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This syllabus is subject to change. The latest version on this website is the binding syllabus.




English 313 is an introduction to the Old English language (its phonology, morphology, and syntax) and to Old English literature. In this course you will learn the language and translate poetry from the original.

My office is 259 Bartlett. Phone is 413-545-6598. Office hours are by appointment.

Please read this warning about the course.

We meet TTh, 1:00 - 2:15 pm, in Bartlett 201.
(Campus Map.)


We will be using:

All books are available online.

as a supplement to Sweet, we will read Michael Drout's online grammar, King Alfred's Grammar.

Recommended. You need not own Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge, The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature (Cambridge, 1991); but, it is an excellent resource comprised of top-notch essays. Also, an excellent student dictionary is J. R. Clark Hall, A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, 4th edition (University of Toronto, 1960). And a free app to learn OE.

NB. Your priority in this class is to understand the language. So, please make sure to have Sweet as soon as possible. (A free verison is at Google Books, linked above.)


We begin with an introduction to the language of Anglo-Saxon England in the ninth century. You must be competent in English grammar (here is a good, short book on English grammar; check the library, too).

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 poetry and prose. (All of it is available in pdf on-line through this site.) Check out all the class handouts.

Finally, we will discuss briefly the culture of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages in order to contextualize the Old English texts. I hope to cultivate your inner Viking.


Attendence is required. You only have 39 hours of class time to learn Old English (a regular work week is 40 hours). 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. My lectures are copyrighted material.

Complete Attendance policy here.


There is a midterm exam (20%), a final exam (30%), and 5 quizzes (40%). Attendance and participation are 10%. We will be translating in class; your translation counts as your participation. Graduate students are also responsible for a research paper which engages secondary sources.


Everyone is encouraged to meet with me at least once during the semester, if only to verify that the grades you have correspond to the ones in my gradebook. I am usually to be found in my office TTh. (Please 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.


Each author's ideas and phrasing are his or her own property. If you reproduce them without due recognition, then you have committed plagiarism. Plagiarism earns the harshest punishment our university can offer. If you have any question whatsoever about whether you might be committing plagiarism, please consult me immediately. On the whole, the university expects you to act and write with the highest degree of integrity. For more information, consult your handbook.


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 administration.

NOTE 3: All material pertaining to this course is copyrighted material and is subject to international and US laws of copyright. No recording devices, please.


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Academic Schedule

To search the Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records, click here.


UMass Library
Google Books
Search Anglo-Saxon Poetry
Old English Newsletter Bib
Anglo-Saxon Bibliography

Germanic Lexicon Project
Bosworth-Toller (partial)
Thesaurus of Old English

The Labyrinth
Medieval Sourcebook
Norse Saga Net
Anglo-Saxon Charters
Siever's Heliand
Bible (Douay-Rheims)
Dum├ęzil, Norse Gods
Klaeber, Beowulf

Manuscripts of St. Gall

Old English at UVa
Viking Ship Museum

Warning! Jingoistic anti-Roman revisionism, but nevertheless informative:

VIDEO: The Ancient Celts
VIDEO: The Goths
VIDEO: The Barbarian Tribes