Required Book List

Amazon logo [IOE] = Baker, Peter S. Introduction to Old English. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. ISBN: 9780470659847.

Amazon logo [M&R] = Mitchell, Bruce, and Fred C. Robinson. A Guide to Old English. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. ISBN: 9780470671078. [Preview with Google Books]

Amazon logo[WH] = Barney, Stephen A., Ellen Wertheimer, and David Stevens. Word-hoard: An Introduction to Old English Vocabulary. Yale University Press, 1985. ISBN: 9780300035063.

Amazon logo [WE] = Heaney, Seamus. The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation. Edited by Greg Delanty, and Michael Matto. W. W. Norton & Company, 2012. ISBN: 9780393342413.

Recommended Book List

Amazon logo Hall, John R. Clark. A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. Vol. 14. Wilder Publications, 2011. ISBN: 9781617201875. [Preview with Google Books]

Comments About These Books

Our main textbook will be Baker's Introduction to Old English, but I am asking you to buy Mitchell and Robinson as well because their handling of the grammar is more detailed and technical; that may appeal to some of you, and all of us will benefit from having the same grammatical principles laid out in different ways. Mitchell and Robinson also include several texts we will be working with that Baker does not. In addition, the Baker textbook includes access to an online site, Old English Aerobics (, that allows you to practice and test your understanding of the grammatical principles covered in the class. (Some exercises are available for free without the purchase of the textbook.)

Word-Hoard is a wonderful guide to the most common word-groups of Old English, organized with attention to shared etymologies that will help anyone who has studied another Indo-European language and will engage anyone with any degree of native curiosity (which you clearly have, or you wouldn't have signed up for Old English). The book is absurdly expensive new, but there are many used copies floating about the interwebs. Its word-groups will serve as the basis of the daily vocabulary quizzes.

The Word Exchange is a very cool set of loose, poetic renderings of famous Old English poems. It will give us something to occupy our literary-critical brains while we're knee-deep in grammar early in the semester; it should also whet our appetite for the poetry that I, at least, learned this language in order to be able to read.

Clark-Hall is the standard "intermediate" dictionary (for those who don't want to shell out mega-cash for the scholarly Bosworth and Toller). You don't need it, but you may want it.

Unit 1: Old English Grammar
1 Course introduction; preliminary discussion of case system and pronunciation How to Sign Up for Old English Aerobics (PDF)
2 Pronunciation, grammar review, and the case system; word-formation

[IOE] pp. 1–40.

[M&R] pp. 55–60.

[WH] Introduction and Word Groups pp. 1–5.

[WE] The Wanderer, and The Seafarer.

3 Pronouns

[IOE] pp. 41–9.

[M&R] pp. 17–9.

[WH] Word Groups pp. 6–10.

[WE] The Battle of Maldon.

4 Nouns

[IOE] pp. 50–63.

[M&R] pp. 20–30.

[WH] Word Groups pp. 11–7.

[WE] The Rune Poem.

5–6 Verbs

Learning Verbs Part 1 (PDF)

[IOE] pp. 63–81 and pp. 81–8.

[M&R] pp. 35–46 and pp. 46–55.

[WH] Word Groups pp. 18–25.

[WE] Widsith, and Deor and The Vision of the Cross.

7 Adjectives, numerals, adverbs, conjunctions, and prepositions

[IOE] pp. 87–105.

[WH] Word Groups pp. 33–40.

[WE] The Wife's Lament, and The Husband's Message.

8 Concord and word order; discussion of mock exam 1

[IOE] pp. 103–18.

[WH] Word Groups pp. 41–50.

[WE] The Phoenix, Panther, and Whale.

9 Exam 1 – Cases, declension of pronouns, noun, and verb form recognition  
Unit 2: Prose and Short Poems
10–11  Ælfric, Preface to Genesis; lines 1–125; syntax

Ælfric, Preface to Genesis, lines 1–58 and 59–125.

[M&R] pp. 199–203, 61–75, and pp. 75–96.

[WH] pp. 51–60 and pp. 61–72.

12 Meter and poetic style; Bede's account of the poet Caedmon lines 1–60

[IOE] pp. 119–41.

Bede's account of the poet Caedmon, lines 1–60.

[M&R] pp. 228–33.

[WH] Word Groups pp. 73–85.

13 The grammar of poetry; reading Old English manuscripts; Bede's account of the poet Caedmon, lines 61–125

[IOE] pp. 152–69.

Bede's account of the poet Caedmon, lines 61–125.

[WH] Word Groups pp. 86–98.

14 The Wife's Lament

[IOE] Text 17.

[WH] Word Groups pp. 99–110.

15 The Husband's Message

[IOE] Text 18.

[WH] Word Groups pp. 111–23.

16 Riddles; discussion of mock exam 2

[M&R] Riddles C, E, and L (pp. 239–48).

[IOE] Riddle A (pp. 223–7).

[WH] Word Groups pp. 124–35.

17 Exam 2 – Vocabulary and translation, both seen and sight passages  
Unit 3: Longer Poems
18—19 The Dream of Rood, lines 1–56

The Dream of Rood, lines 1-156

[IOE] Text 13.

[WH] Word Groups pp. 136–42.

The Dream of Rood, lines 75–156.

[WH] Word Groups pp. 143–50.

20 Beowolf (Seamus Heaney translation)

Beowolf, lines 1–13.

[M&R] pp. 295.

[WH] pp. 151–70.

21 Beowolf, The Fight with Grendel

Beowolf, The Fight with Grendel, lines 702b–790.

[M&R] pp. 297–9.

[WH] Word Groups pp. 171–85.

22 Beowolf, The Death of Grendel

Beowolf, The Death of Grendel, lines 791–852.

[M&R] pp. 299–301.

[WH] Word Groups pp. 186–96.

23 Beowolf, The Death of Æschere

Beowolf, The Death of Æschere, lines 1306b–1398.

[M&R] pp. 303–6.

[WH] Word Groups pp. 197–210.

24 Beowolf, The Lay of the Last Survivor and Beowolf's Funeral

Beowolf, The Lay of the Last Survivor and Beowolf's Funeral, lines 2247-66.

[M&R] pp. 307–8.

[WH] Word Groups pp. 211–27.

25 Final Exam