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Cold Light: The Medieval Literature of Northern Europe

ENG 404 (Not currently offered)

Cold Light: The Medieval Literature of Northern Europe
(Not currently offered)

  • Course ID:ENG 404
  • Semesters:1
  • Department:English
  • Teachers:Chris Breslin

Description and Objectives

The class will explore the literature that chronicles the transition of medieval Europe from its pagan origins to the full flowering of the Christian Faith-both Catholic and Orthodox–in the North.

Reading, in-class discussion, and writing both in and out of class will help each student to grow in literary acumen overall and in the specifics of the matters that the books explore.

Students should be prepared for daily, seminar-style classes with weekly writing assignments and a significant end-of-semester essay as a capstone project.


(Short stories, poems, films and guest lecturers will also be part of the mix)

  • The Poetic Edda, Anonymous
  • The Saga of the Volsungs, Anonymous
  • Selections from: The Heliand, Kristnisaga, The Venerable Bede’s History of the English Church
  • The Confessions of Saint Patrick
  • “The Dream of the Rood” and “The Wanderer”
  • The Northern Crusades, Eric Christiansen
  • Selections from Sigrid Undset’s Saga of Saints, essay on Saint Vladimir of Kiev

Course Requirements

Quarter Grade=(Quiz Average x .3) +  (Test Average x .7). Whatever resultant number is will be the grade you get( with possible  extra credit points in  one point increments as applicable).

  • Expect one quiz per week.
  • Expect a test at the completion of each book. 
  • Assigned essays(summer book report included) are weighted as test grades.
  • Extra credit opportunities, to include  “pull-ups for points,” will be made available to the needy student.
  • Due work is due at the start of class.  
  • Late work will be penalized.–Read with a pen in hand to mark sections that cause questions or that catch your attention.
  • Seek help if you need it.  My door is almost always open.

Successful Students

Successful students will show up to class on-time, and complete all assigned work.