Monday, December 14, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Most of you need no introduction to the splendid work of the Dictionary of Old English and its importance to the work of Anglo-Saxonists worldwide. I am writing on behalf of the Dictionary to enlist your aid.

At the end of 2013, the DOE was awarded a five-year, $500,000 Challenge Grant from the Triangle Family Foundation of Raleigh, North Carolina. To release each annual installment of the grant, the Dictionary must secure new matching funds from other sources. So far two $100,000 installments have been matched and released, but the editorial team is concerned that it will not meet its target to match the third installment by April 1, 2016. In this time of urgency, they have asked me to reach out to people who might be able to support this worthy project.

Such matching means that what you donate now will have maximum impact. Every dollar you give will provide two dollars to the Dictionary; every pound, euro, or yen will be a double gift. Your donation will ensure that the work of the Dictionary continues.

This is a particularly exciting time for the project. The current editorial team -- co-editors Stephen Pelle and Robert Getz and Drafting Editor Val Pakis -- are readying H for publication. This is a large and complex set of entries, many years in the making, and its publication will mark a significant step towards completion of the Dictionary. With the publication of H, the DOE will also make public some significant improvements of its user interface and search functions, as well as the latest updated version of the Corpus of Old English and a fully updated set of entries for A-G. DOE entries are now reciprocally linked to the OED, the MED, and the Corpus of Narrative Etymologies project at the University of Edinburgh. In addition, a number of thumbnail images from Parker on the Web are included to help clarify problematic citations. In these and other ways, the DOE continues to expand its role as a pioneer in the field of digital lexicography and an indispensable resource for scholars in our field.

Your support in the past has done the project an enormous amount of good with granting agencies and foundations and within the University of Toronto itself. You have demonstrated by your generosity that you, who are best able to judge the worth of the DOE because you use it in your research, value it highly. And so we turn to you again. Please help support this important project by giving as generously as you can. Donations can be made online; simply visit 

and fill in the box for ‘Dictionary of Old English’. Donations by check (made out to ‘DOE/University of Toronto’) or credit card can also be sent by mail; a convenient donation form can be downloaded from 

and sent to

Dictionary of Old English
Room 14285, Robarts Library
130 St. George Street
Toronto, ON M5S 3H1

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Tolkien Class

So this is the summer class on Tolkien I'm teaching.  I hope.  Ulp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                               Bemidji State University
Middle Earth Studies

Faculty: Larry Swain
Office:  HS 333                                                                        email:                                                                Mailbox:  HS 23

Course Description:  J. R. R. Tolkien has been called Author of the Century by one scholar.  Certainly his hobbits have fascinated and captivated millions of readers.  In this course we aim to go beyond a typical reading course and explore the myth making, the medieval template, and related issues in Tolkien’s constructed universe.

Student Learning Outcomes: 
Upon satisfactory completion of the course, students will be able to:
·                    analyze works of literature
·                    compare and contrast the issues of literature with modern life
·                    evaluate interpretations of texts
·                    learn to do close reading as well as historical-critical reading of literary works
·                    to improve and hone analytical thinking skills
·                    have some fun!

Instructor Objectives:
This is a collaborative effort.  As your instructor, I too expect to learn from you in this course:
·        To gain a deeper appreciation of the processes of thinking, reading, writing and researching.
·        To improve my teaching skills and find better methods of communicating to students the processes of thinking, reading and writing
·        To communicate my appreciation of literature to my students
·        To have some fun!

Text and Materials:
Road to Middle Earth Tom Shippey
Splintered Light Verlyn Flieger
Tolkien and the Invention of Myth Jane Chance, ed.
Other Materials as Assigned

Academic Honesty
All work composed for this class must be written exclusively for this class and be your original work. You may receive assistance on your writing, but submitting someone else’s work as your own or failing to acknowledge sources appropriately will be grounds for plagiarism. Evidence of plagiarism will result in failure.   If you have any questions regarding this policy, however, it is your responsibility to see me immediately.

From our Disabilities Office Director:
“I would like to make sure that all the materials, discussions and activities that are part of the course are accessible to you.  If you would like to request accommodations or other services, please contact me as soon as possible.  It is also possible to contact Disability Services, Sanford Hall, 201.  Phone: 218/755-3883 or E-mail address  Also available through the Minnesota Relay Service at 1-800-627-3529.” 
Discussion-Discussion is a must in this course.  There will be plenty of fodder on the discussion board, room for questions and explorations.  25% of the grade.

Research Paper: 25% of the grade

2 Individual Presentations ,  25% total
Final: 25% of the total


June 2: Mythology for England: Letter 131, Chance book, Introduction and first essay, and essay 13
June 3-4: Discussion questions on readings
June 5: Tolkien the Medievalist:  Language Shippey 1-2, Chance, Essay 4; Auden
June 6: Discussion Questions on Readings

June 8: Discussion Questions cont. Lecture: The Languages of Middle Earth and the Middle Ages Reading TBA
June 9: Lecture on Tolkien, Linguistic Jokes and the Jokester/Accidental Etymologies?
June 10: Discussion Questions
June 11: Tolkien’s Beowulf:  Monsters and the Critics  (Rec. Shippey 6 Chance 3
June 12: Discussion Questions
June 13: Tolkien’s Beowulf: Chance book, 14 and 15

June 16: Tolkien’s Beowulf: Template for LoTR?
June 17: Cartography and Geography in LoTR: Shippy ch. 4; T-Maps Lecture;
June 18: Presentation 1 posted
June 19:  Interlace: West article, Miller article (Lobdell); Shippey ch. 5
June 20: Discussion Stuff and Things

June 23: Middle Earth Story Telling  Lecture, Readings: Chance 12/ TBA
June 24: Discussion Questions
June 25: Middle Earth Book Culture and the Middle Ages: Runes, Books, Libraries Lecture
June 27: Discussion Questions

June 29: Middle Earth Calendrics and the Middle Ages Lecture Reading TBA
July 1: Orcs, ents, trolls, and the monsters of Middle Earth  Lecture Reading TBpA
July 2: Discussion Questions
July 3-4, Holiday!!

July 6: Poetry and Prose: Sagas. Readings TBA
July 7: Flieger chap. 1 and discussion board
July 9: On Fairy Stories and Discussion
July 10: Flieger 2-3

July 13: Flieger 4-6
July 14: Discussion
July 15: Flieger 7-8
July 16: Presentation 2 Posted
July 17: Flieger 9-10 and Discussoin

July 20: Flieger 11-13
July 21: Discussion
July 22: Flieger 14-16
July 23: Discussion
July 24: Flieger 17-18

July 27: Flieger 19-Afterward

July 28: Discussion

July 30: Shippey ch. 7, Chance 7

July 31: Shippey 8-end

AUG 1: Paper Due, Take online exam.

Friday, March 13, 2015

ENGL 4183 Intensive Latin Online 2015
Dr. Larry Swain 
Bemidji State University 

 Course Description: This course is an intensive introduction to Latin, covering in nine weeks a full academic year’s worth of the language. This will require a lot of work and dedication on the part of both instructor and student. By the end, however, the student should be able to read Latin prose with the aid of a grammar and a good dictionary or lexicon. There will be a great deal of memorization. Via our online tools, discussion board, online office hours, recorded lectures, live lectures, exercise sharing and corrections, and Q&A sessions delivered via D2L, power point presentations, and other tools, we will go through the entire text and master basic Latin. The course will require a commitment from the student. A MINIMUM of 2 hours and preferably 4-6 hours a day will need to be spent working on the exercises, in class, interacting with the professor etc. Because delivery is online rather than in a traditional classroom, the need for each individual student to apply him- or herself diligently daily is even more important than in a face-to-face class.  We will meet virtually in an online classroom for each lesson to explain the grammar lesson, to do some in class exercises, to correct exercises, and so on, for approximately an hour, more if necessary or if student interest. The rest of your time will be spent working on exercises, translating sample passages of actual Latin, memorizing the forms. 

Texts: Intensive Latin by Floyd Moreland and Rita Fleischer 
Other materials as assigned
(I will have advice about students’ dictionaries, additional grammar aids in print and online and so on as well throughout the course). 
Highly Recommended: English Grammar for Students of Latin: The Study Guide for Those Learning Latin by Norma Goldman and Ladislas Szymanski 

This course is six credits; I think a full year of Latin deserves a full year of credit.  The above URL at the top is the Center for Extended Learning Admissions website.  This URL is for the tuition calculator: