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Philology 6: Old English Literature


Admission Requirements

Introductory level of Old English is required.


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.

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 courses at M.A.-level.


The timetable will be available from July 1 onwards on the Department website.

Mode of Instruction

Two-hour seminar per week.


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


This course is supported by Blackboard. Students should sign up before the beginning of the semester.

Reading list

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, 3rd edn (Oxford: Blackwell, 2009) (in your possession).


Students can register through uSis.
Provided that the student has successfully completed the course Philology 2: Introduction to Old English Language and Culture, one can register themselves for ‘A la Carte’ or ‘Contractonderwijs’.

Register for ‘Contractonderwijs’ via:

Register for ‘À la Carte’ via:

Contact information

English Department, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103c. Phone: 071 527 2144, or mail: