Medieval Studies

Mary E Blockley

ProfessorPh.D., 1984, Yale University

Associate Professor
Mary E Blockley



Language and Linguistics, Renaissance Literature, Old English language and literature, History of the English language, Medieval manuscripts, Germanic philology


MDV 392M • Old English

41030 • Fall 2016
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm CLA 0.124
(also listed as E 364P, E 395N)

E 364P  l  Old English

Instructor:  Blockley, M

Unique #:  35480

Semester:  Fall 2016

Cross-lists:  E 395N, MDV 392M

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisites:  Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description:  The earliest vernacular compositions in English, dating from the seventh century to some decades beyond the Norman Conquest in the eleventh, are our sources for Old English, a.k.a. Anglo-Saxon.  In this course we will learn how to read them with healthy skepticism and an on-line concordance.  We will begin with the prose and read extracts from travelogues, chronicles, translations from Latin, and saints' lives.  We will do some transcription from facsimiles of manuscripts to discover what editors put in and leave out in producing texts.  We will spend most of the course reading the most-studied verse compositions, including The Wanderer and possibly The Seafarer, heroic poems like The Battle of Brunanburh, The Battle of Maldon, and The Dream of the Rood, possibly some riddles and Biblical epic.  Daily translation, homework exercises, grammar quizzes as necessary, a midterm exam covering the grammar of prepared translations, and a final exam.


 J. C. Pope and R. D. Fulk, Eight Old English Poems (Norton, 2001)

 P. S. Baker, Introduction to Old English, 3rd ed. (Wiley Blackwell, 2012) and online

 J. Clark-Hall Concise Dictionary of Anglo-Saxon (Toronto 1984)

 Dictionary of Old English online corpus.

Requirements & Grading:  Daily translation, quizzes, exercises, 55%; Midterm, 25%; Final exam, 20%.

No makeup quizzes, no more than two unexcused absences without penalty.

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