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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

MEDV5235M Medieval English

30 creditsClass Size: 10

Module manager: Dr Alaric Hall

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will provide you with the linguistic and critical skills you need to study medieval English texts in the original, underpinning research in medieval history, literature, and culture, and in medievalism. No previous experience of language study is required. The module will be adapted to the skills and interests of the students taking it, but will ensure that, by studying both Old and Middle English, you will gain a deep and rounded understanding of the numerous varieties of medieval English and how an understanding of one informs another. The precise syllabus will vary according to student need, but indicative list of texts to be studied would include: The Wanderer, Beowulf, Ælfric’s homily on St. Edmund, Laȝamon’s Brut, Pearl, Troilus and Criseyde, and Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur.


- To enable primary research at MA and PhD level using texts written in Old and Middle English
- The ability to translate and interpret texts from language varieties across the spectrum of medieval English
- A thorough understanding of how a knowledge of Old English informs the understanding of Middle English, and vice versa

Learning outcomes
- A thorough understanding of medieval English grammar and the metalanguage used to describe it
- Familiarity with major canonical texts from the Old and Middle English period
- Familiarity with the scholarly resources for advanced original-language study of Old and Middle English texts


• This is a research skills module, designed to be responsive to the abilities and research plans of the MA and PhD students taking it.
• Depending on student need, it will ordinarily be delivered through twenty-six weekly one-hour seminars:
• 10 one-hour S1 ab initio Old English seminars shared with ENGL3261.
- 5 one-hour S1 seminars, tailored to students' research interests, deepening their understanding of Old English/early Middle English language and texts.
- 9 one-hour S2 seminars focusing on Middle English.
- 2 seminars focusing on presentation and discussion of essay topics.
- Seminars will involve reading texts in translation and discussing their interpretation as evidence for literary and cultural history.
- An indicative list of texts to be read in part would include: Beowulf, The Wanderer, Ælfric’s homily on St. Edmund, Laȝamon’s Brut, Pearl, Troilus and Criseyde, and Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours274.00
Total Contact hours26.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students will learn grammar and vocabulary in a structured progression, making use of online resources such as
Students will translate passages from set texts as preparation for many language seminars, or undertake structured exercises linguistic, literary, and cultural analysis of texts in the original. They will read appropriate secondary literature in preparation for literary, historical, and/or linguistic discussion of the texts.
A substantial amount of private study will be devoted to work towards the assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students' weekly presentation of translations in language seminars will enable close monitoring of progress. This will be underpinned by unassessed online homework exercises, submission of one unassessed translation in each term, and class tests.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 words50.00
PortfolioAt the end of the module students will put forward two of their weekly assignments from S1 and two from S2 for final assessment50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 03/10/2023 17:03:42


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