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SECOND PUBLIC EXAMINATION 
 
 
HONOUR SCHOOL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE   
 
HONOUR SCHOOL OF CLASSICS AND ENGLISH   
Literature in English from 1350 to 1550 
 
HONOUR SCHOOL OF HISTORY AND ENGLISH   
Literature in English from 1350 to 1550 
 
HONOUR SCHOOL OF ENGLISH AND MODERN LANGUAGES   
Literature in English from 1350 to 1550 
 
 

TRINITY TERM 2020 
 
Monday, 18 May 
Opening time 9.30am (BST) 
You have three hours to complete the paper and upload your answer file 
 
 
Answer two questions. Except where specified, themes can be applied to any author or 
authors of your choice. You should pay careful attention in your answers to the precise terms 
of the quotations and questions. 
Candidates should not repeat material across different parts of the examination. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

1.  ‘Courtly love was also a device for disciplining women, for restraining those traits 
that provoked anxiety in men, for confining the female sex within a web of carefully 
orchestrated rituals, for drawing woman’s sting by diverting her combativeness to the 
harmless realm of sport’ (GEORGES DUBY).  
 
2.    
‘Youre wordes arn wonderfulle,’ quod I tho. ‘Which of yow is trewest, 
And lelest to leve on for lif and for soule?’   
 
[most trustworthy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Piers Plowman
 
Write about moral uncertainty in any literature of the period. 
 
3.  ‘Thu hast be despysed for my lofe, and therfor thu schalt be worshepyd for my lofe ... 
I have telde the befortyme that thu art a synguler lover, and therfor thu schalt have a 
synguler love in hevyn, a synguler reward, and a synguler worshep’ (The Book of 
Margery Kempe
). 
 
4.    
Thenne sayde the goode Kyng Athelston: 
‘Lat hym to the fyr gon, 
 
 
[ordeal by fire
To preve the trewthe with alle.’ 
 
 
 
 
(Athelston
 
Discuss literature of the period in relation to ANY of the following: law; testing and 
proof; faith and miracles. 
 
5.  ‘I consider the merchant élite primarily as a political group whose textual activities 
served to regulate behaviour, produce social distinctions and ensure the survival of 
oligarchic rule’ (SHEILA LINDENBAUM). 
 
Can textual activity ever be apolitical? 
 
6.  ‘We wyteth noght wham God loveth most, and wham he hateth most’ (The Book of 
John Mandeville). 
 
7.    
He was ycrouned kynge 
Pur nostre redempcioun. 
 
 
[For our redemption
Whose wol me synge 
Avera grant pardoun.   
 
 
[Will have great pardon
 
 
Her bygynneth the Geste of Kyng Horn. 
Alle heo ben blythe 
That to my song ylythe. 
 
 
[listen
A song Ychulle ou singe 
 
 
[I shall sing to you
Of Allof the gode kynge. 
 
 
(British Library Harley MS 2253, fol. 83r) 
 
Discuss literature of the period in relation to ANY of the following: multilingualism; 
the worldly and the divine; opposition and contrast; manuscript context. 
 

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8.  ‘All the categories of this life and the next are fixed, immutable. There are no 
conflicts which deserve to be called tragic’ (ERICH AUERBACH). 
 
9.  ‘The art of the song and that of the book share the same function: the struggle against 
forgetfulness, against the disappearance or evaporation of words over time’ (DANIEL 
POIRION). 
Discuss strategies of commemoration AND/OR the creation of meaning, in any 
literature of the period. 
 
10.   
A hand that taught what might be said in rhyme; 
That reft Chaucer the glory of his wit; 
A mark the which (unperfited, for time) 
Some may approach, but never none shall hit. 
 
(‘Wyatt resteth here’: HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY) 
 
Discuss EITHER literary inheritance and influence OR the importance and effects of 
experiments in versification, in any literature of the period. 
 
11. ‘It is not the suffering or bitterness of life as such that consumes Job, but the misery of 
meaninglessness. The futility of existence has two clear features: the way of life is 
hidden, and the one who hides it is God’ (N. C. HABEL). 
 
12. ‘Without fantasy, there would be no love’ (LAUREN BERLANT). 
 
13. ‘Our gaze follows the slightest physical detail, it is, as it were, nailed, crucified, and is 
riveted to the hand placed at the center of the composition’ (JULIA KRISTEVA). 
 
Discuss EITHER the relation of spectacle and spectator OR representations of the 
human body, in any literature of the period. 
 
14. ‘“Alas!” seyde kynge Arthure unto sir Gawayne, “ye have nygh slayne me for the 
avow that ye have made [to undertake the Grail Quest], for thorow you ye have 
berauffte me the fayryst and the trewyst of knyghthode that ever was sene togydir in 
ony realme of the worlde”’ (MALORY, Morte Darthur). 
 
15.   
Loo, how schulde I now telle al thys? 
(The House of Fame
 
 
 
Write about the representation of unreality in any literature of the period.  
 
16. ‘By a symbol I mean, not a metaphor or allegory or any other figure of speech or form 
of fancy, but an actual and essential part of that, the whole of which it represents’ 
(SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE). 
 

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17.  ‘If we insist on periodization, focusing on what we think characterizes the literature 
of this or that age, we will never be able to explain how change occurs’. 
 
18. ‘People also ask: What is the purpose of medieval drama?’ (GOOGLE). 
 
19. ‘If any person or persons ... do maliciously wish, will, or desire, by words or writing, 
or by craft imagine ... any bodily harm to be done or committed to the king’s most 
royal person, the queen’s, or their heirs apparent ... or slanderously and maliciously 
publish and pronounce, by express writing or words, that the king our sovereign lord 
should be heretic, schismatic, tyrant, infidel or usurper of the crown ... They shall be 
adjudged traitors’ (Treason Act, 1534). 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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SECOND PUBLIC EXAMINATION 
 
 
 

HONOUR SCHOOL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE  
 
COURSE II 
 
Paper 2 Medieval English and Related Literatures 1066-1550 
 
 
 

 
TRINITY TERM 2020 
 
Friday, 22 May 
Opening time 9.30am (BST) 
You have 2 hours 30 minutes to complete the paper and upload your answer file 
 
 
Answer one question. You should pay careful attention in your answer to the precise terms of 
the quotation and/or question. Candidates should show ONE or BOTH of the following in 
some part of their essay: (a) knowledge of literature originally written in languages other than 
English; (b) knowledge of texts from the earlier period (1000–1350).  
 
Candidates should not repeat material across different parts of the examination. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

1.   ‘Late Middle English love lyrics were seldom, if ever, purely literary distillations of 
moments of intense, private emotion’ (THOMAS G. DUNCAN).  
 
Debate the issue. 
 
2.  ‘Lyrics teach us to value the power of a collective sense of language, in all its forms, 
throughout the Middle Ages’ (ARDIS BUTTERFIELD). 
 
What is a ‘collective sense of language’, and what power does it have? 
 
3.  ‘It has become fairly common practice to think of “lyric” as interchangeable with 
“short poem” when discussing medieval texts, and this tendency obviously lumps 
together some widely differing kinds of utterance’  (JULIA BOFFEY). 
 
Discuss the implications of this remark, with reference to lyrics in any language. 
 
4.  ‘Poems without contexts’ (J. A. BURROW). 
 
To what extent can Burrow’s famous quotation still be supported? 
 
5.    
Ro gab úacht    
 
 
 
[Cold now girds 
etti én;  
 
 
 
 
 Wings of birds 
aigre ré;  
 
 
 
 
  Icy time – 
é mo scél.  
 
 
 
 
  That’s my rime] 
(Scél lem dúib, 9th century Irish lyric)  
(trans. FLANN O’BRIEN) 
 
EITHER  
a)  Discuss the treatment of the natural world in lyrics in any language.  
OR  
b)  What happens when lyrics are translated? 
 
6.    
I haue a gentil cok 
Crowyt me ech day 
He doth me rysyn erly 
My matiyns for to say. 
[matins (prayers said at daybreak or earlier)]  
             (British Library MS Sloane 2593, fol. 10v) 
 
EITHER  
a)  How do lyrics negotiate the interplay between the sacred and the profane?  
OR  
b) How does temporality work in lyrics? 
 
7.  ‘Lexically clever, syntactically complex’  (JANE H. M. TAYLOR). 
 
Is that all? 
 

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8.   
  
 
O man unkynde 
hafe in mynde  
 
 
 
 
my paynes smert. 
Beholde & see  
Þat is for þe 
percyd my hert. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
O lord right dere 
 
Þi wordes I here 
 
With hert ful sore. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(British Library MS Additional 37049, fol. 20r)  
 
EITHER  
a)  Discuss the relationship between manuscript illustration and lyrics.  
OR  
b)  How do devotional lyrics work? 
 
9.   
Hir bowgy cheeks been as softe as clay,    
 
[baggy
With large jowes and substancial.       
 
[jaws]  
Hir nose a pentice is that it ne shal 
 
  
[overhanging roof
 
Reine in hir mouth thogh she uprightes lay. 
 
 
 
(THOMAS HOCCLEVE) 
 
What does this verse tell us about the attitudes towards gender and sexuality which 
can be expressed in medieval lyrics? 
 
10.   
Thow that art wormys mete, powder and dust 
To enhawnce thiself in pride sette not thi lust 
For thow wost not today that thow shalt leve tomorwe 
Wherfor do thou evere wel and thane shalt thow not sorwe. 
(Anon., 15th Century) 
 
‘To speak of a lyric genre of the ars moriendi [the art of dying (well)] is to miss the 
point; the question is how to live’. Discuss. 
 

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11.  
Scripsi hec carmina in tabulis. 
  
Mon ostel est enmi la vile de Paris. 
  
May Y sugge namore, so wel me is; 
  
Yef Hi deye for love of hire, duel hit ys! 
     (Dum Ludis Floribus
[I’ve written these songs on a tablet. My lodging’s amid the city of Paris. 
I may say no more, as seems best; should I die for love of her, sad it is!] 
 
EITHER  
a)  What is the function of multilingual lyrics?  
OR  
b)  Discuss the interplay of ephemerality and commemoration in any lyrics of the 
period. 
 
 
12.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(‘Sainte Nicholaes godes druð [darling]’,  
British Library Royal MS 5. F. VII, fol. 85) 
 
EITHER 
a)  Discuss the relationships between lyrics and music. 
OR 
b)  Can lyrics give us access to medieval oral culture? 
 
13.  
Car qui se veult de faire ditz chargier 
Biaulz et plaisans, soient ou longs ou cours, 
Le sentement qui est le plus legier, 
Et qui mieulx plaist a tous de commun cours, 
C’est d’amours, ne autrement 
Ne seront fait ne bien ne doulcement, 
Ou, se ce n’est, d’aucunes belles meurs, 
Je m’en raport a tous sages ditteurs. 
(CHRISTINE DE PIZAN, Ballade 50) 
[For whoever wants to write beautiful and pleasant poems, whether long or 
short, must know that the lightest and most pleasing inspiration comes from 
love, there is no other way to compose them well and sweetly. And without 
love, there is no pleasing way of life. I draw my information from the 
knowledgeable poets.] 
 
 
Discuss the role and importance of literary tradition in any lyrics of the period. 
 
 

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14. ‘Poems on contemporary conditions in French, Latin and English are found in all 
kinds of manuscripts, and the boundary between political, religious, historical and 
didactic verse is necessarily vague’  (JANET COLEMAN). 
 
What does this statement say about how lyrics on contemporary society go about their 
work? 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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FINAL HONOUR SCHOOL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 
Course II Paper 5 (a): The Material Text 
Hilary Term 2020 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
ANSWER ONE QUESTION FROM EACH SECTION. 
 
EACH PIECE OF WRITTEN WORK SHOULD BE 2000–2500 WORDS, 
INCLUDING FOOTNOTES, BUT EXCLUDING BIBLIOGRAPHY. 
 
 

 

SECTION A (commentary) WRITE A CRITICAL COMMENTARY ON ONE OF 
THE FOLLOWING EXTRACTS, FOCUSING ON ONE OR MORE OF THE 
FOLLOWING: 

Layout; 
Scribal practice; 
Glossing and/or annotation; 
Copying, compilation and readership; 
Textual transmission; 
Editorial practice. 
 
1. Nowell Codex, fol. 130(BL133)r  
http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/Viewer.aspx?ref=cotton_ms_vitellius_a_xv_f133r; compare  
R. D. Fulk, R. E. Bjork, and J. D. Niles, eds., Klaeber’s Beowulf, 4th edition, Toronto Old 
English Studies (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008), pp. 4–5. 
 
2. Vernon manuscript, fol. 407v 
https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/inquire/p/4d0d4354-a3ce-4c74-98b5-e025d6b1b151; 
compare Carleton Brown, Religious Lyrics of the XIVth Century, pp. 133-140 (poem no. 96, 
lines 49-88, poem nos 97-99, and poem no. 100, lines 1-31). 
 
 
 
 

SECTION B (essay) 
 
1. 
In what ways do engraved, embossed, or embroidered texts differ from handwritten 
ones in books? Illustrate with reference to a range of examples. 
 
2. 
‘In a participatory transmission, and in the context of an early, transitional literacy, 
presentation of a standard edition with modern literate spacing, capitalization and 
punctuation may limit the historical usefulness of such an edited text.’ (K. O’BRIEN 
O’KEEFFE). Discuss, with relevant examples. 
 
3. 
How and why does the same scribe employ different letter forms? Give specific 
examples. 
 
4. 
Consider what kinds of audience are implied by later glosses in a range of texts and 
manuscripts. 
 
5. 
What advantages and disadvantages do modern media offer in editing medieval texts? 
Give specific examples of good and bad practice. 
 
6. 
What visual cues or other evidence are there in the material text that might offer clues 
to performance? 
 
7. 
To what extent do illustrations illuminate the text, or vice versa? Discuss with reference 
to at least one text of your acquaintance. 
 
 

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SECOND PUBLIC EXAMINATION 
 
 
HONOUR SCHOOL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 
  
COURSE I 
 
Paper 6(c) Medieval Welsh for Beginners 
 
HONOUR SCHOOL OF CLASSICS AND ENGLISH 
  
Medieval Welsh for Beginners 
 
 
TRINITY TERM 2020 
 
Thursday, 21 May 
Opening time 9.30am (BST) 
You have three hours to complete the paper and upload your answer file 
 
 
Answer two questions. You should pay attention in your answers to the precise terms of the 
question. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


1.  Are any of the poems ascribed by Sir Ifor Williams to the ‘historical’ Taliesin likely 
to be authentic? 
 
2.  Is J. K. Bollard right to see the key themes of Pedeir Keinc y Mabinogi as 
‘friendships, marriages, and feuds’? 
 
3.  Does the term ‘mythological’ have any critical purchase in relation to Pedeir Keinc y 
Mabinogi
 
4.  What kind of Arthur do we find in Culhwch ac Olwen
 
5.  How innovative is the poetry of Dafydd ap Gwilym? 
 
6.  ‘No situation seems more tragic … than that of a humanity sharing the joys of a 
planet with other species, yet being unable to communicate with them’ (CLAUDE 
LÉVI-STRAUSS).  
 
Discuss in relation to any medieval Welsh literature of your choice. 
 
7.  Give a detailed account of the Middle Welsh system of consonant mutation, including 
discussion of both phonology and orthography. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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SECOND PUBLIC EXAMINATION 
 
 
HONOUR SCHOOL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 
  
COURSE I 
 
HONOUR SCHOOL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 
  
COURSE II 
 
Paper 6(c) Old and Middle Irish for Beginners 
 
 

 
TRINITY TERM 2020 
 
Thursday, 21 May 
Opening time 9.30am (BST) 
You have three hours to complete the paper and upload your answer file  
 
 
Answer two questions. You should pay attention in your answers to the precise terms of the 
question. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


1.  Discuss the theme of ‘king and goddess’ in the medieval Irish literature you have 
read. 
 
2.  What are we to make of the persona of the eremitical scribe? 
 
3.  Discuss ONE of the following in relation to Longes mac n-Uislenn: (a) sound; (b) 
violence; (c) wild and domesticated animals. 
 
4.  Discuss the role of Caílte in Acallam na Senórach
 
5.  How does Scéla Muicce Meic Dathó relate to the tales in the Ulster Cycle? 
 
6.  How helpful is the term ‘Mythological Cycle’ when attempting to classify early Irish 
literature? 
 
7.  Discuss the issues involved in attempting to offer a generic description of immram 
and echtrae
 
8.  Offer a detailed overview and discussion of any ONE of the following aspects of the 
Old Irish verbal system: (a) infixed and suffixed pronouns and emphasising suffixes; 
(b) passives and deponents; (c) the substantive verb and the copula. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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SECOND PUBLIC EXAMINATION 
 
 
HONOUR SCHOOL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE   
 
COURSE I 
 
Paper A Literature in English from 1350 to 1660 
 
 

 
TRINITY TERM 2020 
 
Monday, 18 May 
Opening time 9.30am (BST) 
You have four hours to complete the paper and upload your answer file 
 
 
Answer three questions, including at least one from Section 1 (1350-1550) and at least one 
from Section 2 (1550-1660). All questions are equally weighted. Except where specified, 
themes can be applied to any author or authors of your choice within the periods. You should 
pay careful attention in your answers to the precise terms of the quotations and questions. 
Candidates should not repeat material across different parts of the examination. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Section 1 (Literature in English from 1350-1550) 
 
1.  ‘Courtly love was also a device for disciplining women, for restraining those traits 
that provoked anxiety in men, for confining the female sex within a web of carefully 
orchestrated rituals, for drawing woman’s sting by diverting her combativeness to the 
harmless realm of sport’ (GEORGES DUBY).  
 
2.    
‘Youre wordes arn wonderfulle,’ quod I tho. ‘Which of yow is trewest, 
And lelest to leve on for lif and for soule?’   
 
[most trustworthy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Piers Plowman
 
Write about moral uncertainty in any literature of the period. 
 
3.  ‘Thu hast be despysed for my lofe, and therfor thu schalt be worshepyd for my lofe ... 
I have telde the befortyme that thu art a synguler lover, and therfor thu schalt have a 
synguler love in hevyn, a synguler reward, and a synguler worshep’ (The Book of 
Margery Kempe
). 
 
4.    
Thenne sayde the goode Kyng Athelston: 
‘Lat hym to the fyr gon, 
 
 
[ordeal by fire
To preve the trewthe with alle.’ 
 
 
 
 
(Athelston
 
Discuss literature of the period in relation to ANY of the following: law; testing and 
proof; faith and miracles. 
 
5.  ‘I consider the merchant élite primarily as a political group whose textual activities 
served to regulate behaviour, produce social distinctions and ensure the survival of 
oligarchic rule’ (SHEILA LINDENBAUM). 
 
Can textual activity ever be apolitical? 
 
6.  ‘We wyteth noght wham God loveth most, and wham he hateth most’ (The Book of 
John Mandeville). 
 
7.  ‘The art of the song and that of the book share the same function: the struggle against 
forgetfulness, against the disappearance or evaporation of words over time’ (DANIEL 
POIRION). 
Discuss strategies of commemoration AND/OR the creation of meaning, in any 
literature of the period. 
 
8.  ‘All the categories of this life and the next are fixed, immutable. There are no 
conflicts which deserve to be called tragic’ (ERICH AUERBACH). 
 
 

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9.    
He was ycrouned kynge 
Pur nostre redempcioun. 
 
 
[For our redemption
Whose wol me synge 
Avera grant pardoun.   
 
 
[Will have great pardon
 
 
Her bygynneth the Geste of Kyng Horn. 
Alle heo ben blythe 
That to my song ylythe. 
 
 
[listen
A song Ychulle ou singe 
 
 
[I shall sing to you
Of Allof the gode kynge. 
 
 
(British Library Harley MS 2253, fol. 83r) 
 
Discuss literature of the period in relation to ANY of the following: multilingualism; 
the worldly and the divine; opposition and contrast; manuscript context. 
 
10.   
A hand that taught what might be said in rhyme; 
That reft Chaucer the glory of his wit; 
A mark the which (unperfited, for time) 
Some may approach, but never none shall hit. 
 
(‘Wyatt resteth here’: HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY) 
 
Discuss EITHER literary inheritance and influence OR the importance and effects of 
experiments in versification, in any literature of the period. 
 
11. ‘It is not the suffering or bitterness of life as such that consumes Job, but the misery of 
meaninglessness. The futility of existence has two clear features: the way of life is 
hidden, and the one who hides it is God’ (N. C. HABEL). 
 
12. ‘Without fantasy, there would be no love’ (LAUREN BERLANT). 
 
13. ‘Our gaze follows the slightest physical detail, it is, as it were, nailed, crucified, and is 
riveted to the hand placed at the center of the composition’ (JULIA KRISTEVA). 
 
Discuss EITHER the relation of spectacle and spectator OR representations of the 
human body, in any literature of the period. 
 
14. ‘“Alas!” seyde kynge Arthure unto sir Gawayne, “ye have nygh slayne me for the 
avow that ye have made [to undertake the Grail Quest], for thorow you ye have 
berauffte me the fayryst and the trewyst of knyghthode that ever was sene togydir in 
ony realme of the worlde”’ (MALORY, Morte Darthur). 
 
15.   
Loo, how schulde I now telle al thys? 
(The House of Fame
 
 
 
Write about the representation of unreality in any literature of the period.  
 
 

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16. ‘By a symbol I mean, not a metaphor or allegory or any other figure of speech or form 
of fancy, but an actual and essential part of that, the whole of which it represents’ 
(SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE). 
 
17.  ‘If we insist on periodization, focusing on what we think characterizes the literature 
of this or that age, we will never be able to explain how change occurs’. 
 
18. ‘People also ask: What is the purpose of medieval drama?’ (GOOGLE). 
 
19. ‘If any person or persons ... do maliciously wish, will, or desire, by words or writing, 
or by craft imagine ... any bodily harm to be done or committed to the king’s most 
royal person, the queen’s, or their heirs apparent ... or slanderously and maliciously 
publish and pronounce, by express writing or words, that the king our sovereign lord 
should be heretic, schismatic, tyrant, infidel or usurper of the crown ... They shall be 
adjudged traitors’ (Treason Act, 1534). 
 
 
 
 
Section 2 (Literature in English from 1550 to 1660) 
 
1.  ‘Most gracious Queene (quoth hee) Gentleman I am none, nor the sonne of a Gentleman, 
but a poore Clothier, whose lands are his Loomes, having no other Rents but what I get 
from the backes of little sheepe…Welcome to mee Iacke of Newberie (said the Queene) 
though a Clothier by trade, yet a Gentleman by condition, and a faithfull subject in heart’  
(THOMAS DELONEY). 
 
2. 
A Murderer, yonder, was hung in Chains, 
The Sun and the Wind had shrunk his Veins;    
I bit off a Sinew; I clipp’d his Hair, 
I brought off his Rags, that danc’d i’th’ Air.  
(BEN JONSON)  
 
Discuss literature of the period in relation to ANY of the following: justice; punishment; 
witchcraft and magic. 
 
3.  ‘But the historian, being captived to the truth of a foolish world, is many times a terror 
from well-doing, and an encouragement to unbridled wickedness. For see we not valiant 
Miltiades rot in his fetters? The just Phocion and the accomplished Socrates put to death 
like traitors? The cruel Severus live prosperously?’ (PHILIP SIDNEY).  
 
4.  ‘In publishing this Essay of my Poeme, there is this great disadvantage against me; that it 
commeth out at this time, when Verses are wholly deduc’t to Chambers, and nothing 
esteem’d in this lunatique Age, but what is kept in Cabinets, and must only passe by 
Transcription’ (MICHAEL DRAYTON). 
 
 

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5. 
But I began to rue th’unhappy sight 
Of that faire Boy that had my heart intangled; 
Cursing the Time, the Place, the sense, the sin, 
I came, I saw, I view’d, I slipped in. 
 
 
 
(RICHARD BARNFIELD)  
 
Discuss the representation of same-sex desire in literature of the period. 
 
6.  ‘Heroic poetry, like a living creature in which two natures are joined, is composed of 
imitation and allegory. With the former it entices the minds and the ears of men and 
marvellously delights them; with the latter it instructs them in either virtue or knowledge, 
or in both. Just as epic imitation is never anything other than a similitude and image of 
human action, so allegory in epic poems is customarily a figuring of human life’  
(TORQUATO TASSO). 
 
7.  ‘Our apparell was given as a signe distinctive, to discerne betwixt sexe and sexe, and 
therfore one to weare the apparell of another sexe, is to participate with the same, and to 
adulterate the veritie of his owne kinde. Wherefore these women may not improperly bee 
called Hermaphroditi, that is Monsters of both kindes, halfe women, half men’ 
(PHILIP STUBBES). 
 
8.  ‘This bitter poeme called the old Comedy, being disused and taken away, the new 
Comedy came in place, more civill and pleasant a great deale and not touching any man 
by name, but in a certain generalitie glancing at every abuse’ (GEORGE PUTTENHAM). 
 
9.  VITTORIA:     A foolish idle dream ... 
                                                       ... they vow’d 
 
       To bury me alive. My husband straight 
  
       With pickaxe ’gan to dig, and your fell duchess 
  
       With shovel, like a fury, voided out 
  
       The earth and scatter’d bones: Lord, how methought 
  
        I trembled, and yet for all this terror 
                                I could not pray.  
(JOHN WEBSTER)  
 
Discuss literature of the period in relation to ANY of the following: horror; burial; 
mourning; elegy; prayer. 
 
10.  ‘Shall I apologize for translation? ... Learning cannot be too common, and the commoner 
the better’ (JOHN FLORIO). 
 
11.  ‘That all knowledge was but remembrance; so Solomon giveth his sentence, That all 
novelty is but oblivion. Whereby you may see, that the river of Lethe runneth as well 
above ground as below’ (FRANCIS BACON). 
 
 
 

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12.   
I was admiring mine owne out-side here, 
To thinke what priviledge, and palme it beares  
Here, in the court!   
   (BEN JONSON)  
       
Discuss the political or social culture of the court in any writings of the period. 
 
13. ‘I conceive great hope, that the time approcheth and nowe is, that we of England may 
share and part stakes (if wee will our selves) both with the Spaniarde and the 
Portingale in part of America, and other regions as yet undiscovered’ (RICHARD 
HAKLUYT).    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
14. ‘Language most shows a man: speak that I may see thee. It springs out of the most 
retired, the inmost parts of us, and is the image of the parent of it, the mind. No glass 
renders a man’s form, or likeness, as true as his speech’ (BEN JONSON). 
 
15.  ‘The importance of inventio is most obvious in relation to forensic oratory, in which 
the fate of a client depends on the advocate’s ability to construct a plausible case’ 
(KATRIN ETTENHUBER).  
 
Discuss rhetoric or invention in literature of the period.    
 
16.        He never sought her weakness to reprove  
    
With those sharp words which he of God did hear;  
  
Yet men will boast of knowledge, which he took  
         From Eve’s fair hand, as from a learned book.      
 (AEMILIA LANYER)  
 
17.           Captain or Colonel, or Knight in Arms, 
         Whose chance on these defenceless dores may sease,   
[seize
         If ever deed of honour did thee please, 
         Guard them, and him within protect from harms.     
(JOHN MILTON)                                               
Discuss EITHER changes in particular verse forms OR the relation between form 
and content in any poetry of the period.   
 
18.          See how the Flow’rs, as at Parade
Under their Colours stand displaid: 
Each Regiment in order grows, 
That of the Tulip, Pinke, and Rose.    
(ANDREW MARVELL)  
 
Discuss EITHER the literature of civil war OR the idea of retirement, in any 
writings of the period. 
 
 

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19.  ‘I was at a place where the whole fraternity of the Jews dwelleth together, which is 
called the Ghetto… it is inclosed round about with water. It is thought there are of 
them in all betwixt five and sixe thousand. They are distinguished and discerned from 
the Christians by their habites on their heads’ (THOMAS CORYATE). 
 
Discuss the visible and material negotiation of religious difference in literature of the 
period.  
 
20.   
Like to the Indians, scorched with the sun, 
      
    The sun which they do as their God adore, 
      
    So am I used by love, for ever more 
                I worship him, less favour have I won. 
  
Better are they who thus to blackness run, 
                And so can only whiteness’ want deplore 
                Than I who pale and white am with grief’s store, 
                Nor can have hope, but to see hopes undone.    
(MARY WROTH)  
 
Discuss the representation of race in any writings of the period. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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SECOND PUBLIC EXAMINATION 
 
 
HONOUR SCHOOL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE   
 
COURSE I 
Paper B Literature in English from 1660 to 1830 
 
HONOUR SCHOOL OF ENGLISH AND MODERN LANGUAGES   
Literature in English from 1660 to 1830 
 
 
 

TRINITY TERM 2020 
 
Friday, 22 May 
Opening time 9.30am (BST) 
You have four hours to complete the paper and upload your answer file 
 
 
Answer three questions, including at least one from Section 1 (1660-1760) and at least one 
from Section 2 (1760-1830). All questions are equally weighted. Except where specified, 
themes can be applied to any author or authors of your choice. You should pay careful 
attention in your answers to the precise terms of the quotations and questions. 
 
Candidates should not repeat material across different parts of the examination. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Section 1 (Literature in English from 1660 to 1760) 
 

 
1. 
‘Perhaps I should be hardly believed; at least a severe Critick would be apt to think I 
enlarged a little, as Travellers are often suspected to do’ (JONATHAN SWIFT). 
 
2. 
‘Lofty Language, miraculous Contingencies and impossible Performances, elevate 
and surprize the Reader into a giddy Delight, which leaves him flat upon the Ground 
whenever he gives off, and vexes him to think how he has suffer’d himself to be 
pleased and transported, concern’d and afflicted’ (WILLIAM CONGREVE). 
 
Discuss, in relation to ANY of the following: drama; spectacle; performativity; the 
stage; emotion; the body; reader/audience affect. 
 
3. 
‘For the women of the beau monde “beauty” was not just determined by aesthetic 
ideals. Instead, notions of fashionable beauty were often linked to other aspects such 
as “character”, “breeding” and “air”’ (HANNAH GREIG).  
 
Discuss in relation to ONE OR MORE writers of the period. 
 
4. 
‘Recent scholarship, however, insists on satire not as the forms themselves but as a 
variety of communicative act, an attitude or stance’ (SEAN SILVER). 
 
Do you agree with this account of satire? Explain. 
 
5. 
‘[Richardson’s Harriet in The History of Sir Charles Grandison] follows the maxim of 
Clarissa, of declaring all she thinks to all the people she sees, without reflecting that 
in this mortal state of imperfection, fig-leaves are as necessary for our minds as our 
bodies, and ’tis as indecent to show all we think, as all we have’ (MARY WORTLEY 
MONTAGU). 
 
6. 
‘I by no means pretend to inspiration but yet I affirm, that the faculty in question is by 
no means voluntary. It is the result (I suppose) of a certain disposition of mind, which 
does not depend on one’s self’ (THOMAS GRAY). 
 
7. 
‘Milton firmly believed that the presence of the ineffable in religious discourse poses 
not just a semantic-epistemological problem, but a salvific one’ (NOAM REISNER).    
 
8. 
‘I WAS now in good Circumstances indeed, if I could have known my time for 
leaving off, and my Governess often said I was the richest of the Trade in England
and so I believe I was; for I had 700 l. by me in Money, beside Cloathes, Rings, some 
Plate, and two gold Watches and all of them stol’n, for I had innumerable Jobbs, 
besides these I have mention’d’ (DANIEL DEFOE). 
 
Discuss literature of the period in relation to ANY of the following: crime; class; 
personal experience; truth and fiction; material culture. 
 

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9. 
    
. . . cast your Eyes around the Field, 
And view the Scene its different Beauties yield, 
Then look again with a more tender Eye, 
To think how soon it must in Ruin lie. 
(STEPHEN DUCK) 
 
10. 
‘In praising “nature” above “art”, “invention” above “judgment”, and “poetical fire” 
above “exact disposition”, Pope was indebted not only to the renovation of the 
Longinian sublime, but also to a personal (and increasingly national) preoccupation 
with the emerging landscape movement of English gardening’ (LARRY F. 
NORMAN).  
 
Discuss ANY aspect of this quotation in relation to ONE OR MORE authors of the 
period. 
 
11. 
‘Restoration tragedy in general marks a desperate reactionary attempt after the 
English Civil War to reinscribe feudal, aristocratic, monarchical ideology’ (J. 
DOUGLAS CANFIELD).  
 
12. 
‘The principle whereby what is right and fair and the opposite, wrong and unfair, is 
known, that is, the causes of justice, namely laws and conventions, we have ourselves 
made’ (THOMAS HOBBES). 
 
13. 
‘Therefore, let no man think that he can lead as good a moral life without Faith, as 
with it; for this Reason, Because he who hath no Faith, cannot, by the Strength of his 
own Reason or Endeavours, so easily resist Temptation, as the other who depends on 
God’s assistance in the overcoming his Frailties, and is sure to be rewarded for ever in 
Heaven for his Victory of them’ (JONATHAN SWIFT). 
 
14. 
Horace can laugh, is delicate, is clear; 
You, only coarsely rail, or darkly sneer: 
His Style is elegant, his Diction pure, 
Whilst none thy crabbed Numbers can endure; 
Hard as thy Heart, as thy Birth obscure. 
(MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU) 
 
Discuss literature of the period in relation to ANY of the following:  
development of literary style; literary criticism; imitation; humour; prosody. 
 
15. 
‘Truth like beauty varies its fashion, and is best recommended by different dresses to 
different minds’ (SAMUEL JOHNSON). 
 
Discuss literature of the period in relation to ANY of the following: allegory; fable; 
gender; sexuality; race. 
 
 

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16. 
 ‘I have promised to bring you both to Mrs Bantum’s. I have provided there a trifle of 
a dinner, and excellent music for digestion’ (MARY PIX). 
 
17. 
‘When I speak of an Experimental Philosopher, or Virtuoso; I do not mean, either a 
Libertine, tho’ Ingenious; or a Sensualist, though Curious . . . But one, as by 
attentively looking about him, gathers Experience, not from his own Tryals alone, but 
from divers other matters of fact, which he heedfully observes, though he had no 
share in the effecting them’ (ROBERT BOYLE). 
 
18. 
‘To invent therefore a probability, and to make it wonderfull, is the most difficult 
undertaking in the Art of Poetry: for that which is not wonderfull, is not great, and 
that which is not probable, will not delight a reasonable Audience’ (JOHN 
DRYDEN). 
 
19.  
‘He for God only, she for God in Him’ (JOHN MILTON).  
 
‘A shameful Error to have pass’d through all the Editions. The Author gave it, 
 
 
He for God only. She for God AND Him’ (RICHARD BENTLEY). 
 
Discuss EITHER OR BOTH of the above quotations in relation to ANY of the 
following in literature of the period: gender politics; editing practices; practices of 
rewriting; adaptations; religious politics; scribal culture; authorship. 
 
20. 
‘We enter here upon the episode of the Booksellers: persons, whose names being 
more known and famous in the learned world than those of the Authors in this poem, 
do therefore need less explanation’ (ALEXANDER POPE, The Dunciad Variorum
‘Remarks on Book the Second’). 
 
21.     ‘He divided all those hours which he could borrow from the Business of the  
State, or his own domestick Affairs, between these two Ladies, and for some time 
manag’d the Intrigue with both so well, that neither of them had the least Suspicion 
that she had a Rival in the other’ (ELIZA HAYWOOD, The Secret History of the 
Present Intrigues of the Court of Caramania
). 
 
Discuss in relation to ANY of the following: sex; the novel; amatory fiction; the 
marketplace; spectacle(s); female writers; secret histories; partisan writing; writerly 
and/or readerly communities. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Section 2 (Literature in English from 1760 to 1830) 
 
1. 
‘I am very glad that Mr Mallet has mark’d those Expressions which appear’d 
Scotticisms. You cou’d not do me a greater Pleasure, than to procure me a list of 
them’ (DAVID HUME).   
 
Explore the literary consequences of EITHER the embracing OR the eradication of 
dialect in the literature of the period. 
 
2. 
There is no gift beneath the sky, 
No fairy charm, no siren lure, 
Would tempt me yet again to try 
What love once taught me to endure. 
                   (LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON)  
 
3. 
‘Poetry is not the proper Antithesis to Prose; but to Science’ (SAMUEL TAYLOR 
COLERIDGE).  
 
4. 
O Reader! hast thou ever stood to see 
       The Holly Tree? 
The eye that contemplates it well perceives 
       Its glossy leaves 
Order’d by an intelligence so wise, 
As might confound the Atheist’s sophistries. 
                   
 
(ROBERT SOUTHEY)  
 
5. 
‘Where do the records of history point out a revolution unstained by some actions of 
barbarity? When do the passions of human nature rise to that pitch which produces 
great events, without wandering into some irregularities?’ (HELEN MARIA 
WILLIAMS). 
 
6. 
How small, of all that human hearts endure, 
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure. 
                  
 
(OLIVER GOLDSMITH)  
 
7. 
‘Mystery was his mental element. He lived in the midst of that visionary world in 
which nothing is but what is not. He dreamed with his eyes open, and saw ghosts 
dancing round him at noontide’ (THOMAS LOVE PEACOCK). 
 
8. 
On England’s shore I saw a pensive band, 
With sails unfurled for earth’s remotest strand, 
Like children parting from a mother, shed 
Tears for the home that could not yield them bread. 
                  
 
 
(THOMAS CAMPBELL) 
 

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9. 
‘Books are faithful repositories, which may be a while neglected or forgotten; but 
when they are opened again, will again impart their instruction: memory, once 
interrupted, is not to be recalled’ (SAMUEL JOHNSON). 
 
10. 
Now came the cane from India, smooth and bright 
With Nature’s varnish, sever’d into stripes 
That interlaced each other, these supplied 
Of texture firm a lattice-work, that braced 
The new machine, and it became a chair. 
                
 
 
(WILLIAM COWPER)  
 
11. 
‘Romantic poets did not reject their eighteenth-century precursors out of hand; but 
they did not all find the same things to admire and adopt in the poetry they had 
inherited’.   
 
Discuss, with reference to ONE OR MORE Romantic poets. 
 
12. 
‘The power of prejudice annexed to nomenclature is universal: . . . but in nothing is 
the force of denomination more striking than in the term Novel; a species of writing 
which, though never mentioned, even by its supporter, but with a look that fears 
contempt, is not more rigidly excommunicated, from its appellation, in theory, than 
sought and fostered, from its attractions, in practice’ (FRANCES BURNEY). 
 
13. 
‘The parting of friends is a kind of temporary mourning’ (IGNATIUS SANCHO). 
 
14. 
‘In comparing modern with ancient manners, we are pleased to compliment ourselves 
upon the point of gallantry; . . . I shall begin to believe that there is some such 
principle influencing our conduct, when more than one-half of the drudgery and 
coarse servitude of the world shall cease to be performed by women’ (CHARLES 
LAMB).   
 
Explore the connection between male gallantry and female servitude in the work of 
ONE OR MORE writers of the period. 
 
15. 
Alas! can tranquil nature give me rest, 
    Or scenes of beauty soothe me to repose? 
   
 
(CHARLOTTE SMITH) 
 
16. 
Then farewell Horace; whom I hated so, 
Not for thy faults, but mine. 
(GEORGE GORDON, LORD BYRON)   
 
Discuss the relationship with classical literature in the writings of ANY ONE OR 
MORE authors of the period. 
 
 

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17. 
‘As a wartime phenomenon, British Romanticism gives its distinctive voice to the 
dislocated experience that is modern wartime’ (MARY FAVRET).   
 
How helpful do you find this characterization of Romanticism? 
 
18. 
‘What a noble boon, worthy the giver, is the imagination! it takes from reality its 
leaden hue: it envelopes all thought and sensation in a radiant veil’ (MARY 
SHELLEY).   
 
How do the writers of this period characterize and exploit the imagination? 
 
19. 
‘What but ambiguities, abruptnesses, and dark transitions, can be expected from the 
historian who is, at the same time, the sufferer of these disasters?’ (CHARLES 
BROCKDEN BROWN).   
 
Discuss the formal coherence, or otherwise, of the first-person narrative in ANY ONE 
OR MORE texts of the period. 
 
20. 
‘Oh the horrors of slavery! – How the thought of it pains my heart! But the truth 
ought to be told of it’ (MARY PRINCE).   
 
Discuss the work of ONE OR MORE writers who engage with the ‘horrors of 
slavery’. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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SECOND PUBLIC EXAMINATION 
 
 
HONOUR SCHOOL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE   
 
COURSE II 
 
Paper A Literature in English from 650 to 1100 and from 1350 to 1550 
 
 

 
TRINITY TERM 2020 
 
Monday, 18 May 
Opening time 9.30am (BST) 
You have four hours to complete the paper and upload your answer file 
 
 
Answer three questions, including at least one from Section 1 (650-1100) and at least one 
from Section 2 (1350-1550). All questions are equally weighted. Except where specified, 
themes can be applied to any author or authors of your choice within the periods. You should 
pay careful attention in your answers to the precise terms of the quotations and questions. 
Candidates should not repeat material across different parts of the examination. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Section 1 (Literature in English from 650-1100) 
 
1.  
Ne gefrægn ic freondlicor      feower madmas 
golde gegyrede      gummanna fela 
in ealobence      oðrum gesellan. 
 
 
 
 
 
(Beowulf
[I have not heard of many a man giving more graciously to another four such 
treasures, decked out with gold, at the ale-bench.] 
 
2.  
Godd sceal deman      and gume þæncan; 
þæt is riht gebede      rinca gewylce, 
þæt he þence to þam      ðe he þonne cweðe. 
 
 
 
(Instructions for Christians
[God must judge and man must give thought to that. It is a proper prayer for every 
person that he should give thought to what he might then say.] 
 
3.  
‘Oral poets holding a publicly recognized office are found in medieval Ireland, 
Wales and Scotland, as in medieval Scandinavia. But if such poets existed in Anglo-
Saxon England, they have vanished without a trace. Perhaps they never were’ 
(ROBERTA FRANK). 
 
Discuss the relation between orality and literacy AND/OR the figure of the poet in 
literature of the period.  
 
4.  
‘Ædwen me ag age hyo drihten drihten hine awerie þe me hire ætferie buton hyo me 
selle hire agenes willes’ (Inscription on the Sutton Brooch). 
[Ædwen owns me, may the Lord own her. May the Lord curse him who takes me 
from her, unless she give me of her own free will.] 
 
5.  
‘Þu leornodest onn anum þoðere oðþe on æpple oððe on æge atefred það þu 
meahtest beo þære tefrunge ongytan þises roðores ymbehwirft and þara tungla 
færeld’ (The Old English Soliloquies). 
[You learned on a ball or an apple or a painted egg, so that by that illustration you 
can understand the circuit of the sky and the movement of the stars.] 
 
Discuss teaching and learning AND/OR knowledge in any texts from this period.  
 
6.  
ᛁ Is byþ oferceald,      ungemetum slidor,  
glisnaþ glæshluttur,      gimmum gelicust,  
flor forste geworuht,      fæger ansyne. 
(The Rune Poem
[<Is> Ice is over-cold, immeasurably slippery, glistens glassily, most like gems, a 
floor wrought of frost, a fair aspect.] 
 
 

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7.  
‘The fact that English translations initially filled a perceived lack in Latin learning 
should not blind us to their ultimate importance as cultural artefacts: a concession 
can very quickly become an accomplishment’ (ROBERT STANTON). 
 
8.  
‘Seo ilce burg Babylonia, seo ðe mæst wæs & ærest ealra burga, seo is nu læst & 
westast’ (Old English Orosius). 
[The same city, Babylon, which was the greatest and foremost of cities, is now the 
least and most desolate.] 
 
9.  
‘Cweð þonne ðrie “Crescite in nomine Patris, sit benedicti.” “Amen” and “Pater 
Noster” þriwa’ (Metrical Charm IÆcerbot). 
[Say then thrice: ‘Grow in the name of the father, be blessed.’ ‘Amen’ and ‘Our 
Father’, thrice.] 
 
10.  
‘Quid, quanto crescit, tanto mage curtior extat?’ (BEDE, Riddle 16: ‘Life’). 
[What, however much it grows, is that much shortened?] 
 
11. 
For hwan þu þæt selegescot      þæt ic me swæs on þe 
gehalgode,      hus to wynne, 
þurh firenlustas,      fule synne, 
unsyfre bismite      sylfes willum? 
(Christ III
[Why, through wicked desires, foul sin, did you impiously defile through your own 
will that dwelling place, the house that I, for my own delight, consecrated in you?] 
 
12.  
‘In our attempts to understand the mental world of the Anglo-Saxons, and to 
interpret the literature which they have bequeathed to us, there is one tool of 
interpretation which allows perhaps a surer estimation than any other, and that is 
knowledge of books which the Anglo-Saxons themselves knew and studied’ 
(MICHAEL LAPIDGE). 
 
 
Write on the value of source study AND/OR manuscript context for our appreciation 
of the literature of this period. 
 
13.  
Vale, uale fidissime 
Philochriste carissime, 
Quem in cordis cubiculo 
Cingo amoris uinculo. 
(ÆTHILWALD to his companion Offa, from the Carmina Rhythmica
[Farewell, farewell dearest and most faithful lover of Christ, whom I enclose in the 
chamber of my heart in the bond of love.] 
 
Write on love AND/OR commemoration in literature of the period.  
 
 

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14.  
‘Why should the thought that Ælfric and other early medieval figures might have 
complex or unexpected (from the standpoint of modern assumptions) ideas about 
gender surprise us?’ (RHONDA L. MCDANIEL). 
 
15.  
Forþon bið eorla gehwam      æftercweþendra  
lof lifgendra      lastworda betst,  
þæt he gewyrce,      ær he on weg scyle,  
fremum on foldan      wið feonda niþ,  
deorum dædum      deofle togeanes,  
þæt hine ælda bearn      æfter hergen,  
ond his lof siþþan      lifge mid englum  
awa to ealdre,       ecan lifes blæd,  
dream mid dugeþum.  
(The Seafarer
[Therefore the best memorial for each warrior will be the praise of the living, the 
after-speakers, so that, before he depart on the journey, he bring it about—through 
boldness on earth against the hostility of enemies, through brave deeds against the 
devil—that the sons of man afterwards praise him, and his praise may live ever after 
amongst the angels, the glory of eternal life, joy amongst the company.] 
 
16.  
Monge sindon      geond middangeard 
hadas under heofonum,      þa þe in haligra 
rim arisað.      We þæs ryht magun 
æt æghwylcum      anra gehyran, 
gif we halig bebodu      healdan willað. 
(Guthlac A
[Many are the ranks (of people) throughout the world under heaven that figure in the 
number of the saints. It follows that we can rightly belong to any of them, if we will 
obey the holy commands.] 
 
17.  
‘Ac gif hwylc man ure angin and weorc tæle, swa ic menige wat on Angelcynne mid 
þam fægerum stafum gegylde, fæger and glæwlice gesette, þæt hig þas boc sylf 
settan mihton, ne wite he þonne us, swa we neode and hæse gehyrsumodon and 
word gefyldon’ (The Old English Life of St Guthlac). 
[But if anyone should reproach our undertaking and work, as I know there are many 
amongst the English who themselves could have made this book, gilded with 
beautiful letters, beautifully and wisely made, let him not then blame us, since we 
obeyed compulsion and command and fulfilled an order.] 
 
18. 
‘Wulfstan’s approach is hortatory and topical, and his sermons minimise doctrinal 
and intellectual concerns’ (STANLEY B. GREENFIELD AND DANIEL G. 
CALDER). 
 
Discuss in relation to the Old English homiletic tradition. Your answer need not 
focus specifically on the work of Archbishop Wulfstan.  
 
 

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19.  
‘Sum man wæs gehaten Mercurius on life, se wæs swiðe facenfull and swicol on 
dædum, and lufode eac stala and leasbregdnyssa. Þone macodan þa hæþenan him to 
mæran gode … and he is Oðon gehaten oðrum naman on Denisc’ (ÆLFRIC, De 
Falsis Diis
). 
[There was a man called, in life, Mercury, who was very deceitful and crafty in 
deeds, and also loved theft and cheating. Then the heathens made him into a famous 
god … and he is called by another name Oðinn in Danish.] 
 
Write on inherited legend AND/OR the representation of paganism in literature of 
the period. 
 
20.  
‘On þissum geare næs nan fereld to Rome, buton tuegen hleaperas Elfred cyning 
sende mid gewritum’ (Anglo-Saxon Chronicless.a. 889). 
[In this year there was no journey to Rome; except that King Alfred sent two 
messengers with letters.] 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Section 2 (Literature in English from 1350-1550) 

 
1.  ‘Courtly love was also a device for disciplining women, for restraining those traits 
that provoked anxiety in men, for confining the female sex within a web of carefully 
orchestrated rituals, for drawing woman’s sting by diverting her combativeness to the 
harmless realm of sport’ (GEORGES DUBY).  
 
2.    
‘Youre wordes arn wonderfulle,’ quod I tho. ‘Which of yow is trewest, 
And lelest to leve on for lif and for soule?’   
 
[most trustworthy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Piers Plowman
 
Write about moral uncertainty in any literature of the period. 
 
3.  ‘Thu hast be despysed for my lofe, and therfor thu schalt be worshepyd for my lofe ... 
I have telde the befortyme that thu art a synguler lover, and therfor thu schalt have a 
synguler love in hevyn, a synguler reward, and a synguler worshep’ (The Book of 
Margery Kempe
). 
 
4.    
Thenne sayde the goode Kyng Athelston: 
‘Lat hym to the fyr gon, 
 
 
[ordeal by fire
To preve the trewthe with alle.’ 
 
 
 
 
(Athelston
 
Discuss literature of the period in relation to ANY of the following: law; testing and 
proof; faith and miracles. 
 

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5.  ‘I consider the merchant élite primarily as a political group whose textual activities 
served to regulate behaviour, produce social distinctions and ensure the survival of 
oligarchic rule’ (SHEILA LINDENBAUM). 
 
Can textual activity ever be apolitical? 
 
6.  ‘We wyteth noght wham God loveth most, and wham he hateth most’ (The Book of 
John Mandeville). 
 
7.  ‘The art of the song and that of the book share the same function: the struggle against 
forgetfulness, against the disappearance or evaporation of words over time’ (DANIEL 
POIRION). 
Discuss strategies of commemoration AND/OR the creation of meaning, in any 
literature of the period. 
 
8.  ‘All the categories of this life and the next are fixed, immutable. There are no 
conflicts which deserve to be called tragic’ (ERICH AUERBACH). 
 
9.    
He was ycrouned kynge 
Pur nostre redempcioun. 
 
 
[For our redemption
Whose wol me synge 
Avera grant pardoun.   
 
 
[Will have great pardon
 
 
Her bygynneth the Geste of Kyng Horn. 
Alle heo ben blythe 
That to my song ylythe. 
 
 
[listen
A song Ychulle ou singe 
 
 
[I shall sing to you
Of Allof the gode kynge. 
 
 
(British Library Harley MS 2253, fol. 83r) 
 
Discuss literature of the period in relation to ANY of the following: multilingualism; 
the worldly and the divine; opposition and contrast; manuscript context. 
 
10.   
A hand that taught what might be said in rhyme; 
That reft Chaucer the glory of his wit; 
A mark the which (unperfited, for time) 
Some may approach, but never none shall hit. 
 
(‘Wyatt resteth here’: HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY) 
 
Discuss EITHER literary inheritance and influence OR the importance and effects of 
experiments in versification, in any literature of the period. 
 
11. ‘It is not the suffering or bitterness of life as such that consumes Job, but the misery of 
meaninglessness. The futility of existence has two clear features: the way of life is 
hidden, and the one who hides it is God’ (N. C. HABEL). 
 

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12. ‘Without fantasy, there would be no love’ (LAUREN BERLANT). 
 
13. ‘Our gaze follows the slightest physical detail, it is, as it were, nailed, crucified, and is 
riveted to the hand placed at the center of the composition’ (JULIA KRISTEVA). 
 
Discuss EITHER the relation of spectacle and spectator OR representations of the 
human body, in any literature of the period. 
 
14. ‘“Alas!” seyde kynge Arthure unto sir Gawayne, “ye have nygh slayne me for the 
avow that ye have made [to undertake the Grail Quest], for thorow you ye have 
berauffte me the fayryst and the trewyst of knyghthode that ever was sene togydir in 
ony realme of the worlde”’ (MALORY, Morte Darthur). 
 
15.   
Loo, how schulde I now telle al thys? 
(The House of Fame
 
 
 
Write about the representation of unreality in any literature of the period.  
 
16. ‘By a symbol I mean, not a metaphor or allegory or any other figure of speech or form 
of fancy, but an actual and essential part of that, the whole of which it represents’ 
(SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE). 
 
17.  ‘If we insist on periodization, focusing on what we think characterizes the literature 
of this or that age, we will never be able to explain how change occurs’. 
 
18. ‘People also ask: What is the purpose of medieval drama?’ (GOOGLE). 
 
19. ‘If any person or persons... do maliciously wish, will, or desire, by words or writing, 
or by craft imagine... any bodily harm to be done or committed to the king’s most 
royal person, the queen’s, or their heirs apparent... or slanderously and maliciously 
publish and pronounce, by express writing or words, that the king our sovereign lord 
should be heretic, schismatic, tyrant, infidel or usurper of the crown... They shall be 
adjudged traitors’ (Treason Act, 1534). 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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