Department of English, Jadavpur University

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History of the English Language and Old and Middle English Literature

History of the English Language and Old and Middle English Literature
Old English
Coordinator: Prodosh Bhattacharya

July 8 – 10 Deor, Widsith, The Wife’s Lament, The Husband’s Message, Wulf and Eadwacer, The Wanderer, The Seafarer, The Ruin
July 14 – 18 Beowulf
July 21 – 25 Cædmon’s Hymn, Judith, selections from Genesis B

July 28 – August 1 no classes, as I will be teaching Chaucer to PG I

August 4 – 8 selections from Cynewulf’s signed poems (Christ II, The Fates of the Apostles, Juliana, Elene), The Dream of the Rood
August 11 – 14 Old English prose: Alfred’s prose preface to his translation of Gregory’s Pastoral Care; Ælfric’s life of King Edmund; Wulfstan’s ‘Sermon of the Wolf to the English’.

Texts are available for most of these online. The departmental library has Crossley-Holland’s The Anglo-Saxon World, which will give you many of these texts.

Middle English

August 18 – 22            The Owl and the Nightingale, lines 549 – 892 (Penguin translation by Brian Stone)

August 25 -29 Medieval English Verse (Penguin translation by Brian Stone): selections from the Harley Lyrics; ‘Dame Siriz and the Weeping Bitch’


First Assessment      September 1


Middle English (contd.)

September 3 – 5 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Penguin translation by Brian Stone), Fit IV

September 8 – 12 Chaucer, ‘The Prioress’s Tale’ (Penguin translation by Coghill)

September 15 – 18 Middle English prose: selections from The Ancrene Riwle and Mandeville’s Travels (modern English translations)

September 22 – 26 Medieval English Drama: Everyman (tr. A. C. Cawley in Everyman and Medieval Miracle Plays)


History of the English Language

Prescribed text:   C. L. Wrenn, The English Language (selected chapters)

October 13 – 22

Second Assessment                         October (precise date to be announced)


Secondary Reading:

Greenfield and Calder, A New Critical History of Old English Literature

Swanton, English Literature before Chaucer

Prodosh Bhattacharya




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