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Philology 4: Highlights 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 offers a survey of Medieval English literature (7th-15th centuries) that provides fascinating insight into the imaginary world of the English Middle Ages, as well as an exploration of some of the new digital horizons of medieval studies Texts that are read and discussed include Beowulf, The Battle of Maldon, The Dream of the Rood, Ancrene Wisse, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and other Middle English Arthurian literature. 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


1) A 2-hour written mid-term exam, with a short translation, short open questions and essay questions, on the material of Block III.
2) A 2-hour end-of-term exam, with a short translation, short open questions and essay questions, on the material of Block IV.
3) Preparation and participation within the course, including weekly homework assignments via BlackBoard and in-class activities
4) A short assignment, submitted during Block IV


Element 1) 45%
Element 2) 40%
Element 3) 10%
Element 4) 5%


When the final grade is 5.49 or lower, one or more of the exams (elements 1 and 2) will have to be retaken during the resit period. There is no resit for preparation, participation, or the short assignment (elements 3 and 4).

Exam review

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Attendance is compulsory. Missing more than two tutorials means that students will be excluded from the tutorials. Unauthorized absence also applies to being unprepared, not participating and/or not bringing the relevant course materials to class.


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.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Students other than from the BA English Language and Culture studies need permission from the coordinator of studies before enrolling.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.


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