The Study of Language: Old English

Module code: EN2030

Module co-ordinator: Professor Julie Colman

In this module you will study the literature of the Anglo-Saxons. We will consider its creation within its historical and cultural milieu. Language lectures will teach you the basic elements of Old English grammar and equip you with all of the language tools required to understand Old English, undertake the online tests, and tackle a linguistic assignment, should you choose to do so.

Topics covered

The following core texts will be studied closely in seminars and lectures through translation and analysis:

  • Ælfric's Life of St Æthelthryth 
  • The Story of Cædmon
  • Wulfstan's Sermo Lupi ad Anglos
  • Beowulf (the fight with Grendel) 
  • The Dream of the Rood (lines 1-23, 39-62)
  • The Battle of Maldon (11.84-107)
  • Judith (11.94b-121)

These texts will be supplemented with texts studied in Modern English translation, such as Beowulf, The Wife's Lament and Old English saints' lives.




  • Short assessments (20%)
  • Essay, 3,000 words (80%)