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CE1037: SONGS, MYTHS AND HERO-TALES OF THE OLD NORTH (2020-2021)

Last modified: 05 Aug 2021 13:04


Course Overview

This course introduces the oldest vernacular literature of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, beginning in the sixth century AD. We explore heroic narratives featuring, for example, the Scandinavian monster-fighter Beowulf (immortalized in England’s first epic poem), the Irish warrior Cú Chulainn (hero of the Táin) and the tragic Welsh princess Branwen, caught up in a fatal power-struggle between Wales and Ireland. We examine praise-poetry, meditative poetry, and look at mythological tales about the old gods and voyages to Otherworld isles in the western ocean.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Professor Ralph J. O'connor

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

Course Description

Course Aims To introduce students to the oldest literature of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. Main Learning Outcomes By the end of the course, active students will be able to:

  • Understand and appreciate a range of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon literary texts • Understand how to read these texts in their historical and literary contexts • Engage in cultural comparison between different areas of the British and Irish Isles • Write a coherent essay exploring a chosen topic within the course • Participate in group discussion

Course Content

This course introduces the oldest vernacular literature of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, beginning in the sixth century AD: the finest artistic achievements of a world of violence, passion, contemplation and cold political calculation (see Overview for details). This course will enable students to appreciate the remarkable and emotionally compelling artistry of these works, and to explore what they meant for mediaeval audiences. All these texts will be studied in English translation.

Required Readings

Before teaching begins, you will need to purchase the following course books (in hard copy, not Kindle format):

 

    • Richard Hamer, ed. and trans., A Choice of Anglo-Saxon Verse, revised & expanded edition: Faber £10.99, ISBN 978-0571325399 (NB not the first edition)
    • Seamus Heaney, trans., Beowulf: Faber £9.99, ISBN 9780571203765 (NB not the bilingual or illustrated editions)
  • Thomas Kinsella, trans., The Táin (2002 or later edition): Oxford £9.99, ISBN 9780192803733

 

 

For students on campus, these books should be available at Blackwell’s (High Street, Old Aberdeen). A discounted price may be available if you buy all three. Please do not buy a different version of any book. You are strongly advised to start reading Beowulf and the Táin as soon as possible, as they make more sense after a second reading.

 


In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Tutorial during University weeks 9 - 12, 14 - 18

More Information about Week Numbers


In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

Tutorial/Seminar Participation

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 20
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Feedback

In person, in scheduled meetings with course tutors. By request, in meetings with the course coordinator.

Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Essay

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 50
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback

In person, in scheduled meetings with course tutors. By request, in meetings with the course coordinator

Word Count 2000
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Essay

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 30
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

Look up Week Numbers

Feedback

In person, in scheduled meetings with course tutors. By request, in meetings with the course coordinator.

Word Count 1500
Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualRememberILO’s for this course are available in the course guide.

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