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Germanic Studies Portal

Advanced Old English: Ælfric's Letter to Sigeweard

For this month, we turn again to Aelfric of Eynsham, the most prolific writer in Old English. In this letter, he addresses a nobleman and tries to teach him what Aelfric considers to be the important things of the Christian faith. It is a fascinating text to read and has a little something for everyone interested in the language, literature, and culture of Early Medieval England.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Ælfric's Lives of the Saints

Saints’ Lives were a major and important genre of literature and were composed in prose and poetry. In this module we will look at three prose lives written in the 990s by Aelfric of Eynsham, from whose quill more Old English survives than even the prolific Anonymous! Those three are English figures: Kings who became saints Oswin and Edmund and the capital city saint Swithun. Then we will begin Guthlac A, one of the poetic treatments of a St Guthlac of East Anglia.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Apollonius of Tyre

This is one of the most popular tales of the Ancient and Medieval worlds! Originally a Hellenistic Greek tale, translated into Latin, and then many Latin and vernacular versions thereafter. The earliest vernacular is the Old English translation by the ubiquitous Anonymous. The tale has incest, murder, unjust punishments, hidden identities, and resolutions. Apollonius of Tyre is a corker of a tale and fun in any language!
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Beowulf I

Spend the time reading and translating in a relaxed manner with friends! This beautiful, moving, narrative poem is a joy to work with and I hope you will join me for a month of study.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Cynewulf's Christ II

Cynewulf is one of the few poets whose name we know from the Old English period. He composed 4 narrative poems casting saints' lives into Old English poetry. "Christ II" is so named because it is one of three poems dealing with key moments in Christ's life: the "Advent" and Incarnation, the Ascension, and the Harrowing of Hell. This middle poem is the one we know as certainly as we can that it was composed by Cynewulf and has a number of very interesting features.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Genesis A 1

The long poem that scholars have named Genesis A is a retelling and adaptation of the first 22 chapters of Genesis into a Germanic heroic poem! Among the many points of interest is that this poem contains the FIRST time in intellectual history that the NARRATIVE of the Fall of the Angels is told and made a part of the Creation Story. The poem is almost as long as Beowulf, so this module will start at the beginning and get as far as we get, with plans to return to it in future modules.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Genesis A 2

This is a continuation from where we left off in Genesis A 2... The long poem that scholars have named Genesis A is a retelling and adaptation of the first 22 chapters of Genesis into a Germanic heroic poem! Among the many points of interest is that this poem contains the FIRST time in intellectual history that the NARRATIVE of the Fall of the Angels is told and made a part of the Creation Story. The poem is almost as long as Beowulf, so this module began at the beginning of the poem and now we shall continue where we left off!
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Heroic Elegies

J. R. R. Tolkien suggested in his seminal Monsters and the Critics that Beowulf is a heroic elegy. In this module, we will translate some of the Old English Heroic Elegies such as Deor, Wife’s Lament, Husband’s Message, The Ruin, and if time others. Not only translating, the question is how these “elegies” relate to Beowulf, or Tolkien’s own work. The module emphasizes translation and working in Old English, but also how that applies to other literature (i. e. this stuff isn’t in a vacuum!)
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English Readings: Alice in Wonderland

Dr. Peter Baker, then of the University of Virginia, translated Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland into Old English. This module will work with and translate back into Modern English this fun and delightful text, Æðelgyðe Ellendæda on Wundorlande: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in Old English.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English Readings in Poetry: Judith and Exodus

The Early English adapted Biblical material into heroic poetry. In this module two of those poems will be translated and discussed, each only a few hundred lines.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English Readings in Prose: the Old English Boethius

Alfred the Great had Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy translated into Old English. This module will translate and comment on this translation and how it adapts the late Roman text to the early medieval context.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Riddles

This module will focus on reading a number of Riddles in Old English. The Riddles cover a wide range of subjects from the bawdy to sublime, aimed at both lower class and learned classes. In short, they are fun!
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Selections in Prose

For this module a selection of prose texts not usually encountered in readings classes will be examined. First, the Life of St. Swithun. When this is finished we will explore short selections from Alfred's Laws, a charter or two, and a will from a tenth century noble woman to round out the module.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: The Blickling Homilies

April is often mostly a Lenten month (though in 2023 Easter is April 9). The collection of homilies known as the Blickling Homilies has a number of Lenten homilies, especially at the beginning of the collection. It is then fitting to have the two together! The homilies were collected together from diverse sources in the second half of the tenth century. The collection is contemporary then with the Genesis A manuscript and the Beowulf manuscript and Aelfric of Eynsham. But these prose texts appear Mercian in dialect, and would have made Tolkien happy. They are called "Blickling" because they were discovered in the library of Blickling Hall in Norfolk.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old Norse: Volsunga Saga First in the Series

Vǫlsunga saga (“The Saga of the Vǫlsungs”) is a medieval Icelandic retelling of one of the best-known legendary cycles of the pre-modern Germanic-speaking world – stories that influenced the operas of Richard Wagner, the fantasies of J. R. R. Tolkien, and many other modern creative artists. In this module, you will begin to translate Vǫlsunga saga and discuss both the language and how the saga’s version of the legends relate to other versions known from the medieval world.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Advanced Old Norse: Vǫlsunga Saga Continuing Series

The Advanced Old Norse reading modules return to Vǫlsunga saga (“The Saga of the Vǫlsungs), a medieval Icelandic retelling of one of the best-known legendary cycles of the pre-modern Germanic-speaking world – stories that influenced the operas of Richard Wagner, the fantasies of J. R. R. Tolkien, and many other modern creative artists. This module picks up where previous iterations of this module left the narrative. We will translate the text of the saga and discuss both its language and how its version of the legends relates to other versions known from the medieval world. Anyone with a reading knowledge of Old Norse can join this module!
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Advanced Old Norse: Vǫlsunga Saga Continuing Series

The Advanced Old Norse reading modules return to Vǫlsunga saga (“The Saga of the Vǫlsungs), a medieval Icelandic retelling of one of the best-known legendary cycles of the pre-modern Germanic-speaking world – stories that influenced the operas of Richard Wagner, the fantasies of J. R. R. Tolkien, and many other modern creative artists. This module picks up where previous iterations of this module left the narrative. We will translate the text of the saga and discuss both its language and how its version of the legends relates to other versions known from the medieval world. Anyone with a reading knowledge of Old Norse can join this module!
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Advanced Old Norse: Vǫlsunga Saga Continuing Series

The Advanced Old Norse reading modules return to Vǫlsunga saga (“The Saga of the Vǫlsungs), a medieval Icelandic retelling of one of the best-known legendary cycles of the pre-modern Germanic-speaking world – stories that influenced the operas of Richard Wagner, the fantasies of J. R. R. Tolkien, and many other modern creative artists. This module picks up where previous iterations of this module left the narrative: with the hero Sigurd preparing to confront the dragon Fáfnir. We will translate the text of the saga and discuss both its language and how its version of the legends relates to other versions known from the medieval world. Anyone with a reading knowledge of Old Norse can join this module!
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Advanced Old Norse: Vǫlsunga Saga Continuing Series

The Advanced Old Norse reading modules return to Vǫlsunga saga (“The Saga of the Vǫlsungs), a medieval Icelandic retelling of one of the best-known legendary cycles of the pre-modern Germanic-speaking world – stories that influenced the operas of Richard Wagner, the fantasies of J. R. R. Tolkien, and many other modern creative artists. This module picks up where previous iterations of this module left the narrative. We will translate the text of the saga and discuss both its language and how its version of the legends relates to other versions known from the medieval world. Anyone with a reading knowledge of Old Norse can join this module!
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Advanced Old Norse: Volsunga Saga Series Series

Vǫlsunga saga (“The Saga of the Vǫlsungs”) is a medieval Icelandic retelling of one of the best-known legendary cycles of the pre-modern Germanic-speaking world – stories that influenced the operas of Richard Wagner, the fantasies of J. R. R. Tolkien, and many other modern creative artists. In this module, we will continue to translate the Vǫlsunga saga and discuss both the language and how the saga’s version of the legends relate to other versions known from the medieval world.



Note: This module can be joined in any month.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Big Bold Beowulf: A Study of the Poem

Always wanted to study Beowulf? Here's your opportunity. In our 8 hours together, we will delve into the worlds of the poem, examine the major critical elements, and seek to understand the poem better.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Conversational German 1 First in the Series

This 8-session introduction to German is intended to give the students a basic acquaintanceship with the German language and enough information for further study. This first module covers the alphabet, basic verb conjugation, important verbs like Haben and Sein, pronouns, grammatical gender, nominative vs. accusative cases, forming questions, and giving dates and times. Some specific vocabulary content is given in the session breakdown, but the individual entries are not meant to be either restrictive or exhaustive.



Session Breakdown:
- Session 1: The alphabet and sounds; the present tense of regular verbs; colors and numbers
- Session 2: Haben und Sein; nominative pronouns; noun gender; Was studieren Sie (what do you study?) and Wo wohnen Sie (where do you live?);
- Session 3: Fragewörter (question words) and forming questions; yes/no questions; “Interview” game
- Session 4: coordinating conjunctions; describing your field of study; the verb mögen (to like)
- Session 5: Die Wochentage (days of the week); Die Uhrzeiten (time); Der Wochenplan (weekly schedule)
- Session 6: Planning a meeting with a friend (combination of Der Wochenplan and the “Questions” from Session 3); negation (Nicht and Kein)
- Session 7: The accusative case; description of rooms (Ich habe/Es gibt); accusative pronouns
- Session 8: Accusative prepositions; general review
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

Conversational German 2 Continuing Series

This course continues along the track established by the first Conversational German Series module. This month, the topics are a bit more “fun,” focusing a great deal on “free time” activities and the students’ subjects of interests. Grammar is a bit more limited, but the biggest grammatical subject – modal verbs – are complicated enough to merit intense study. A final grammatical case, the dative, is introduced in the final two sessions. Because this module builds on the previous one, there is slightly more repetition in the sessions listed below.



Session Breakdown:
- Session 1: Introduction and review; nominative and accusative case; conjugation of regular conjugations
- Session 2: Der Alltag (the normal day); Irregular and Stem-changing verbs in the present; the German breakfast;
- Session 3: More practice with “irregular” verbs; Einkaufen gehen (going shopping); repetition of modal verbs; gern; Obst und Gemüse
- Session 4: Freizeit; modal verbs; review of Wochenplan vocabulary (date and time); repetition of coordinating conjunctions
- Session 5: Kleider (clothing); Musik hören (listening to music);
- Session 6: Sport treiben (exercise); evaluating hobbies (adjectives like entspannend “relaxing” or interessant “interesting”); Restaurant vocabulary
- Session 7: general review of cases; indirect objects and the dative case for nouns.
- Session 8: The dative case for pronouns; dative prepositions.
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

Conversational German 3 Continuing Series

This module continues along the track established by Conversational German 1 and 2.

The cohort of the current iteration of Conversational German has asked to focus on speaking practice, so specific topics of instruction will be determined on an ad hoc basis. Any topics listed in the Conversational German 1 and 2 modules that have not yet been covered will be discussed, but the instructor will also introduce new subject matter. Possible subjects, time permitting, include:

1. Imperatives and Requests

2. Separable Prefixes

3. The Conversational Past tense (The Present Perfect)

4. Irregular and Strong Verbs

5. Meals and Evening Activities

6. Travel Vocabulary

7. Vacation

8. Holidays and Festivals

This list is not meant to be exhaustive and can change depending on student wishes.
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

Conversational German Series Series

This 8-session introduction to German is intended to give the students a basic acquaintanceship with the German language and enough information for further study. This first module covers the alphabet, basic verb conjugation, important verbs like Haben and Sein, pronouns, grammatical gender, nominative vs. accusative cases, forming questions, and giving dates and times. Some specific vocabulary content is given in the session breakdown, but the individual entries are not meant to be either restrictive or exhaustive.



Session Breakdown:
- Session 1: The alphabet and sounds; the present tense of regular verbs; colors and numbers
- Session 2: Haben und Sein; nominative pronouns; noun gender; Was studieren Sie (what do you study?) and Wo wohnen Sie (where do you live?);
- Session 3: Fragewörter (question words) and forming questions; yes/no questions; “Interview” game
- Session 4: coordinating conjunctions; describing your field of study; the verb mögen (to like)
- Session 5: Die Wochentage (days of the week); Die Uhrzeiten (time); Der Wochenplan (weekly schedule)
- Session 6: Planning a meeting with a friend (combination of Der Wochenplan and the “Questions” from Session 3); negation (Nicht and Kein)
- Session 7: The accusative case; description of rooms (Ich habe/Es gibt); accusative pronouns
- Session 8: Accusative prepositions; general review
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrún

Love, power, betrayal, death; the occasional dragon and cursed ring. All these are to be found in the legends of the Vǫlsungs and Niflungs, amongst the most popular and abiding legends of the medieval Germanic-speaking and Norse worlds. J.R.R. Tolkien reworked these into two poems in Modern English patterned after the alliterative style of Old Norse poems. In this module, we read Tolkien’s poems and their accompanying commentary to see how Tolkien wrought his own retelling of these ancient tales, and we’ll trace the connections across from the original medieval legends through Tolkien’s retelling to his original works of fantasy set in Middle-earth.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Middle High German 1: An Epic Introduction First in the Series

Middle High German (MHG) is the umbrella term for the German dialects used in the Holy Roman Empire from about 1050 to 1350. Its written form was the language of the court, and most MHG poetry embraces chivalric intellectual interests – adventure, romances, and courtly love! In our epic introduction to the language, we begin with a poem on subject matter that Old English and Old Norse students will immediately recognize: Das Nibelungenlied, the story of Siegfried (Sigurd) the dragon slayer, who we all know from the Völsunga Saga, the Poetic Edda, and (as his father Sigmund) Beowulf.

This module requires absolutely no modern German, but you may find that the course awakens that bit of “school German” you remember from high school. We will read our text – the 14th “Adventure” of The Nibelungenlied – slowly, as a small reading group. The benefit of the Nibelungenlied’s style is that enjambment is rare and each line can be treated as a single sentence.
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

Middle High German 2: An Epic Continuation Continuing Series

This module is a continuation of Middle High German 1 with the plan to continue with the 14th âventiure of the Nibelungenlied until we complete it. After that, we will switch to some Arthuriana - Iwein, by Hartmann von Aue, the German “translation” of Chrétien de Troyes’[s] Yvain, the Knight of the Lion. Also, if the students want to read something else, your preceptor is all ears!
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

Middle High German Series Series

This is the landing page for Dr. Isaac Schendel's Middle High German Series which consists of two modules: Middle High German 1: An Epic Introduction and Middle High German 2: An Epic Continuation. For more information check out the module links below.

Also: Please wishlist this page if you are interested in taking Dr. Schendel's Middle High German series when we offer it next.
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

Old English 1 First in the Series

Ready to begin learning Old English? This series of modules introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. One year of modules prepares the student to read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain and Isaac Schendel.

Old English 2 Continuing Series

Ready to begin learning Old English? This series of modules introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. One year of modules prepares the student to read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain and Isaac Schendel.

Old English 3 Continuing Series

Ready to begin learning Old English? This series of modules introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. One year of modules prepares the student to read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Old English 4 Continuing Series

Ready to begin learning Old English? This series of modules introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. One year of modules prepares the student to read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Old English 5 Continuing Series

Ready to begin learning Old English? This series of modules introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. One year of modules prepares the student to read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Old English 6 Continuing Series

Ready to begin learning Old English? This series of modules introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. One year of modules prepares the student to read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Old English 7 Continuing Series

Ready to begin learning Old English? This is the last module in a 7-part series which introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. Read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will be able to communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Old English Series Series

Ready to begin learning Old English? This series of modules introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. One year of modules prepares the student to read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain and Isaac Schendel.

Old Norse 1 First in the Series

This series of modules introduces you to the vocabulary and grammar of Old Norse, preparing you to read medieval sagas, eddic poetry, and even Viking-Age runic inscriptions. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old Norse will communicate with our Director and Professor Anderson to choose the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Old Norse 2 Continuing Series

This series of modules introduces you to the vocabulary and grammar of Old Norse, preparing you to read medieval sagas, eddic poetry, and even Viking-Age runic inscriptions. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old Norse will communicate with our Director and Professor Anderson to choose the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Old Norse 3 Continuing Series

This series of modules introduces you to the vocabulary and grammar of Old Norse, preparing you to read medieval sagas, eddic poetry, and even Viking-Age runic inscriptions. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old Norse will communicate with our Director and Professor Anderson to choose the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Old Norse 4 Continuing Series

This series of modules introduces you to the vocabulary and grammar of Old Norse, preparing you to read medieval sagas, eddic poetry, and even Viking-Age runic inscriptions. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old Norse will communicate with our Director and Professor Anderson to choose the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Old Norse 5 Continuing Series

This series of modules introduces you to the vocabulary and grammar of Old Norse, preparing you to read medieval sagas, eddic poetry, and even Viking-Age runic inscriptions. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old Norse will communicate with our Director and Professor Anderson to choose the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Old Norse 6 Continuing Series

This series of modules introduces you to the vocabulary and grammar of Old Norse, preparing you to read medieval sagas, eddic poetry, and even Viking-Age runic inscriptions. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old Norse will communicate with our Director and Professor Anderson to choose the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Old Norse Sagas in Translation: Sagas of Heroic Legend

Somewhere between the historical and the fantastic are the traditions of heroic legend, telling of extraordinary men and women whose triumphs and tragedies are writ larger than those of everyday life. In medieval Scandinavia, sagas of heroic legend such as The Saga of the Volsungs, The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok, The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, and The Saga of Hervor and King Heidrek retold already ancient stories in the new prose styles of the Middle Ages. Bravery and knavery; loyalty and treachery; magic and the mundane, horror and hope; these tales’ themes have enthralled audiences for more than a thousand years and played an outsized role in the birth of modern fantasy literature.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Old Norse Series Series

This series of modules introduces you to the vocabulary and grammar of Old Norse, preparing you to read medieval sagas, eddic poetry, and even Viking-Age runic inscriptions. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old Norse will communicate with our Director and Professor Anderson to choose the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Readings in Middle High German: Das Eckenlied

This module, which builds on the skills taught in the previous Middle High German Modules, looks at a representative of the Medieval German aventiurehafter Dietrichepik, or legendary stories of the mythical King Dietrich von Bern (Theoderic the Great?). This song, equal parts romance and epic, tells the stories of the wannabe knight Ecke, the foolhardy giant who seeks out Dietrich von Bern and perishes in the duel, and of Dietrich von Bern’s subsequent quest to return Ecke’s disembodied head to his (Ecke’s) home of Seburg.

This module, like the other Readings in Middle High German, will both look at the poem as literature and as a chance for interested students to continue perfecting their Middle High German reading skills. We will read selections of the text in Middle High German and translate them into English. Once translated, we will then discuss the segments both in isolation and in connection with the poem as a whole. Although no English translation of the Eckenlied exists, a summary of the complete poem will be supplied.

Questions discussed in the module will include questions of genre and the relationship of the poem to oral poetry, characterization of ambiguous heroes like Ecke and his brothers, perceptions of the so-called “Heroic Age” during Medieval Europe, intertextual relationships between Dietrichepen and other heroic poems, and gender in the past-within-the-past.

The language of the Eckenlied is roughly equivalent to the language of the Nibelungenlied, so completion of the Middle High German 1 and 2 modules are strongly encouraged. If you have any questions or need help, please feel free to contact Dr. Schendel.
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

Readings in Middle High German: Diu Klage

This module, which builds on the skills taught in the previous two Middle High German modules, focuses on the “concluding poem” of the Nibelungen Mythos, Diu Klage (The Lamentation), a 4360-line epic in rhyming couplets devoted to the aftermath of the slaughter in Etzel’s Hall. We will devote ourselves to both a close, philological reading of selected lines (about 20 lines per hour) and a general discussion of the entire work in English translation (German material can be consulted, of course, but the language of instruction is in English).

This session is intended both for veterans of the Middle High German modules and for beginners. If any beginners enroll, the discussion of MHG verse will focus a bit more on foundational grammatical concepts, but there will still be enough to interest and challenge advanced MHG readers.

Discussions of the text will look at it from a variety of perspectives, including: The “Heroic Age” in a High Medieval perspective, investigations of emotion in Middle High German verse, and intertextuality (both within German literature and across Germanic tradition). Students are, of course, welcome to bring their own expertise and interest – feel free to take up contact with the instructor ahead of time with your input!
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

Readings in Middle High German: Herzog Ernst

This module, which builds on the skills taught in the previous Middle High German Modules, looks at another representative of the Medieval German so-called Spielmannsdichtung (pseudo-minstrel tales). It tells the story of the Duke Ernest, who after unsuccessfully waging an assassination attempt and civil war against his misled step-father (and Holy Roman Emperor) flees to the Far East as a crusader, encountering mythical creatures and far-off places reminiscent to anyone who has read the Old English Wonders of the East.

We will follow the methods used in other Middle High German modules and look at the Herzog Ernst poem both as literature and as a chance for interested students to continue perfecting their Middle High German reading skills. We will read selections of the text in the original language and translate them into English. Since it’s not entirely feasible to assume that everyone has access to a modern English translation, we will primarily discuss the translated sections, although a summary of the poem in general will be given.

Questions discussed in the module will include questions of genre (as always) and the connection between the frame story and the second narrative, monsters and the bridal-quest, the medieval political philosophy and the HRE (Holy Roman Empire), crusade poetry, and more.

The language of Herzog Ernst is roughly equivalent to the language of the Nibelungenlied, so completion of the Middle High German 1 and 2 modules are strongly encouraged. If you have any questions or need help, please feel free to contact Dr. Schendel.
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

Readings in Middle High German: Orendel

This module, which builds on the skills taught in previous Middle High German Modules, looks at a representative of the Medieval German so-called Spielmannsdichtung genre of short epics: Orendel. The titular hero of the epic, distantly related to the Old Norse Aurvandill, is a King with a fairy-tale mission to woo the beautiful Bride. He undergoes a number of adventures, including the discovery of Christ’s Tunic, in a paradigmatic example of a medieval Bridal Quest.

This module will both look at the poem as literature and as a chance for interested students to continue perfecting their Middle High German reading skills. We will devote ourselves to a close, philological reading of the most important passages in the text.

This module is intended both for veterans of Middle High German and for beginners. If any beginners enroll, the discussion of MHG verse will focus a bit more on foundational grammatical concepts, but there will still be enough to interest and challenge advanced MHG readers.

Discussions of the text will also look at it from a variety of perspectives, including: What is the Spielmannsdichtung genre? How do the Christian Faith and Bridal Quest narratives, which spring from two different cultural traditions, mesh? Does Orendel actually resemble in any way Aurvandill, or should questions of “Germanic origin” be put to bed? And are there any intertextual connections between this poem and other monuments of Medieval Literature?
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

The Old Saxon Hêliand I

Old Saxon, the continental cousin to Old English, was the language spoken in Northern Germany from the ninth to the twelfth century. It is closely related to and mutually intelligible with Anglo-Saxon, so Old English students will easily be able to read and understand it. The language boasts a number of smaller texts, but the Hêliand, an epic poem of nearly 6,000 lines, remains its most prestigious literary monument. It tells the story of Jesus Christ (the “Hêliand,” meaning “Savior”) reimagined as a Saxon lord with a retinue of twelve thanes, and is comparable to the Old English Beowulf. In our Space module, we will read and discuss selections of this poem. Some familiarity with Old English is required.
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

Tolkien, the Anglo-Saxon Minstrel

Explore Tolkien’s Anglo-Saxon poetic inspiration. We will enjoy an introduction to a few Anglo-Saxon poems and then compare Tolkien’s adaptations to their Anglo-Saxon counterparts. Discussions of poetic style and technique will be with us along the way! Texts discussed include Beowulf, The Fall of Arthur, and other poems.
Precepted by Jennifer Rogers.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].