Ancestral Voices: The Earliest English Literature (Online)
This course aims to dispel the myth that Old English literature is either dreary, difficult, or only about drinking and fighting, and will introduce participants to the range of Old English literature, from stirring tales of heroism, courage, and fellowship, to poignant elegies of love and loss; from passionately devout to earthily humorous.
An accessible introduction to the earliest extant English literature. The aim of this course is not for participants to learn to read or speak Old English; the texts explored will be offered in translation. Optional activities and directions for further exploration, however, enable those who wish to learn some Old English grammar and vocabulary to do so.
Areas covered include: Anglo-Saxon history and culture; an introduction to Old English texts; in-depth exploration of selections from Old English texts in translation; an introduction to and taster of a variety of Old English; Old English script and runes; manuscripts; tools for close critical analysis; the heroic tradition; paganism and Christianity and women in Anglo-Saxon culture.
Students completing this course will be invited to join our online book group.
For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.
Unit 1: Ancestral Voices
Anglo-Saxons - where did they come from and where did they go?
Anglo- Saxon art and artefacts
Engilsh speakers at either end of the millennium
Unit 2: Hearing voices: introduction to old English texts in translation
Old English literature
The sound of Old English literature
Old English literature in translation
Some features of Old English texts
Unit 3: Hearing Voices: getting more our of reading Old English texts
Analysing literary texts
Old English scripts
Introduction to manuscripts
Unit 4: Pagan voices and Christian voices
The pagan past
Conversion to Christianity
Pagan and Christian symbolism: The Dream of the Rood
Unit 5: Old English voices: a taster of the Old English language
History of the English language
Old English languages
Lessons in Old English
Old English origins of Modern English words
The pronunciation of Old English
Unit 6: Epic and heroic voices
The heroic tradition
The Battle of Brunanburh
The Battle of Maldon
Unit 7: Beowulf
Why read Beowulf?
How Beowulf reaches modern readers
The style of Beowulf
Comparing translations of Beowulf
Enjoying and appreciating Beowulf
Unit 8: Women's voices
Anglo-Saxon women: in the home
Anglo-Saxon women: in the church
Anglo-Saxon women: in power and politics
Anglo-Saxon women: in literature, ‘Wulf and Eadwacer’
Anglo-Saxon Women: in literature, ‘The Wife’s Lament’
Unit 9: Single and echoing voices
Old English elegies of the Exeter Book
Unit 10; Lasting voices: the end and after
History of late Anglo-Saxon England
The Norman invasion
Old English riddles
Opportunities for further exploration and study
We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.
This course does not have any textbooks; the required readings will be provided on the course site. You will need to have regular access to the Internet.
To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £10 fee.
For more information on CATS point please click on the link below: http://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/studentsupport/faq/cats.php
Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.
Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.
All students who successfully complete this course, whether registered for credit or not, are eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Completion consists of submitting both course assignments and actively participating in the course forums. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.
This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.
Home/EU Fee: £270.00
Non-EU Fee: £295.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00
To enable students to gain an enjoyment and appreciation of Old English texts and an understanding of the contexts of those texts.
On successful completion of this course, participants will:
- have knowledge of a range of Old English texts in translation;
- have gained or developed tools of critical analysis and understanding;
- have encountered samples of Old English dialects and Old English scripts;
- have explored archaeological findings relating to the 5th to 11th centuries;
- have an understanding of the history of settlement of England by peoples from the north and east.
Participants will gain knowledge of:
- the range and variety of the Old English language (introductory)
- the range and variety of Old English literature
- the history of the Anglo-Saxon invasions and settlement of England (survey)
Participants will gain understanding of:
- the relationship between Old and Modern English
- the diversity of Old English dialects
- genres, subjects, traditions and conventions of Old English literature (in translation)
- sources of our knowledge of Anglo-Saxon culture
- practices and beliefs of the Anglo-Saxon peoples.
Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment of 500 words due half way through the course and one longer assignment of 1500 words due at the end of the course.
Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.
Level and demands
FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.
Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course
Sources of funding
Information on financial support