WiSe 15/16: PS-Medieval English Literatures II: The Exeter Book: An Anglo-Saxon Anthology from the Tenth Centrury
An eleventh-century note possibly referring to the manuscript nowadays known as the Exeter Book (MS 3501 in the library of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral) mentions 'a large English book on ... Lesen Sie weiter
An eleventh-century note possibly referring to the manuscript nowadays known as the Exeter Book (MS 3501 in the library of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral) mentions 'a large English book on various things written in verse'. Indeed, the texts collected in the volume range from fairly conventional saints' lives such as The Passion of Saint Juliana via homiletic verse to highly sophisticated lyric accounts of exile and loneliness that inspired modernist poets such as Ezra Pound, who composed a verse translation of The Seafarer. In its modern reception, the collection's perceived lack of coherence was often mirrored by the widespread practice of studying poems in isolation. But as the school of literary criticism known as the 'new philology' has reminded us, medieval texts often interacted with their material environment in complex ways so that to detach them from that environment risks losing part of their meaning.
This seminar aims to acquaint students with some of the best-known Old English poems as well as one of the most important recent trends in medieval studies. It is also designed to provide students with a basic knowledge of the Old English language, as we will translate sections of the Exeter Book from the Old English. Students should bring to this class an interest in the Anglo-Saxon period as well as in earlier forms of the English language or, at least, in decoding seemingly mysterious writings. You are expected to have acquainted yourselves with excerpts from An Introduction to Old English by Bruce Mitchell and Fred Robinson by the second session and to have read the complete Exeter Book in translation by the third session (both will be provided on Blackboard before the start of the term). In addition, you will be asked to prepare short translations and/or to read texts on theory before each session. The final mark will be based on regular and active participation and a final essay of 2000 words, to be handed in by the end of the semester.