HEROIC HISTORY IN ANGLO-SAXON ENGLAND: Beowulf in Context HIST4009

  • Academic Session: 2014-15
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course uses the epic poem "Beowulf" as a lens through which to explore Anglo-Saxon social and cultural history. Special attention is paid to the themes of family and feuding, the symbolism of weapons and treasure, the ideals of kingship, and the role of monsters in the medieval imagination. Because virtually everything about the poem is controversial, except the fact of its survival in extraordinary circumstances, the course deals in debates and hypotheses, not in facts. Students are encouraged to participate in ongoing controversies about when the poem may have been composed, and to think about the use of literature as a historical source and the problems of evidence in early medieval history. Discussion is central to the course via a series of workshops in addition to the seminars; students are expected to lead discussions as well as presenting their own seminar papers. A detailed course pack of supplementary primary source material is made available.

Timetable

Twice Weekly

Requirements of Entry

Admission to honours in history

Excluded Courses

None

Co-requisites

None

Assessment

Coursework - class essay (2000 words approximately)

Examination duration 120 minutes

Coursework - seminar presentation 6% and seminar contribution 4%

Main Assessment In: April/May