ELL236 : Introduction to Middle English

Convener(s): Dr Graham Williams


General Information

The late Middle Ages is a major milestone for English language and literature, and writing in Middle English includes some of the most fantastic and significant examples from our language's history: from internationally renowned superstars like Geoffrey Chaucer to the first examples of women writing everyday letters for themselves. No previous knowledge of Middle English is necessary for this module, and you will be provided with multiple resources, including translations and dictionaries, to help you gain confidence in reading the original Middle English and discussing these texts as literary and linguistic artifacts. Primary texts include: Chaucer's masterpiece, Troilus and Criseyde; Malory's Sir Lancelot; the anonymous dream-vision Pearl; and the morality play Mankind.


The course will be delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars. Lectures and seminars will rotate between linguistic and literary focus, allowing students from diverse backgrounds (and different degree programmes) to engage at all levels of the course. There are also bi-weekly study hours in which students will be introduced to medieval palaeography, i.e. we will practive reading medieval manuscripts in the original medieval handwriting.


Two 2000-word essays (50% each). For the essays, you will choose one question from a list of questions. The choice of questions will allow for you to focus on literary and/or linguistic approaches, and will ask you to apply these to the primary texts on the module.

Contact Details

0114 222 8460


Information last changed: Friday 09th of February 2018 :: 01:52:56 PM (GMT)

Please note: This module may or may not run in any individual session. Please check with the course convener.


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK