering the grammar of prepared translations, and a final exam or, with previous negotiation by the fifth week of class, a brief but formal presentation culminating in a written project.


Texts:  P. S. Baker, Introduction to Old English, 3rd ed. (Wiley Blackwell, 2012) and online; J. C. Pope and R. D. Fulk, Eight Old English Poems (Norton, 2001); Dictionary of Old English online corpus, through UT libraries (requires EID login)


Requirements & Grading:  No makeup quizzes, no more than two unexcused absences without penalty.

For E364P –

Daily translation, quizzes, exercises:  55%; Midterm:  25%; Final exam:  20%.


For E395N, MDV 392M –

Daily translation, quizzes, exercises:  25%; Midterm:  25%; Final paper (including abstract, bibliography, 7-minute presentation with slides):  50%