Anglo-Saxon Audiences

Anglo-Saxon Audiences

by Eugene Green
     
 

Is it possible to enter the minds of medieval people? Anglo-Saxon Audiences explores this question through the use of modern approaches in textual analysis, including techniques of functional grammar, speech act analysis, and semiotics. This book reveals how kings, councillors, and homilists tried to engage and to direct the minds of Anglo-Saxon communicants

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Overview

Is it possible to enter the minds of medieval people? Anglo-Saxon Audiences explores this question through the use of modern approaches in textual analysis, including techniques of functional grammar, speech act analysis, and semiotics. This book reveals how kings, councillors, and homilists tried to engage and to direct the minds of Anglo-Saxon communicants, and how poets invited their audiences to consider the minds of others as well as their own. This book focuses on legal codes promulgated from the ninth to the eleventh centuries, the homilies of Ælfric and Wulfstan, Beowulf, The Battle of Maldon, Deor, and two elegies. Its unifying theme is that Anglo-Saxon audiences welcomed texts focused on future time, a perspective that challenged them to reflect on diverse patterns of thought.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
«Eugene Green’s book approaches the classic problem of Anglo-Saxon alterity with a provocative combination of contemporary semantic theory and rhetorical analysis. The result is a judicious set of readings that draw on the entire surviving canon of Old English literature in a sequence that runs from the past as presented in the vernacular legal codes, to visions of the future outlined in ‘Beowulf’, ‘The Battle of Maldon’, ‘The Seafarer’, and ‘The Wanderer’. Whether drawing attention to the presuppositions of Alfred’s 'aeghwelc mon' or the audiences to which the five principal homily collections give shape, Green’s semiotic orientation provides a new direction for thinking about these familiar texts.» (Mary Blockley, University of Texas at Austin)
«In ‘Anglo-Saxon Audiences’, Eugene Green asks how Anglo-Saxon texts inform Anglo-Saxon culture after the time of the Viking raids, a period of great political and social upheaval. Through a broad pragmatic linguistic analysis of Old English poetry, law codes, and homilies, he discovers an audience as resistant as it is receptive to the social directives these texts impose. Interpreting Old English texts as discursive acts, Green demonstrates the productivity of an historical-pragmatic approach to Old English literature.» (Leslie K. Arnovick, The University of British Columbia)
Booknews
A specialist in Anglo-Saxon literature, Green (English, Boston U.) applies 20th-century methods of analysis to recapture modes of interpretation among Anglo Saxons in the preconquest centuries. He argues that they knew well how language works, and used it to try to persuade sometimes contentious audiences that were sharp in mind and characteristically stubborn. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820445502
Publisher:
Lang, Peter Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
09/04/2001
Series:
Berkeley Insights in Linguistics and Semiotics Series, #44
Pages:
235
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

The Author: Eugene Green is Professor of English at Boston University. This book is the result of more than a decade’s work that includes talks at the Modern Language Association and at the Medieval Academy, that appear in several essays. He has published on a right to a name in Beowulf and on a grammar of elicitation for the homilies of Ælfric and Wulfstan. He has published semiotic analyses of Anglo-Saxon legal codes and Old English riddles.

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