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Summer 2016

BA: Introduction to Middle English (Issues in Language and Communication Studies)
Fr 12-14, Raum A

NB: This Class is already full with a waiting list.

BA & MA English Literatures and Cultures/Medieval Studies: Colloquium
Do 14-16, Raum E



Winter 2015/2016

BA 2. Jahr: Medieval Studies: Plenum + Übung
Fr 12-12h
Fr 14-16
Di 14-16
This module (Plenum + Übung) is intended to introduce students to medieval literature - we will study major English works, in the original language and in translation, from Beowulf to the late Middle Ages.
Students will become familiar with interpretive strategies and will examine the course texts in relation to the cultural and historical circumstances of composition.

BA 3. Jahr: Übung History of the English Language and Medieval Literature
Thu 14-16

Our focus will be on manuscripts, tools & resources and writing scholary papers.


Summer 2015

BA: Introduction to Middle English (Issues in Language and Communication Studies)
Fr 12-14, Raum A
In addition to political, cultural and societal changes, the Conquest of England by the Normans in 1066 had a number of unforeseen effects in the literary and linguistic fields, among which the introduction of new literary genres up to then practically unknown to the English, and a brand new stage of the language, viz. Middle English.
In this module you will gain knowledge of the origins, spelling, pronunciation, morphology, syntax, lexicon, and varieties of Middle English and will be able to analyse, understand, and translate Middle English texts.
We will also explore the historical background and the cultural world of the Middle Ages.
Requirements: active participation in class, assignments (homework), group work


MA: Love, Marriage and Women in Middle English literature
Thu 14-16, Raum C
We will read Middle English texts about women and by women, poems on love, texts presenting different views on marriage….
Requirements: active participation in class, reading of texts accompanying the Übung , assignments (short presentations).


Winter 2014/2015

BA 2. Jahr: Medieval Studies: Übung
Fr 12-14h
The Übung will focus on Middle English language and literature.

BA 3. Jahr: The Canterbury Tales
(History of the English Language and Medieval Literature Seminar B)
Thu 14-16
The seminar introduces students to Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, a key text of the English Middle Ages and one of the most challenging works of medieval literature. We will read and discuss a selection of tales from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, explore the social and pilgrimage frameworks that unite the whole. Topics will include the different narrative kinds and modes employed in the tales, the focus on issues of gender, desire and marriage, and the playful yet sophisticated reflection upon the act of storytelling itself. We will also zoom in on the historical context in which Chaucer’s story collection took shape (major historical turning points: the Black Death, the Hundred Years’ War, the Avignon papacy and the Great Schism, the Peasants’ Revolt, the rise of the Wycliffite heresy, the increasing importance of the English language, and the shift from a primarily oral to an increasingly literate culture).

Primary Literature
Larry D. Benson (ed.). The Riverside Chaucer. 3rd edition. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.
Secondary Literature:
Helen Cooper. The Canterbury Tales. Oxford Guides to Chaucer. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Simon Horobin. Chaucer's Language. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
Rob Pope. How to Study Chaucer. 2nd edition. London: Macmillan, 2001.

Master ELC & Medieval Studies: Arrivals and departures: Early English literature
Tue 14-16h
In this seminar we will study the earliest literature in the English language (Old English + translation, don’t worry!). You will get an introduction to Anglo-Saxon culture, history and beliefs, discuss prominent themes such as arrival and departure, and encounter figures such as the heroic warrior, the exile and the monk.

Active involvement in discussion and class activities. You should come to class prepared to speak about ideas and questions prompted by a close, careful reading of the text. In other words, simply having read the text is not adequate preparation. Instead, actively think about and engage with the text as you read.


Summer 2014

BA English Studies 3rd year


Do 14-16


MA English Literatures and Cultures/Medieval Studies

Medieval English Texts

Fr 14-16


Research Colloquium

Di 14-16h


Winter 2013/14

BA English Studies 3rd year

Religious literature of the Middle Ages
Do 14-16 Raum B
The seminar traces medieval religious writing from its beginnings in 8th-century Old English through its developments in Middle English and Scots.
We will examine how the themes and conventions of religious literature are transformed and explore the cultural background behind the texts.

Medieval Literature, Manuscripts and Writing
Fr 14-16 Raum B
An introduction to basic technical aspects of the study of manuscripts and book culture. We will explore the following topics:
• elementary paleography; the production and dissemination of manuscript books;
• transmission of the text through editions: methods and theories of scholarly editing
• methods and techniques of literary research: instruction in the use of library catalogues, primary literary reference tools, special collections, electronic databases and indexes
Text studies will range from Old English texts to Chaucer.


MA English Literatures and Cultures/Medieval Studies

Voices from the „Dark Ages“
Di 14-16 Raum C
We will shed some light on how dark the Middle Ages really were and explore the culture of the Anglo-Saxons through the surviving literature in Old English.
The course will begin with an introduction to the Anglo-Saxon period, looking at the two major cultural traditions, the Germanic and the Christian, which merged in early medieval England. We will consider the transformation of England from a pagan society grounded in the Germanic heroic code to a Christian community in which the vestiges of the pagan past still resounded.
Texts and topics convered: heroes and dragons, riddles and runes, battles and belief.
All text will be presented in Old English and translation, no previous knowledge of OE necessary (but of course helpful).

Summer 2013


MA English Literatures and Cultures

Love, Libel, Lechery

The Übung in the summer will focus on Middle English literature: from love lyrics to bitter libel, from London to Scotland, from the 13th into the 16th century.

It will also include an excursion to Cologne.

MA Medieval Studies / Mittelalterstudien

Research Trends in Medieval Studies

This seminar will study in depth questions relating to English and Scottish medieval language & literature and will put students in direct contact with ongoing research.


Winter 2012/2013


BA English Studies 3rd year

Canterbury Tales
Fr 12-14 Raum B
In this course, we will explore Chaucer’s most famous work, the Canterbury Tales. Chaucer’s collection of pilgrimage tales is one of the greatest and most imaginative pieces of English literature. Ride along with the pilgrims to Canterbury and through the Middle Ages.
Text: Larry D. Benson, ed. The Riverside Chaucer. 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, 1987.
Regular attendance! Translation exercises, reading assignments, short talks.


BA English Studies (2nd year)

Introduction to Middle English
Do 14-16 Raum A


MA English Literatures and Cultures

Monsters, Monks and Mysteries
Do 14-16 Raum 2.015
This course aims to dispel the myth that Old English literature is either boring, difficult, or only about drinking and fighting, and will introduce participants to the range of Old English literature, from stirring tales of heroism, courage, and fellowship, to poignant elegies of love and loss and fascinating visions; selections from poetry and prose will begin with the first known poem in the English language and will also include the Beowulf and the Dream of the Rood. Topics to be examined include: the nature of the hero; the pagan/Christian dichotomy; the role of women; orality and literacy; the Other as monster.
Texts will be provided in Old English AND translation.
btw: the class in the summer semester (Übung) “Love, Lust and Lechery” will focus on Middle English texts.


MA Medieval Studies / Mittelalterstudien

Blockseminar „Sprache und Gesellschaft (zusammen mit Prof. Kellermann)

In diesem Blockseminar werden wir deutsche (althochdeutsche und mittelhochdeutsche) und englische (alt- und mittelenglische) Texte des frühen bis späten Mittelalters besprechen und hier vor allem nach dem Zusammenhang zwischen Gesellschaft und Sprache fragen. Wie hat z.B. die Christianisierung die Literatur des Mittelalters geprägt, worin unterscheiden sich deutsche und englische Texte des Hochmittelalters,
wo (und wie) werden die Texte produziert und für wen, wie beurteilen Zeitgenossen die Entwicklung der Sprache im eigenen Land?
Diese Fragen verlangen eine Beschäftigung mit den historischen und kulturhistorischen Hintergründen; zudem wollen wir die Literarizität und sprachliche Verfasstheit der poetischen Texte in den Blick nehmen.
Wir erwarten für das Blockseminar von allen Master-Studierenden eine gründliche vorbereitende Lektüre der Primär- und Sekundärliteratur, die wir auf eCampus bereitstellen.