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Philology 5: Old English Literature



This course elaborates on Philology 2. We shall read, study and translate a number of literary and non-literary texts in combination with background literature. You will gradually gain a deeper insight into a broad spectrum of aspects of the Anglo-Saxon culture which have not yet been dealt with in Philology 2, or only in passing. Topics that will be discussed include feud and reconciliation, hero and/or saint, fact or propaganda, the material culture (archaeology and paleography), orality and literacy.

Teaching method

Two-hour seminar per week.

Admission requirements

A working knowledge of Old English (course: Introduction to Old English).

Course objectives

Students will acquire a thorough knowledge of the highlights of Old English literature (prose and poetry) and of the relevant cultural history of Anglo-Saxon England. They will become familiar with the various genres and ways of interpreting. They will also be able to translate Old English at an advanced level. After successful completion of the course, students will be well equipped to attend Old English course at M.A.-level.

Required reading

  • Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature (Cambridge: CUP, 1991).

  • Ian Campbell, ed., The Anglo-Saxons (Penguin Books, 1991).

  • Elaine Treharne, ed., Old and Middle English c. 890-c. 1400. An Anthology, 2nd edn (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004).

Test method

Written exam: translation 30%, literature and culture 70%.

Time table

Click here for the timetable


English Department, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102c. Phone: 071 527 2144, or by mail:


Students can register through U-twist before 15 July. After 15 July students can only register through the Departmental Office.


This course is supported by Blackboard.