Accessibility statement

England in Europe: Anglo-Saxon LIterary Culture - MST00021M

« Back to module search

  • Department: Centre for Medieval Studies
  • Module co-ordinator: Information currently unavailable
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20
    • See module specification for other years: 2020-21

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20

Module aims

This module looks at the literary culture of England from the reign of Alfred the Great to the Conquest. We will situate the study of literature which engages with secular experience within the context of the dynamic exchange between the monastic, clerical and lay worlds which characterized the late Anglo-Saxon period in England. This period was marked by the creation of an English kingdom, church reform, conquests (Danish and Norman), and the beginning of what is commonly called the Twelfth-Century Renaissance; its literary production was distinctly multilingual involving a rich interplay of English, Latin, Old Norse and French. Throughout, Anglo-Saxon texts will be studied in their European contextWorks to be read may include: Alfreds Preface to the Pastoral Care, Assers Life of Alfred, the Exeter Book, thelweards Chronicle, Beowulf, The Letter of Alexander, Wulfstans Sermo Lupi, Apollonius of Tyre, The Encomium Emmae Reginae and The Life of King Edward. We will approach these texts by tracing a number of themes, including: the relationship between epic, romance and history-writing; the role of time in the composition and anthologizing of Old English poetry; the idea of fiction; the literary, political and religious consequences of England s radical use of the written vernacular; literary patronage (especially female and secular); court and cloister; and England s central place in Europeanliterary culture. Throughout we will be concerned with the ways in which politics from the nineteenth century to the present day have shaped the study of Anglo-Saxon England, especially in the creation of a myth of a distinctly Germanic Anglo-Saxon literature.
All texts studied will be available in translation as well as the original, and the module can be taken by students with no prior knowledge of Old English or Latin.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

  • a good knowledge of Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman literature across English, Latin and French
  • an awareness of the cultural contexts of literary production in high medieval England
  • an understanding of the politics of the major trends in the literary criticism of the period

Academic and graduate skills

  • Research skills in the areas of Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman literature
  • Masters level writing skills
  • Masters level seminar skills - presentations and discussion participation


Task Length % of module mark
4,500 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
4,500 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written and/or verbal feedback on draft essay; written report on final assessment within 6 weeks of submission and within two weeks of submission for re-assessed work.

Indicative reading

Works to be read may include: Beowulf, The Letter of Alexander, The Exeter Book, Apollonius of Tyre, The Encomium Emmae Reginae, The Life of King Edward, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, The Song of Roland, Gaimars Estoire des Engleis, William of Malmesburys History of the Kings of England, Geoffrey of Monmouths History of the Kings of Britain and the Roman d Eneas.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.