Anglo-Saxon Appetites: Food and Drink and Their Consumption in Old English and Related Literature

Overview

In evoking the world of the Germanic hall, Old English poetry is rich in references to feasting, but such references concentrate particularly on drinking, while ignoring food altogether. This question of the ignoring of food provides the starting point for this book, raising also a number of related issues which are explored in the book, including that of the significance of drinking in the poetry; attitudes to food in Anglo-Saxon culture; and the place of food and drink in early medieval Christian teaching. ...
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Overview

In evoking the world of the Germanic hall, Old English poetry is rich in references to feasting, but such references concentrate particularly on drinking, while ignoring food altogether. This question of the ignoring of food provides the starting point for this book, raising also a number of related issues which are explored in the book, including that of the significance of drinking in the poetry; attitudes to food in Anglo-Saxon culture; and the place of food and drink in early medieval Christian teaching. Connected to attitudes to food is the whole concept of eating, which at a basic level belongs to the realm of what has been called the 'material body' and which in Old English poetry is mostly associated with animals and grotesque figures.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781851823826
  • Publisher: Four Courts Press
  • Publication date: 11/19/1998
  • Pages: 208

Table of Contents

Preface 7
List of Abbreviations 9
Introduction 11
1 Food, Drink and Feast in Anglo-Saxon and Germanic Literary Tradition 17
The central place of drinking in Germanic feasts 21
Absence of references to food 28
Anglo-Saxon prose texts 34
Attitudes to food 36
Waltharius 45
2 Eating and Eaters 51
Images of eating in Beowulf 54
Anxieties about eating 59
Imagery of wild animals 66
Etan and fretan 74
Grendel 78
3 Poetry and Prose of Christian Teaching 85
The Seasons for Fasting 85
'Be oferfylle' ['concerning gluttony']: eating and drinking in Christian tradition 92
'Be druncennysse' ['concerning drunkenness'] 103
'Wine that maketh glad the heart of man' (Ps. CIII. 15): scenes of the enjoyment of wine and feasting 110
'Soul and body' and related homiletic literature 120
4 Metaphorical and Spiritual Applications 129
Bitter drinks 130
The exegesis of inebriation: treading carefully in Old English 137
Comfort food: physical and spiritual sustenance in Andreas 143
Good food and evil food and the language of sustenance 151
Andreas and the Old English prose Life of St Andrew 155
The spiritual food of the eucharist and of divine teaching 159
Bibliography 171
Index 189
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