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Updated on:
11/11/15

 

E 313: OLD ENGLISH

Notes

 

As you begin to memorize Old English words, start with closed-class words. Conjunctions, pronouns, prepositions, and articles are not numerous. You may want to make a chart for ease:

[th]aer
1
conj
there (adv.)
swa
2
conj
as (adv.)
aer
21
conj
before (adv., prep.)
ac
56
conj
but
nu
59
conj
now (adv.)
o[th][th]e
155
conj
or
gif
160
conj
if

To which you can add ond, eac, [th]eah, etc (see MR § 184).

IX.08-10 PDF versions of (almost) all the texts we are translating this term will be made available on-line. Here they are in one place:

IX.08-10 Vocabulary comes from a word frequency analysis of the Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records. Click here for a list of the most frequently used words in Old English poetry.

IX.08-10 Final Paper is due by 15 Dec., 2 p.m. (I have to have my grades in by the 18th, so I will not accpet any more papers after that.) The final paper (as the syllabus says) is worth 30% of your grade.

Topics:

    Topic One. Translate and comment on an Old English poem or a 25-line portion of a poem. Comments include an overview of the major issues in the critical history of the poem, grammatical commentary, and etymological commentary.

    Topic Two. Describe the major issues in the critical history of a poem. Check Mark Amodio, The Anglo-Saxon Literature Handbook; Greenfield and Calder, A Critical History of Old English Literature; and any good edition of the poem. Using the ciritical history to contextualize your own view, discuss one small, specific, controlled aspect of the poem in its literary, social, or historical context.

    Topic Three. Discuss one or more translations of an Old English poem. Compare the translation(s) to the original Old English. Using a good dictionary (the Dictionary of Old English or Bosworth-Toller) to ground your view, discuss the effects of the transaltor's choices on your experience of the poem.

    Topic Four. Discuss one or more versions of an Anglo-Saxon story or the Anglo-Saxon world—movies, plays, comic books, video games, and so forth. Focus on one or two small details. Describe the effect that the modern version has on our view of Anglo-Saxon England or the early Middle Ages. Avoid simple-minded complaints that so-and-so got it wrong—your role is not to judge but to describe the effects of an interpreter's choices.

    Your own topic. You must check with me before you write. Get confirmation by 30 November. I will not accept a paper whose topic I have not authorized.