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Introductory reading


You must buy a copy of Bruce Mitchell and Fred C. Robinson's A Guide to Old English (7th ed. 2006). If you buy a second-hand copy, please don't get anything earlier than the 6th edition (2001) Mitchell and Robinson provides a glossary, but please also buy a copy of J. R. Clark Hall, A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary 4th ed. (U of Toronto: 1960).
You will probably find that you need, at least initially, to read the texts in a modern translation. This is fine, but remember that you will be expected to write on the originals when it comes to the exams, and that translations always have their own biases. S. A. J. Bradley's Anglo-Saxon Poetry contains most of the major poetic texts in translation. I would like you to have read all of the Bradley anthology by the end of Michaelmas term - altogether, it's no longer than a smallish novel, and will give you an excellent range of basic knowledge of Old English texts.

Old English Commentary/translation:

You should familiarise yourself with the grammatical concepts and terminology in Sarah Thorne Mastering Advanced English Language, pp. 3-47. This is a reference to which you will need to return throughout the course. It is a clear and accessible account of how Modern English grammar works.
N. F. Blake's The English Language in Medieval Literature and his A History of the English Language are both texts you may find useful. Jeremy Smith's An Historical Study of English and Manfred Görlach's The Linguistic History of English are excellent guides to the different historical periods of the language, and both have good introductions to Old English. Have a look at the Old English chapters in Dennis Freeborn's From Old English to Standard English, too.

Contextual reading:

There is a wide variety of critical and historical writing on the Anglo-Saxons and Old English literature. The following is an introductory list of generally useful material which you will need to supplement as the course goes on and you develop your own interests.

Campbell, James, Eric John, Patrick Wormald, and P. V. Addyman. The Anglo-Saxons. Oxford: Phaidon, 1982.
Godden, Malcolm, and Michael Lapidge. The Cambridge companion to Old English literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
Lapidge, Michael. The Blackwell encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999.
Liuzza, R. M. Old English literature: critical essays. New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2002.
O'Keeffe, Katherine O'Brien, ed. Old English Shorter Poems: Basic Readings. New York; London: Garland, 1994.
Stenton, F. M. Anglo-Saxon England. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1943.