Introduction to Course
Anglo-Saxon literacy developed after Christianisation in the late 7th century. The oldest surviving text of Old English literature is Cædmon's Hymn, composed between 658 and 680.
Beowulf: (//; Old English: [ˈbeːo̯wulf]) is an Old English epic story consisting of 3,182 alliterative lines. It may be the oldest surviving long story in Old English and is commonly cited as one of the most important works of Old English literature. The date of composition is a matter of contention among scholars; the only certain dating pertains to the manuscript, which was produced between 975 and 1025. The author was an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet, referred to by scholars as the "Beowulf author".
First page of Beowulf in Cotton Vitellius A. xv
|Language||West Saxon dialect of Old English|
|Date||c. 700–1000 AD (date of story), c. 975–1010 AD (date of manuscript)|
|State of existence||Manuscript suffered damage from fire in 1731|
|Manuscript(s)||Cotton Vitellius A. xv|
|First printed edition||Thorkelin (1815)|
|Genre||Epic heroic writing|
|Verse form||Alliterative verse|
|Length||c. 3182 lines|
|Subject||The battles of Beowulf, the Geatish hero, in youth and old age|
|Personages||Beowulf, Hygelac, Hrothgar, Wealhþeow, Hrothulf, Æschere, Unferth, Grendel, Grendel's mother, Wiglaf, Hildeburh.
Presentation of author
Presentation of socio-economic, cultural and linguistic background
Situer des périodes ou des courants déterminants:
What students know and think they know...
Answer questions about subject, methods...
Homework for Class 2
Read info on Elisabethan Drama, Shakespeare and Hamlet
Homework for Class 3
Prepare discussion on the various problems met while watching Hamlet.