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Medieval English Literatures: Writing Anglo-Saxon History


Dozent/inJan-Peer Hartmann M.A.
SemesterSoSe 2014
Veranstaltungsumfang2 SWS
RaumHabelschwerdter Allee 45 KL 32/202 Übungsraum
Beginn17.04.2014 | 08:15
Ende17.07.2014 | 10:00


In the year 449, as tradition has it, three shiploads full of Angles arrived at Ebbsfleet in east Kent. Having been invited by the Celtic King Vortigern to fight the Picts on his behalf, the new arrivals soon turned against their Celtic allies and, with the help of further troops recruited from what is now northern Germany, conquered a large area of Britain which still bears their name: England. This is the story told by the descendants of these conquerors, and this is the story that can be found, with little alteration, in history books today. The Anglo-Saxon historians were acutely aware that they were writing National History as it would be remembered by posterity. In this class we will explore the ways in which Anglo-Saxon historians shaped their history, but also the traditions they drew on and the variations that occurred in the process of transmission. The course is also directed at those who wish to gain a better knowledge of Old English, since we will read and translate portions of theAnglo-Saxon Chronicle and other historical sources. Students should bring to this class an interest in the Anglo-Saxon period as well as in reading earlier forms of the English language or, at least, in decoding seemingly mysterious writings.

Students will be expected to read and/or translate allocated passages in advance of each session. Materials will be provided on Blackboard. The final mark will be based on regular and active participation and a final essay of 2000 words, to be handed in by the end of the semester. Language of instruction: English. Required language level: C1.