English 190

Research Seminar: Beowulf

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
9 Spring 2017 Thornbury, Emily V.

TTh 9:30-11 50 Barrows Pre-1800 Requirement
Old English
Research Seminars

Book List

Bjork, Robert E., and John D. Niles: A Beowulf Handbook; Jack, George: Beowulf: A Student Edition; Orchard, Andy: A Critical Companion to Beowulf

Other Readings and Media

Students should also have one or more modern English translations for consultation.


Beowulf is the longest, subtlest, and in many ways the strangest and most difficult Old English poem that has survived from Anglo-Saxon England. Since its rediscovery in the 18th century, we have learned much about its language and literary background, but many fundamental aspects of Beowulf remain unknown—including the time and place of its origin, and the identity and purpose of its author. In this seminar, we will read the whole of Beowulf closely in the original, alongside important critical and literary parallels that will help us understand the poem’s background, as well as the controversies surrounding its interpretation. Students will then conduct their own investigations into Beowulf and its many lingering mysteries.

While command of Old English is not a prerequisite, this seminar is ideal for students who have completed English 104 (Introduction to Old English) and would like to continue their study of Old English literature through its greatest surviving text.

This section of English 190 satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

Please read the paragraph about English 190 on page 2 of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or waiit-listing for this course.

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