English | Beowulf
L710 | 24482 | Fulk

4:00p – 5:15p TR

Over the course of the semester we will translate Beowulf in its
entirety, using the edition of Frederick Klaeber, and so a
prerequisite is a course in the Old English language, either G601 or
its equivalent. Each class period will be devoted both to
translation and to discussion of the poem and critical issues
pertaining to it, such as the controversy over the genesis and date
of the poem, its textual criticism, codicology, prosody and
rhetoric, the relationship of the poem to other early Germanic
literature, its structure and poetic aims, the possible makeup of
the poem's audience, the roles of orality and literacy in its
composition, the nature of the poem's religious outlook, and the
history of the poem’s reception. In the first half of the semester
the greater emphasis will be on translation, in order to hone
competence in this area. To prepare for discussion, a certain amount
of reading in Beowulf scholarship will be assigned for each class
session. Members of the seminar will be responsible for reporting to
the class on significant issues, and a seminar paper will be
assigned. If there is sufficient time at the end of the semester
there will be presentations of the seminar papers. Before the
beginning of the semester, members of the seminar should have read
the poem in translation. At the first class session we will
translate the first 125 lines, and so members of the seminar should
prepare these beforehand.