Anglo-Saxon Literature

Virtue and Heroism

helmet and swordThis course is a 13-week foray into the earliest works written in English. Primarily we will trace the nature and actions of four classes of people prominent in Angl-Saxon literature: kings and thanes, warriors, saints, and finally God himself. In doing so, we observe the qualities lauded in that society, comparing and contrasting it with our own.

The class begins in early September and runs until early December, with a final paper due the following week. I will give access to the new week's assignment on Sunday evening. The substance of each assignment involving a reading selection, my analysis, questions for submission and a further point to consider, encouraging one to think deeper about the text. Of the questions for submission, I will ask between 1 and 3 and expect about a paragraph-long response on each, due on Friday. Over the weekend I reply with further individualized comments on what the student turned in.

There is a 2500 word paper due at the end of the course instead of a final exam. For many, this is the longest paper they have ever worked on: about 7-10 pages. It is presented in a manageable way, though. The weekly discussion questions help the student develop the theme of the paper, so they are crafting the meat of the long assignment week by week.For further help near the end of the course, I send out suggestions and tips on creating a thesis statement and ordering an outline, creating an introduction and conclusion, and making transitions between points.


Key topics

Lord of the Ring-givers

For hearty, hard-core hobbit heads, or those just dipping a furry toe into Middle-Earth for the first time, this high school literature and writing course will surprise, enlighten, and bring a new-found wonder at Tolkien's Catholic world.

Chesterton: Prince of Paradox

This one-semester class delights in Chesterton's wit and profundity seen in his fiction, Ballad of the White Horse and Orthodoxy.

Saints Alive

This junior-high writing course aims for prose as lively and vibrant as the saints themselves. Here students make the jump from ho-hum to high-school-quality essays.

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