UCL Medieval and Renaissance Studies


MDVL0002 Anglo-Saxon Court Culture

30 credits, Terms 1 and 2

This module focuses on Old English literature and court culture, considering both works which were produced in connection with a particular court and works whose contents include representation of a court or courts. The module includes a study of some writings associated with Alfred's court at the end of the ninth century and also of poetry such as Beowulf (focusing on, for example, the courtly speeches and their ornate syntax and layers of meaning, and comparison and contrast of Hrothgar’s, Hygelac’s and Beowulf’s courts). Its approach allows students to engage closely with texts from a literary point of view and also to consider how historical, linguistic, and cultural issues bear in significant ways on the interpretation of Old English writings. Some prior knowledge of Old English is required for the module.