The Anglo-Saxon Seminar: The Exeter Book: A Tenth-Century Poetic Miscellany and It’s Cultural Background
Thomas N. Hall, University of Illinois at Chicago
The primary aim of this course was to read a broad selection of poetry from the Exeter Book in light of the cultural institutions that shaped and nurtured it in the late Anglo-Saxon period, and to explore the diversity of intellectual traditions current in Anglo-Saxon England during an age of extensive literary production. Roughly one-third of the poems were read in the original; the rest were surveyed in modern translations. Attention was paid to establishing connections between the poetry and the events and phenomena central to an understanding of tenth-century English culture, particularly those engendered by the Benedictine reform, by English relations with the Continent, and by contemporary movement in Anglo-Latin and Hiberno-Lation literature and in Old English prose. A secondary goal of the course was to introduce students to methods of research in the traditions and disciplines that exerted a sustained influence on Old English literature, particularly the liturgy, hagiography, iconology, eschatology, biblical exegesis, cosmology, and folklore of the early medieval west. A reading knowledge of Old English was required.
Learn more about Center for Renaissance Studies programs for graduate students.