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Indiana University Bloomington

Early English Literature and Culture Forum

Indiana University has a long tradition of strength in early English literature and culture. The English Department offers students with interests in the period 800-1800 a rich array of courses covering a wide spectrum of historical, cultural, and theoretical perspectives on early English literature.

Scholars in the IU English department model both traditional and contemporary approaches to early literature. On the one hand, the department has special strengths in philology and linguistics, with regular course offerings in Old English language and literature and History of the English Language. On the other, most of the faculty bring contemporary theory to bear on their readings of early literature, with postcolonial theory, psychoanalytic theory, gender studies, poetics, rhetoric, and visual and material culture being special strengths of the program. With a large and diverse faculty working on early literature, the department provides an array of courses and approaches for both undergraduate and graduate students. Click here for a list of recent courses.

Early english manuscript

As part of its commitment to intellectual exchange, the department also regularly sponsors conferences and speakers in early English writings and culture. Most recently, the department hosted a colloquium on medieval and early modern gender. Every spring, English department students and faculty participate in the Medieval Studies Program's annual graduate student symposium. Scheduled for October 2008 is a symposium on Early English objects and artifacts. In addition, several scholarly journals are edited or co-edited by the affiliated faculty, including Exemplaria, co-edited by Patricia Clare Ingham, American Speech, edited by Michael P. Adams, and Anglo-Saxon, co-edited by Robert Fulk.

Students benefit from many reading groups, including Old Norse, Middle English "Song School," dissertation groups, and a monthly colloquium on early English literature and culture. Many students also make use of the manuscripts and rare books available through the University’s Lilly Library and participate in the History of the Book Seminar.

As part of its investment in the early periods, the department of English offers various funding opportunities for graduate students, including the E. Talbot Donaldson fellowship (for a student of Old English, Middle English, or Renaissance literature) and the Battenhouse fellowship (for a student of Renaissance literature and culture).

Affiliated with the interdisciplinary Medieval Studies Institute and Renaissance Studies program, courses in early English Literature and culture are often cross-listed with other departments and programs.

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