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Module QXE-2101:
Beowulf to Malory

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Raluca Radulescu

Overall aims and purpose

The term ‘medieval’ is frequently identified with what is more properly Middle English literature; this course uses the term to apply more precisely to the English literature which existed between the Classical and the Renaissance periods. Accordingly, we divide the course between Old and Middle English literature and give you the opportunity to sample both. Some texts will be taught in translation, allowing you to consider what translation is, or should be; there will also be the opportunity to read some texts in the original and to study their linguistic as well as their literary features. To have taken QXE1003 would be desirable but not essential; the prime aims of this course are to introduce you to some splendid texts and to remove chronological remoteness as an artificial barrier to enjoyment of this significant portion of our literary heritage.

Course content

The module will cover both the Old English and the Middle English periods, with Old English literature being taught in translation.

Assessment Criteria


D: A 3rd class candidate's work will show many of the following features: Unsure and lacking in confidence when discussing ideas. Referring to the subject in question in a superficial manner Little evidence of background reading Some points in the argument irrelevant to the topic Making an effort to provide fairly balanced answers Some uncertainty over language and syntax Strengths and weaknesses fairly balanced In creative work: superficial. Not succeeding in mastering the requirements of the medium Occasionally clumsy and unimaginative


A: Typically, the work of a first class candidate will show many of the following qualities: Discusses ideas with confidence and precision Demonstrates maturity and sophistication. Displays deep knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is totally relevant. Shows independent, analytical and clear thought Gives evidence of substantial and relevant reading. Shows great accuracy in expression, displaying total mastery over all aspects of the language. Shows occasional signs of brilliance and originality of thought. In creative work: displays considerable originality Command over medium. May have potential for publication/production.


B: A 2(i) candidate's work will show many of the following qualities Discusses ideas adeptly Displays knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is relevant. Shows analytical and clear thought. Gives evidence of relevant reading. Most of the arguments about a specific field are well-aired. Plans of well-balanced and full answers, despite some gaps. Shows accuracy in expression with mastery over language. A few minor errors here and there Signs of creative thought deserve a higher position within the class. In creative work: shows signs of originality, having understood the requirements of the medium. C: A 2(ii) candidate's work will show many of the following qualities: Discusses ideas, but without much confidence Makes reference to the subject in question, but some important matters not mentioned Fairly clear thought on most occasions, and the arguments relevant on the whole. Evidence of having read some works associated with the field in question.

Evidence of planning in the answers, but a lack of coherence at times. Quite accurate expression, though the points may sometimes be presented clumsily Signs of conscientious work deserve a higher position within the class. In creative work: not having quite mastered the requirements of the medium. A few flashes of originality here and there. A respectable effort but not showing any unusual talent. Undisciplined and unsure at times.

Learning outcomes

  1. The ability to engage in sophisticated argument and analysis of the literature of the period

  2. The ability to make informed and appropriate critical analysis of the selected texts

  3. The ability to identify and discuss distinctive features of particular texts and to make connections between them

  4. Some understanding of pre-Renaissance, linguistic development, basic translation skills and an awareness of the issues posed by translation

  5. The ability to site them within a literary, historical, political and cultural context

  6. Familiarity with a sample range of medieval texts

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Essay 50
EXAM Examination 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Seminar 11
Study group 11
Lecture 22
Private study 156

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others


Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: