An Exploration of the Wonders of Old English Language and its Literature.
Steve Pollington (Independent Anglo-Saxon Scholar)
July 7th 2018 at Sutton Hoo


This study-day is both for beginners and those with some familiarity with Old English.  Starting with the rudiments of the language and its written forms, we shall analyse some sample texts, not just for the excitement of reading words written so many centuries ago, for example by Alfred the Great himself, but also to unlock the beauty of the language in action. Finally, there will be an opportunity to reflect on the echoes of the Old English language in current forms of English.

Provisional Programme

09.50 – 10.15:          Coffee on arrival

10.15 – 11.15:          Overview of Old English

11.15 – 11.40:          Coffee break

11.40 – 12.40:          Some Sample Texts

12.40 – 14.00:          Lunch break

14.00 – 14.50:          Reading Practice

14.50 – 15.10:          Tea break

15.10 – 16.00:          Echoes in the Modern World

c.16.00:                   Thanks and Close

About Steve Pollington

Stephen has many published titles include works on the Old English language, military culture, healing and herblore, runes and feasting in the ‘meadhall’, as well as a double CD of readings in Old English.  He has lectured widely on aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture since 1991, from local history to the details of verse metre, from theories of the origins of the Germanic runes to the handling of Anglo-Saxon weaponry. He has worked on a number of television and radio programmes, and was script advisor to the ground-breaking 1000 AD, in which dramatic dialogue was spoken entirely in Old English and Old Norse. For more on Stephen and his work, see his website at www.stevepollington.com/index.html .

Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

  • Alexander, M., Old English Literature  (Macmillan 1983)
  • Alexander, M.  (tr.), Beowulf: A Glossed Text (Penguin Classics 1995, 2000)
  • Alexander, M., The First Poems in English (Penguin Classics 2008)
  • Baugh, A.C., & T.Cable, A History of the English Language (3rd edition, London 1978)
  • Clark Hall, J.R., & H.D.Meritt, A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (Cambridge 1962)
  • Heaney, Seamus (tr.) Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition, ed. J.Niles (Norton 2007)
  • Lee, S.D., & E.Solopova, The Keys of Middle-earth: Discovering Medieval Literature through the Fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien (Palgrave Macmillan 2005)
  • Mitchell, B., & F.Robinson, A Guide to Old English (Blackwell 1986-2001)
  • Newton, S., The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia (Brewer 1993-2004)
  • Newton, S., The Reckoning of King Rædwald (Redbird 2003)
  • Pollington, S., Wordcraft: a concise dictionary and thesaurus, modern English to Old English (Anglo-Saxon Books 1993)
  • Pollington, S., Wordcraft: a concise dictionary and thesaurus, modern English to Old English (Anglo-Saxon Books 1993)
  • Pollington, S., First Steps in Old English (Anglo-Saxon Books 2006)
  • Shippey, T.A., Old English Verse (London 1972)
  • Shippey, T.A., The Road to Middle-earth (Allen and Unwin, 1982; rev. edn HarperCollins, 2003)
  • Wilson, R., The Lost Literature of Medieval England (Methuen 1952, 1970)