Beowulf is the most canonical of all Old English texts. An epic about an aristocratic warrior hero who slays monsters and a dragon, the text is often seen as the epitome of the archaic culture of ... Lesen Sie weiter
Beowulf is the most canonical of all Old English texts. An epic about an aristocratic warrior hero who slays monsters and a dragon, the text is often seen as the epitome of the archaic culture of the Early Middle Ages. Closer scrutiny reveals, however, the extent to which the poem analyses, critiques and questions the cultural world it depicts. Far from being a mere reflection of the tastes and values of a noble class essentially similar to its protagonists, the text is a self-consciously poetic and narrative achievement that deploys a wide range of stylistic and aesthetic devices all of which contribute to making it a tragic, haunting and, above all, highly sophisticated and polished literary masterpiece.
This course seeks to unravel the many secrets hidden under the text's surface. We will, therefore, approach the poem from as many different angles as possible. Since we will be reading the text in the original Old English, the seminar will commence with a crash course on Old English.
Students are expected to have acquired a critical edition of the poem (i.e. one containing the Old English text with a full apparatus of notes and a glossary) by the beginning of the semester. I strongly recommend the revised (fourth) edition of Klaeber's Beowulf (R.D. Fulk, Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles eds., Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008). It is also advisable to get hold of a translation of the poem.