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Philology 5: Old English Literature and Culture


Admission requirements

Completion of Philology 1, 2 and 3 or comparable courses.


This course elaborates on Philology 2. Students read, study, translate and discuss a number of literary and non-literary texts in combination with background literature. In doing so, students will acquire a deeper insight into a broad range of aspects of the Anglo-Saxon culture which has not yet, or only cursorily, been studied. Subject of discussion includes feuding and reconciliation, hero and/or saint, fact or propaganda, the material culture (archeology and paleography), orality and literacy.

Course objectives

  • thorough knowledge of the highlights of Old English literature (prose and poetry) and of the relevant cultural history of Anglo-Saxon England

  • familiarity of the various genres and methods of interpretation

  • proficiency in translating Old English at an advanced level.
    Successful completion of the course will enable the student to write a B.A. paper on an Old English subject and to follow a course in Old English at the M.A. level.


See timetable English

Mode of instruction

Two-hour seminar

Course Load

10 EC = 280 hours.

  • hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 26 hours.

  • time for studying the compulsory literature: 140 hours.

  • time to prepare for the exam: 54 hours.

  • time to write a paper (including reading / research): 60 hours

Assessment method

A final exam (70% of final mark), consisting of three parts:

A) An unseen translation (21%)
B) Questions on cultural and historical background (21%)
C) Questions on literature (28%)

In addition: an essay of 1,500 words (20% of final mark) and two ‘blended learning’ assignments (5%+5% of final mark)

If the final grade is 5 or less students may resit the exam; there are no resits for the essay and the ‘blended learning’ assignments.

Attendance is compulsory. Unauthorized absence will mean that you cannot take part in the relevant exam(s).


This course is supported by Blackboard. Blackboard will be used to provide the students with the weekly syllabus, extra information and a sample test. It will also include a discussion board.

Reading list

  • Baker, Peter (2012). Introduction to Old English. 3rd edn. Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Treharne, Elaine (2009). Old and Middle English c.890–c.1400: An Anthology. 3rd edn. Blackwell.

  • Godden, Malcolm & Lapidge, Michael (2013). The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature. 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press.

  • Campbell, James (1991). The Anglo-Saxons. Penguin.


Enrollement trough uSis is mandatory. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs

Contact details

English Language and Culture student administration, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144;
Coordinator of studies: Ms T.D. Obbens, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.