Reading Old English

Module code: EN2045

Old English, the language of the Anglo-Saxons, is the earliest form of the English language, and there is a fascinating and varied body of texts surviving from this period of English history. The English language has, however, changed substantially since the Anglo-Saxon period, and detailed study of the language is required in order to be able to read these texts in their original language and appreciate in full their literary techniques. This module is designed to teach students the language skills necessary to read and translate Old English, offering them greater understanding of the language, literature and culture of the Anglo-Saxons.

Topics covered:

  • Basics of Old English grammar
  • Approaches to translation
  • Alfredian prose
  • Homilies and saints’ lives
  • Heroic poetry
  • Religious poetry


  • 20 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 130 hours of guided independent study


  • Grammar exercise (20%)
  • Translation and commentary (80%)