Student Blogs

Once a Crusader, Always a Crusader

August 14th, 2011 cmcurr11

About two days ago, I received my huge course booklet from the English Faculty at Oxford. The first two terms of my first year are taught courses, and my third term involves a dissertation. Then in my second year, I’ll write another (i.e. bigger) dissertation. For the first two terms, I have two required courses – one is an introduction to studying Medieval Literature at the graduate level, and the other is on paleography and textual criticism. The general Medieval Literature course alternates between Old and Middle English works, so I’ll have a fair amount of exposure to both traditions. We’ll explore key themes like the medieval concept of orality and written works, authorship and what it means to revise a text, etc. We’ll explore literature ranging from the Exter Book Riddles to Bede to Ancrene Wisse. In my paleography course, we’ll learn how to identify specific English scribes based upon their handwriting. We’ll be able to tell in what year and where (approximately, at least) they’re writing based upon the fashions in their scripts. Most importantly, we’ll be able to look at manuscripts (either the originals or fascimilies) and transcribe the documents.

I get to choose my third course, and the options are overwhelming (in a good way!). For the first term (Michaelmas), I could choose Memories of Conversion in Old English and Old Norse, Middle English Arthurian Texts, Imagining the Polity in England 1377 to 1422, or Older Scots Literature. For the second term (Hilary), I could choose Early Middle English Devotional Writing for Women, Old Norse Literature, Heroic Poetry in Old Norse and Old English, or the Language of Middle English Literature. As I was reading through my options, I realized that I needed help in choosing. So, I asked Professor Kee for his recommendations. He gave me some great advice for my future career as a medievalist, and also reminded me that the best way to handle graduate school is to just follow my heart. So, I will be taking Memories of Conversion in Old English and Old Norse (this was what I wanted to write my senior thesis on before I found the Julian/Flannery topic) in the first term and the Language of Middle English Literature in the second term. Bring on the reading lists!

Comments are closed.

<< Older Entries