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Background and Purpose

One of my most influential teachers in high school often repeated his mantra as he was discussing the idea of history repeating itself:  "You can't know who you are, what you are, where you are, until you know who you were, what you were, where you were."  Beyond the idea of paying a small homage to my former teacher, this unit will help us to understand the influences and foundations of Western European literature.  We'll discover the first major shift in communication:  from spoken to print communication, which will, among other things, illuminate our understanding of the turbulence that has arisen from the shift to digital communication from print happening in our current society.  The past will come alive as we revisit the idea of the scop, the epic, the ballad, and much more, while we build our foundation of what it means to belong to the Western canon.  This is where it all began...

Pre-1066 (Beowulf)

Context Resources

Anglo-Saxon Notes (p. 6-10 in textbook)

Anglo-Saxon Terms

Origins Response Quotes

Practice with Kennings

How Dark Were the Dark Ages? Video

Comitatus and Interlacing


Literature Resources

Anglo-Saxon Term Practice in Beowulf

Beowulf Selections (Does not include "Unferth and Wealtheow")

Beowulf:  Unferth and Wealtheow (trans. Heaney)

Beowulf Brag-a-Thon Guidelines

Beowulf Brag-a-Thon Example (Babysitter)

Anglo-Saxon Lyric Assignment (The Exeter Book)

"The Wife's Lament"--READING

"The Wife's Lament"--QUESTIONS


Beowulf Translation Activity

Beowulf Presents His Resume

Beowulf Turns the Tables on Unferth

Beowulf vs. Grendel

...To Grendel's Ma's House We Go

Wiglaf Talks to the Chicken Thanes

Beowulf Translation Activity Form


Essay Resources


Anglo-Saxon Study Guide

Dichotomies Review

Post-1066 (The Canterbury Tales)

Context Resources

Medieval Notes Assignment

Medieval Notes (p. 7-12 in textbook)

Origins Response Quotes

Battle of Hastings Prezi

Canterbury Prezi


Language Resources

Anglo-Saxon (The History of English)

Norman Conquest (The History of English)

Opening Lines of Beowulf (in Old English, of course!)

The Lord's Prayer in Old English

The Lord's Prayer in Old Norse

The Lord's Prayer in Late Middle English (c. 1400)

Old English vs. Middle English Handout

Old Norse Handout

Beowulf to Chaucer to Gawain:  Hear the Changes


Literature Resources

The Canterbury Tales (trans. Coghill)

"Federigo's Falcon" (The Decameron)

"Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" (trans. Gardner)

The Decameron and Sir Gawain Questions


The Canterbury Tales Individual Tales

Group Project Assignment Sheet

TCT Teams Spring '14

The Reeve's Tale

The Prioress' Tale

The Nun's Priest's Tale

The Friar's Tale

The Summoner's Tale

The Wife of Bath's Tale

The Pardoner's Tale



Medieval Study Guide

Subpages (1): Translating Beowulf