Cursussen

Current Debates in Medieval English Literature

Course Name

Current Debates in Medieval English Literature: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

University

Leiden

EC

5

Course date

semester 2 (2019-2020)

Registration open until

-

Location

UL

Instructor(s)

Thijs Porck (UL), Martine Cole (UU) & Kees Dekker (RUG)

E-mail Contact

Thijs Porck

Course objectives

Completing the course successfully, the student will know what kinds of research are currently being conducted in the field of medieval English literature and language, specifically with regard to the particular text studied in the module, at Dutch universities and beyond.

The student will know about the conditions of that research (methodologies, current debates, the individuals active in the field), and will be familiar with a number of sources that need to be consulted to conduct that research.

The student will have the experience needed to identify a research problem, to formulate this in speech and on paper, and to conduct individual explorations.

The student will be able to formulate ideas about integrating medieval literature in modern teaching practice. in an ideal position to prepare and write an MA paper that contributes to current debates in the field.

Course content

Current Debates in Medieval English Literature is suitable for students with an interest in Medieval English literature and medieval studies. It enables ambitious MA students to explore in depth an area in the field of medieval English Studies that may play a vital role in their future careers, as teachers, writers, translators, or researchers. Engaging for 7 weeks with medievalists from universities across the country to discuss the research these academics produce, study the theoretical considerations that lie at its basis, and explore the instruments of this research (including the library and internet resources), students will develop insight into the field of English Studies at large, as well as the state of the art in their future professions. This course also helps students develop their own research ideas, their abilities to move beyond literary sources, to write convincingly about their findings, and to develop ideas about integrating medieval literature in modern teaching practice. Each year a different text or set of texts from the Anglo-Saxon period or High Middle Ages will be selected. This year (2019) we will be discussing The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in line with the MasterLanguage course ‘Language variation and change from Old to Middle English in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles.’

2019-2020

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a unique document that sheds light on the literature, culture, language, as well as national and local identities in early medieval England. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle survives in seven manuscripts, which were copied, continued and revised at various times, in differing political and geographical contexts. Originating from a ‘Common Stock’ spanning the period from 60 BC to the 890s, the text of some of the manuscripts continues to the 1150s; thus, they cover the entire Anglo-Saxon period and some hundred years after the Norman Conquest. Once considered as an objective account of “what really happened”, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in its multiple versions, is now often read as a cultural document, reflecting but also promoting a national identity for the Anglo-Saxons, shaped by the political agendas of various rulers of England. Aside from its political dimensions, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is of literary interest, since its annals are interspersed with samples of Old English poetry, ranging from early, traditional poems (such as The Battle of Brunanburh) to more innovative texts (such as William the Conqueror). The complexity of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle calls for a multi-disciplinary approach and this course will introduce students to the various research methods available for studying a medieval document. These methods include manuscript study, placing a document in its historical and cultural context, and literary criticism.

This course enables ambitious MA students to explore in depth an area in the field of medieval English Studies that may play a vital role in their future careers, as teachers, writers, translators, or researchers. Engaging for 7 weeks with medievalists from universities across the country to discuss the research these academics produce, study the theoretical considerations that lie at its basis, and explore the instruments of this research (including the library and internet resources), students will develop insight into the field of English Studies at large, as well as the state of the art in their future professions. This course also helps students develop their own research ideas, their abilities to move beyond literary sources, and to write convincingly about their findings.

A basic knowledge of medieval English language and literature is highly recommended. Students who have not followed one or more preparatory modules must contact the course coordinator some weeks before the course starts for an alternative, online means to grasp the basics of Old English or Middle English.

Assessment

Assignments (three research assignments) 45%

Essay (individual research project, resulting in a piece of writing of 2500-3000 words) 55%

Study load

5 ECTS (= 140 hours)
Seminars: 7 x 3 = 21 hrs
Preparation and work per week 7 x 5 = 35 hrs
3 Research assignments 3 x 8 = 24 hrs
Individual research project = 60 hrs

Students who need 6 ECTS may elect to do an extra assignment. This must be determined with your lecturer in week 1.

Background Literature and Course Materials

Swanton, Michael, trans., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. Orion Publishing Co, 2000.
The rest to be announced

Costs

€ 25,-

Further information

Students are highly recommended to also take the Masterlanguage course ‘Language Variation and Change from Old to Middle English in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles’ (semester I, block 2) for 5 EC.

Course schedule

To be announced

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