Disclaimer: The information on this page is provided as an overview. The course outline, readings, and assignments may be subject to change in the final syllabus as determined by the lecturer and/or preceptors.
This course introduces the myths and heroic legends of the medieval Germanic world, ranging from Beowulf, the Eddas, the Nibelungenlied, the Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, the Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok, the Saga of the Volsungs, and Waltharius. It focuses on this rich variety of literature by comparing texts from across the Germanic world that cover mythological and related legendary traditions within the textual culture of pagan and Christian medieval Europe. The readings are intentionally drawn from literary giants of medieval Germanic literature (in modern English translation), and the highlight of this course is depth in the traditional philological sense, rather than breadth. The lectures and discussions are intended to contextualize the wider cultural and historical contexts of the texts, including reflections of these works across a large time, space, and tradition.
This course includes two live 90-minute lectures per week with one 60-minute discussion session as assigned.
- Survey of the Literature of the Medieval Germanic World
- The Germanic Speaking World to the 13th century
- Introduction to Old English Literature and the Place of Beowulf
- Beowulf in Philology
- Beowulf and Tradition
- The Anglo-Norse Scyldings and Skjöldungar
- The Saga of Hrolf Kraki
- Norse Cosmology: The Beginning of the World
- Norse Cosmology: The End of the World
- Sources for Norse Mythology
- The Poetic Edda and Norse Poetry
- Old Norse Myths in the Poetic Edda
- Old Norse Religion
- The Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson
- Myths and Legends of the Prose Edda
- Norse Gods and Goddesses
- Heroic Legends in the Eddas
- The Saga of the Volsungs
- The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok
- The Nibelungendlied
- Comparison of the Nibelungenlied with Other Traditions
- Gothic Legends in Old Norse and Old English Literature
- Taking Stock of the Medieval Northern Mythic and Heroic Traditions
Students may use the print, e-book, or free online texts for most required texts. Where noted, the print and e-book translations linked are preferred and encouraged, but free online alternatives are also acceptable. Further required and suggested readings will be provided by the course instructors in the final syllabus.
- Beowulf (Broadview, 2nd ed., 2012) trans. R.M. Liuzza
- The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki (Penguin, 1999) trans. Jesse Byock
- Prose Edda (Everyman, 1995) trans. Anthony Faulkes
- The Poetic Edda (Oxford World’s Classics, 2nd ed., 2014) trans. Carolyne Larrington
- Saga of the Volsungs with the Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok (Hackett Classics, 2017) trans. Jackson Crawford
- The Nibelungenlied (Oxford World’s Classics, 2010) trans. Cyril Edwards
- Waltharius (2005) trans. Abram Ring
This course has been offered in the following semesters.
|Fall 2019||Dr. Paul Peterson & Dr. Carl Edlund Anderson|