2010–2011 syllabus

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Meet: MWF 11–12
Location: SS 1083
Instructor: Paul Langeslag (paul.langeslag@utoronto.ca)
Website: oe.langeslag.org
Office: JH 701 (416-946-3679)
Office hours: Mondays 12–1


This course will teach students the elements of Old English grammar and equip them with the skills needed to read and work with Old English texts. In addition, students will be introduced to various aspects of Anglo-Saxon history and culture.


Since frequent application is the most effective way to learn a language, students will write weekly quizzes covering grammar and vocabulary during the fall term. The quizzes will take ten to fifteen minutes each and will concentrate on the material learned in the preceding week, though they will also build on knowledge gained earlier in the term. In spring, the quizzes will be replaced by fortnightly translation tests. In addition, there will be a test at the end of the fall term covering all the grammar and vocabulary learned, while a final exam at the end of the spring term will deal with the translation of both seen and unseen texts into modern English. Finally, an essay (8–10 pages) will be due in March. The essay can be on any aspect of Anglo-Saxon literature, history, or culture, but it must discuss one or more Old English passages in the original language to show the student’s ability to comprehend and discuss Old English at the level required for critical scholarship. To ensure that students develop their essay plans successfully, they will be required to write two preliminary assignments (unmarked): the first, due in November, will consist of 100–200 words outlining the proposed research topic; the second, due in February, will be a 500–600 word synopsis of the essay’s argument and reflection on the research process: what materials and resources have you found helpful and which less so? What has been your strategy for the finding of secondary sources? Both assignments must be submitted in a timely fashion: if either is more than seven days late, the essay will not be marked. For each day the essay itself is late, three percent will be subtracted from the essay mark. Submitting early is never a problem! The assessment breaks down as follows:

grammar quizzes 10% (the lowest score will be dropped)
translation tests 5% (the lowest score will be dropped)
December grammar test 24%
essay 35%
April translation exam 26%


Bruce Mitchell and Fred C. Robinson, A Guide to Old English (7th ed.; Blackwell, 2007), available at the Bob Miller Book Room, 180 Bloor Street West.

Further readings will be made available on Blackboard and/or handed out in class. They will stem chiefly from the following collections, which have also been put on course reserve:

Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge, eds, The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature (Cambridge University Press, 1986)

Richard North and Joe Allard, eds, Beowulf and Other Stories (Pearson, 2007)

Phillip Pulsiano and Elaine Treharne, eds, A Companion to Anglo-Saxon Literature (Blackwell, 2001)