Department of English

University of Toronto

1000-Level Courses

1000-Level Graduate Courses - 2013-2014

Old English I
D. Klausner

Course Description
An introduction for reading knowledge to the oldest literary form of English, with discussions of readings drawn from the surviving prose and verse literature.

Course requirements: Lecture, language drill, and discussion.

Works to be studied: Bruce Mitchell and Fred C. Robinson, A Guide to Old English, 8th ed.

Previous acquaintance with Latin, German, or other highly inflected language is useful but not essential.

Method of Evaluation: TBA

Tuesday / 9:00 am - 11:00 am (2 hours)
Room CMS 301, 125 Queen's Park, 3rd floor

Return to 2013-2014 Timetable

Old English II: Beowulf
A. di Paolo Healey

This course is devoted to a reading of Beowulf within the context of the English heroic age. The heroic concepts and values which inform the poem will be analyzed primarily through the poet’s linguistic choices and rhetorical strategies: the poetic compounds he coins, the metaphors he employs, his appositions, variations, and digressions. Language will be used as tool to explore cultural questions, such as the notions of kinship and ethnographic relations, the constructions of legitimate and illegitimate violence, etc. We will also address questions of dating, meter, manuscript authority, and the poem in its manuscript context. Finally, we will use the evidence of archaeology, such as the Sutton Hoo ship burial and the recent discovery (2009) of the Staffordshire hoard to interrogate whether or not the material culture of Anglo-Saxon England can illuminate its verbal compositions.

The class will meet twice a week for 1-1/2 hours each.
Class time will be spent in lecture, discussion and translation of the poem.
Each student will lead at least one seminar (with a 1-2 page written critique handed in on the day of the seminar).
There will be a mid-term translation test and a final paper (10-15 pages).

ENG 1001 or its equivalent is essential.


Primary text
R.D. Fulk, Robert E. Bjork, and John D. Niles, eds. Klaeber’s Beowulf, 4th ed. (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press 2008).

Recommended Secondary Volumes

Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles, eds., A Beowulf Handbook (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press 1997).
Eileen A. Joy and Mary K. Ramsay, eds., The Post-Modern Beowulf (Morgantown: West Virginia Univ. Press 2006)
Andy Orchard, A Critical Companion to Beowulf (Cambridge: Brewer 2003).

Tuesday and Thursday / 9:00 am - 10:30 am (1.5 hours X 2 days per week)
Room 14284, Robarts Library, 130 St. George Street

Return to 2013-2014 Timetable

Discourses Of Vernacular Spirituality
D. R. Townsend

Middle English devotional practice, as performance of authorised modes of subjectivity, negotiated binaries fundamental to the ideologies of late medieval English society—and fundamental as well to the ideologies of twentieth-century medievalist scholarship. This course will address a selection of Middle English texts clustered around the commemoration of the life and passion of Christ and their internalisation in the life of the believer. Tensions common to these works between experience and expression, inspiration and acculturation, embodiment and transcendence, unlettered piety and erudite devotion, empathic identification and distanced contemplation both articulate the normative power relations of medieval religious discourse and offer sites of resistance that allow for heterodox and counter-hegemonic practice. Special attention will be given to intertextual relations among these works, as their early readerships may plausibly be seen to have overlapped. 

Course Requirements 
Discussion and seminar presentations with term essay.

Texts: Aelred of Rievaulx, De institutione inclusarum; Ancrene Wisse; Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love; The Book of Margery Kempe, Nicholas Love, The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ; Walter Hilton, The Scale of Perfection.

Course in medieval literature (graduate or undergraduate).

Overall term participation, including primary facilitation of discussion on a scheduled day -25%

300-500 word abstract of proposed research topic with preliminary annotated bibliography in a form suitable for formal circulation to the seminar, and oral presentation and discussion of these proposals, organized by topic into clusters of several proposals each -25%

Final paper of 15-20 pages including notes -50%

Wednesday 9:00 am - 12:00 noon (3 hours)
Room 301, Lillian Massey Building, 125 Queen’s Park

Return to 2013-2014 Timetable

ENG1552HF*  *NB: Course and instructor change 
Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and Other Works
E. Ruth Harvey

Courses on Chaucer generally focus primarily on the Canterbury Tales, seen in modern times as the highest literary achievement of the preeminent author of the English Middle Ages. Medieval and early modern readers felt rather differently, however: for them Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde was the literary achievement that set the English poet in the ranks of Dante and Petrarch. This course includes a close reading of Troilus and Criseyde with some consideration of its European sources and analogues, including works by Boethius and Boccaccio, as well as earlier works by Chaucer.

Course requirements:
Students will be expected to complete a number of close reading assignments (based on short passages from Chaucer’s texts), to participate regularly in seminar discussions. and to offer four oral presentations, to be handed in later for grading. Grade breakdown is as follows: close readings (10%); oral presentations (10%); written papers (80%). The first texts we will read will be Boethius and the Book of the Duchess.

Previous work in Middle English (or permission of the instructor) is a prerequisite for this class; background in critical theory would be an advantage. We will be working from the third edition of the Riverside Chaucer. Also required will be a text of Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae (either Chaucer’s own translation in the Riverside or a modern one such as that by Richard Green).

Fall Term
Thursdays 10-12 (2 hours)
Room 301 at the Centre for Medieval Studies, Lillian Massey Building.

Return to top of page

Return to 2013-2014 Timetable

 Return to 2013-2014 Courses

Site Information:

Site Tools:

Click below for directions to the University of Toronto!

University of Toronto, St. George Campus
Map of St. George Campus
Map of Mississauga Campus
Map of Scarborough Campus