Is Old English Old Hat?
University of Leicester professor has rallied to the defence of Old English
studies in UK universities claiming texts produced a millennium apart still have
a direct relationship.
Elaine Treharne, Head of the Department of English, delivered her inaugural
lecture on Tuesday, February 25.
highlighted the relevance of Old English in higher education. Old English was
used in England from the fifth to the twelfth centuries, and literature in Old
English survives in substance from the ninth to the twelfth century.
lecture came at a time when the subject is being removed from the syllabus of
many English degree courses, leading to concern among many Early Medievalists.
There are fewer than 40 institutions still teaching Old English in the UK, of
which only half teach the language in its original form.
Treharne said: “Many early medievalists in universities throughout the United
Kingdom have expressed concern that their subject is being ousted from an
already-full English degree syllabus.
the difficulties faced by early literature specialists are comments made by
leading literary figures that Old English poetry and prose bears no relationship
to the subsequent history of English Literature.”
her lecture, Back to the Future: The Production of English Texts a Millennium
Apart, Professor Treharne countered this view.
lecture highlighted the links between modern and old literature in terms of
literary output, language and cultural impact. It examined Old English
manuscripts, taken from the Post-Conquest period, and revealed how textual
complexities mirror modern approaches to English literature.
Treharne is uniquely qualified to lecture on this subject, as a specialist in
Old and Middle English religious prose. As well as being Head of the Department
of English at the University of Leicester, Professor Treharne is Vice-President
of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists, Chair of the research group
into Post-Conquest English Manuscripts and the author of several books about Old
and Middle English.
added: “Old English, both in terms of its literary output, its language, and
its cultural impact has significant relevance for English Studies in the
Treharne’s lecture, Back to the Future:The Production of English Texts a
Millennium Apart, took place on Tuesday, February 25 at 5.30pm, Lecture Theatre
1, Ken Edwards Building.
TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please contact Professor Elaine Treharne, Head of the Department of English, telephone
0116 252 2636, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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