Discovering Literature: Beowulf to Chaucer
What should you do when your Christmas is rudely interrupted by a Green Man, wielding an axe? How should you respond when a monster nightly terrorises your home? And what is the best way to entertain 29 travellers on the road to Canterbury?
Chaucer's pilgrims on the road to Canterbury, from 'The Siege of Thebes', by John Lydgate, England, 1457â€“60, Royal MS 18 D II, f. 148r
These are just some of the questions weâ€™re going to be exploring in our latest on-site adult learning course, â€˜Discovering Literature: Beowulf to Chaucerâ€™, which offers students of any level the opportunity to learn more about the literature of medieval England. It contains Arthurian legends, dream-visions, dragons, chatty pilgrims and talking books. From the first great epic of English poetry, Beowulf, to the captivating tales of Geoffrey Chaucer, over six weeks participants will consider iconic works in Old English, Middle English and Anglo-Norman French, exploring the rich diversity of literary production in medieval England. Weâ€™ll be looking at works of comedy as well as of religious devotion, alongside haunting texts that explore the pain of adultery, loss and social exile.
Detail of the opening words of Beowulf, beginning 'HwÃ¦t' ('Listen!), from Beowulf, England, 4th quarter of the 10th century or 1st quarter of the 11th century, Cotton MS Vitellius A XV, f. 132r.
The course uses original texts in translation but, with expert guidance, youâ€™ll also be led through close-readings of selected passages in their original languages. The course runs over six weeks, on Tuesdays, from 24 October 2017, and the final session will feature a rare opportunity to work with original manuscripts from the British Libraryâ€™s collections.
The course is available to 16 participants only, and places are limited, so book as soon as possible. The full course description and booking form is available here.
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