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This syllabus is subject to change. The latest version on this website is the binding syllabus. Office: 314 Shattuck Hall
Office Hours: MW and by appointment.
harris at mtholyoke.edu

COURSE: English 310 is an introduction to the Old English language (its phonology, morphology, and syntax) and to Old English literature. A guide is available here. We meet Mondays and Wednesdays at 11:00am until 12:15pm.

BOOKS: We will be using:

1) Mitchell & Robinson, A Guide to Old English, 6th edition (Blackwells);
2) J. R. Clark Hall, A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, 4th edition (University of Toronto); and
3) Stephen Barney, Word Hoard (Yale, 1985).

There are a number of recommended readings. These are available in the library, or at any of the dozens of libraries in the vicinity. You need purchase none of these. I will also be providing numerous handouts, and we will be using Michael Drout's online grammar as a supplement to M&R: King Alfred's Grammar.

Course books are available at Odyssey Books in South Hadley. You may want to buy James Campbell et al., The Anglo-Saxons (Penguin), which is an inexpensive, extensively illustrated, and excellent introduction to Anglo-Saxon England from its beginnings to the Norman Conquest.

STRUCTURE: We begin with an introduction to the language of Anglo-Saxon England in the ninth century. You must be competent (or very quickly become competent) in English grammar. We will discuss various aspects of the language's syntax, morphology, phonology, and history. This will continue throughout the course. We will also translate and discuss Old English poems, saints' lives, wills, charters, and so forth. Finally, we will discuss briefly the culture of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages in order to contextualize the Old English texts.

Each class will begin with a discussion of grammar, then move to textual translation and explication.

ATTENDANCE POLICY: Attendence is very strongly encouraged. Lectures and discussions provide much of the material for which you are responsible. I will not repeat a lecture, summarize a lecture, or provide anyone with my lecture notes.

ASSIGNMENTS: There is a midterm exam, a late-semester test, and a final paper.

Midterm is 25%; late-semester test is 25%; and final paper is 50% of your total grade.

  • Papers must be handed in at the beginning of class on the date due. Late papers will not be accepted.
  • All missed assignments get an "F." If you foresee being absent, please let me know well beforehand.
  • Plagiarism gets an "F." This may be for the paper or for the course, at my discretion. Please check your student handbook and college guidelines for more on plagiarism.
  • All papers must be typed or word-processed.

GRADING: See my Undergraduate Grading Policies.

CONFERENCES: Everyone is encouraged to meet with me at least once during the semester. I will try to be available Mondays and Wednesdays during office hours. (Please do let me know beforehand if you want to meet.) Otherwise, please make an appointment to meet with me at a time convenient to you and I will try to oblige. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, I am to be found at UMass, Bartlett Hall, room 259.

ACADEMIC HONESTY: Each author's ideas, words, and phrasing are his or her own. If you reproduce them without due recognition, then you have committed plagiarism. If you have any question whatsoever about whether you might be committing plagiarism, please consult with me or another professor before submitting your work. On the whole, the college expects you to act and write with the highest degree of integrity.

NOTE 1: Please make and keep a copy of all your assignments. That copy may be a disc copy. In case any difficulties arise with respect to misplaced assignments or with respect to discrepancies between your records and my own, I will accept the evidence of your computer system's dating function. For your own peace of mind, I suggest that you lock any document on the day it is due. That will prevent your system from associating your document with a later date.

NOTE 2: The schedule of this course is subject to change. It is not to be construed as a substitute for your attendance or as a catalogue of all the information for which you are responsible. All changes will be announced beforehand. This syllabus and the accompanying schedule constitute a binding contract between a student and professor. If you do not agree with any of the provisions set herein and as of this moment, then you are free to drop this class within the time allotted by the college.

NOTE 3: All material pertaining to this course--namely but not exclusively handouts, quizzes, exams, tests, maps, graphs, charts, printed matter, recorded matter, electronic matter including but not limited to this syllabus is copyrighted material and is subject to international and US laws of copyright. Enrollment in this course constitutes tacit acceptance of this agreement and of the copyright claims made therein. Any breach of this agreement or use of copyrighted material by any member of the university or the public without prior consent will be met with lots and lots of legal action.


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