English 475.001 - Old English
Spring 2008 - Edwin Duncan

Manuscript Study Assignment

Assignment: You have been given the copy of a page from an Old English manuscript. Discover as much as you can about what's on the page, and then in a three-page report (i.e., 900-1200 words) tell me a) what you've discovered, b) how you discovered it, and 3) what the exercise has taught you about Old English language and/or literature. In all phases of the report, be specific and detailed, providing examples where appropriate.

A. What you've discovered: As far as you are able, transcribe the Old English text, and, as far as you are able, provide a translation. Also, as far as you are able, place the page in its larger context. Can you determine what it is a part of? What, briefly, can you say about the work it comes from?

B. How you discovered it: What were the methods you used to determine what is on the page? How were you able to read the letters, to pick out words, to make sense of what was on the page? What was the process you subsequently followed to place the page in a larger context? What, if any, shortcuts did you use to make your determinations?

C. What the exercise has taught you about Old English: How does the Old English in modern editions and textbooks differ from the Old English as originally written in the manuscripts? What else have you learned along the way?

Due Date: The beginning of class on Thursday, April 24.

Format: The submitted copy must be typed, double-spaced, on 8 1/2" x 11" typing paper. Margins for text should be approximately 1" on all sides. A cover sheet will not be necessary. Unless the sheets of the paper are fastened with a staple or paper clip in the top left-hand corner, one-third of a letter grade will be deducted from the overall paper grade. Do not put your completed paper in a folder or plastic cover, and do not include fly sheets (i.e. sheets with nothing on them).

Citations: Use the MLA (Modern Language Association) parenthetic documentation style for citations instead of endnotes or footnotes. Include a Works Cited sheet at the end of your paper. Details concerning MLA style can be found in The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (1984 or later) or in post-1985 handbooks of writing style—or by clicking here.

Late Papers: One letter grade will be deducted for each class meeting that the paper is late.

Plagiarism: Failure to document sources properly will definitely hurt your grade and could result in a grade of F for the course. See Towson's Student Academic Integrity Policy.


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