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Philology 4: Higlights of Medieval English Literature


Admission requirements

Completion of Philology 1 and 2 or comparable courses.


This course builds on Philology 1 and Philology 2. It course offers a survey of Medieval English literature (7th-15th centuries) that provides a fascinating insight into the imaginary world of the English Middle Ages. Texts that are read and discussed include Beowulf, The Battle of Maldon, The Dream of the Rood, Layamon’s Brut, Sir Orfeo and Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur. The earliest texts are read in translation, the later texts are read with the help of a glossary; all in combination with background literature. As such, students will acquire a deeper insight into a broad range of aspects of Medieval English culture which have not yet, or only cursorily, been studied.

Course objectives

  • Abilities in interpreting representative texts from the various genres of medieval literature in their cultural-historical context

  • familiarity of the various genres and methods of interpretation

  • Skills in oral discussion

  • Practice with secondary sources

Successful completion of the course will enable the student to follow a third-year course on Old or Middle English.


The timetable is available on the BA English website

Mode of instruction

Combination of lectures and seminars

Course Load

5 EC = 140 hours

  • time devoted to seminars: 26 hours.

  • time for studying the compulsory literature: 80 hours.

  • time to prepare for the exam and/or write a paper (including reading / research): 34 hours.

Assessment method

  • A 2-hour written mid-term exam on the material of Block III; 50% of the final grade.

  • A 2-hour end-of-term exam on the material of Block IV; 50% of the final grade.

When the final grade is 5.49 or lower, one or more of the exams (depending on the grade of the individual exams) will have to be retaken during the resit period.

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


Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course.

Reading list

  • Elaine Treharne, ed., Old and Middle English c. 890 – c. 1400: An Anthology, Third Edition, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

  • Reader


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory. Please note that students other than BA English language and culture studies will have to have permission from the coordinator of studies before enrolling.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Student administration Van Eyckhof


Students are expected to be prepared right from week 1. The work for week 1 is to be found in Blackboard.