ELL118 : Early Englishes

Convener(s): Dr Graham Williams


General Information

Early Englishes works backward over a whole millennium of English, 1600 to 600. Each week's lectures and seminar focus on one century and one text representative of that century (for example, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Beowulf). We will use a variety of techniques - literary, linguistic, anthropological, cultural historical - to analyse each text, thereby opening up discussion of the issues that preoccupied the English of the time, from glorious monster-slaying to the slow surrender of pagan belief to terror at the imminent arrival of Antichrist and on to the first expressions of love and desire. Texts will initially be studied in translation so no prior knowledge of Old or Middle English is necessary, but students will also be given the opportunity to examine texts in the original language.


There are two lectures and one seminar per week. Seminars are a forum for discussion of ideas, but also include practical activities like handling medieval manuscripts in the flesh.


There are three components to the assessment of this module: a weekly learning journal where you reflect on what has interested you each week, a portfolio comprising these journals and completed seminar worksheets, and a research essay on a text and theme of your choice.

Contact Details

0114 222 8460


Information last changed: Friday 09th of February 2018 :: 01:52:05 PM (GMT)

Please note: This module may or may not run in any individual session. Please check with the course convener.


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK