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Wuffing Education

An Introduction to Middle English Literature.

The opening lines of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales from William Caxton’s first printed edition (British Library)

with Dr Sam Newton

at Tranmer House, Sutton Hoo (map)
on Saturday, 17th April 2010

A beginner’s guide to the treasures of medieval English literature.

An introduction to the richness of the English language and its literature following the imposition of French as the language of establishment in 1066. We shall see how English appears to have “moved out to the country”, where it flourished, to eventually re-emerge with all the timeless vigour of human life that bursts out from the pages of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. We shall also consider Arthurian literature in English such as Layamon’s Historia Bruttonum, and the majestic and mysterious Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Provisional Programme
  10.00 Coffee on arrival  
  10.15 English Old and Middle – a look at the changing character of the English language and literature before and after 1066.  
  11.15 Coffee  
  11.45 Merry England Relocated - an introduction to Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.  
  12.45 Lunch break  
  14:00 The Cult of King Arthur – a reassessment of Layamon’s Historia Bruttonum, the first English version of the legend of Arthur.  
  15:00 Tea break  
  15:15 Psychic and geographical landscapes - Sir Gawain and the Green Knight  
  16:15 Close  

About Dr Sam Newton

Sam Newton was awarded his Ph.D at UEA in 1991 and is the author of The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia (1993) and The Reckoning of King Rædwald, (2003). He has lectured widely around the country and has contributed to many radio and television programmes, most recently Michael Wood on Beowulf on BBC4. He is also a Director of Wuffing Education, NADFAS lecturer, and Time Team historian.

Some suggestions for further reading
(useful but not essential)

Alexander, M., The First Poems in English (Penguin Classics 2008)
Barber, R., King Arthur: Hero and Legend (London 1961).
Bennett, J.A.W., & G.V.Smithers, Early Middle English Verse and Prose (Oxford 1982).
Brooke, C., The Saxon and Norman Kings (Glasgow 1963).
Coghill, N., The Canterbury Tales (Penguin Classics 1960).
Davies, R.T. (ed.), Medieval English Lyrics (London 1966).
Lee, S. D. & E. Solopova, The Keys of Middle-earth: Discovering Medieval Literature through the Fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien (Basingstoke, New York, 2005)
Mason, E., Wace & Layamon - Arthurian Chronicles (London 1962).
Thorpe, L. (tr.), Geoffrey of Monmouth - The History of the Kings of Britain (Penguin Classics 1966).
Tolkien, J.R.R. (tr. ), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Sir Orfeo, ed. C.Tolkien (Unwin 1975).


Please phone or email to check the availability of places.  This Study Days are £38 per person, which includes a full day of lectures, access to the NT site, parking, coffee and tea throughout the day, and access to the NT exhibition.  Once you have reserved your place please send a cheque to confirm the booking. For your first booking please complete the application form to ensure that we have recorded your contact details correctly.

Wuffing Education,
4 Hilly Fields,
Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 4DX
(tel : 01394 386498)

Email cliff AT
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