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Philology 6: Middle English Literature and Culture


Admission requirements

Completion of Philology 1 or comparable course.


This digital project-based course offers an exploration of Middle English literature and the fascinating (and often conflicted) world that nurtured it. The course builds on Philology 1 (which is why Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales will not be dealt with).
In combination with background literature, we will read and explore a representative selection of Middle English literature, including Arthurian romances such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Then, drawing on, and expanding students’ knowledge of Middle English and medieval manuscripts, we will collaboratively produce our very own digital editions and analyses of Middle English works, which will be shared and read with the broader scholarly community. Students will gain skills in creating editions, academic publishing and writing for the web while expanding their knowledge of some of the gems of Middle English literature.

Course objectives

The student acquires:

  • Web writing and academic publishing experience

  • Proficiency in translating Middle English in various dialects
    *Abilities in interpreting representative texts from the various genres of medieval literature in their cultural-historical context

  • Abilities in interpreting key debates in the field of Middle English literature

  • Skills in oral discussion and written analysis

  • Practice working with secondary sources

Successful completion of the course will enable the student to write a B.A. thesis on a Middle English subject and to follow a course in Middle English at the M.A. level.


The timetable is available on the BA English website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Course Load: 280 hours

  • hours spent attending the seminar: 26

  • time for studying the compulsory literature in preparation for the seminars and writing the assignments: 234 hours

  • time to prepare for the final exam: 20 hours

Assessment method


  • Three short assignments

  • An edition of a medieval text

  • An essay-length literary analysis assignment


  • Three short assignments 30%

  • An edition of a medieval text 30%

  • An essay-length literary analysis assignment 40%


When the final grade is 5.49 or lower, one or more of the longer elements (elements 2 or 3) will have to be retaken during the resit period. There is no resit for the short assignments (element 1).


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.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • providing students with assignments

  • providing students with additional reading materials

  • providing students with extra information and a sample of the exam

  • essay and assignment submission and feedback

Reading list

  • Course reader

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

  • The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson, Oxford University Press paperback, 1988 or later editions.

  • The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 8th edition, 2006, Volume I or Volume A.

  • Supplementary background material via Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

NB: First year students will be enrolled by the coordinator of studies.

Students other than from the BA English language and culture cannot take this course.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.

The coordinator of studies is Else van Dijk


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