Between Languages: The Uncooperative Text in Early Welsh and Old English Nature Poetry

Between Languages: The Uncooperative Text in Early Welsh and Old English Nature Poetry

by Sarah L. Higley
     
 

Welsh and Old English nature poetry show important similarities in both mood and imagery. However, modern critics have done both a disservice by viewing each too narrowly within what Higley calls the "anglocentric tradition." Study of Old English has suffered from its isolation from the Welsh, in particular from the lessons to be learned from its

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Overview

Welsh and Old English nature poetry show important similarities in both mood and imagery. However, modern critics have done both a disservice by viewing each too narrowly within what Higley calls the "anglocentric tradition." Study of Old English has suffered from its isolation from the Welsh, in particular from the lessons to be learned from its ambiguous, i.e., "uncooperative" qualities. Taking an inclusive approach that extends from phonology to imagery, her book examines poems from both traditions and achieves new and persuasive readings. Between Languages attempts to bring obscure and moving poems into a wider critical orbit, and it offers new translations of The Seafarer, Maxims II, and Wulf and Eadwacer among the English and The Sick Man of Abercuawg, Song of the Old Man, and various gnomic and wisdom poems among the Welsh, including one of the few complete English translations in this century of a vatic poem from The Book of Taliesin.

Welsh and Old English poetry, moreover, have often been described as like or different from each other. Higley breaks this cycle of mutual marginalization with theoretically innovative discussions of each text on its own merits. She joins scholars like Allen Frantzen, Lee Patterson, and Suzanne Fleischmann in pointing out that medievalists have, to their own peril, failed to avail themselves of the subtle resources of postmodern criticism.

Between Languages makes accessible to a modern audience the traditions of Welsh and Old English poetry, which are at once parallel, unique, and mutually informative, and at the same time distinct from poetry since the eighteenth century.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780271008769
Publisher:
Penn State University Press
Publication date:
06/28/1993
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.94(d)
Lexile:
1560L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Acknowledgments
Introduction3
1The Natural Analogy: Difficulties, Gaps, and Irritations15
2Getting Around the Cipher: Translating the Uncooperative Text29
3Metrical and Stylistic Analyses57
4Grappling with the Gnomic: Modern and Medieval Concepts of Image and Connection97
5The Vanishing Point: Deixis and Conjunction119
6The Third Thing: Context as Connection in Gnomic and Nature Poetry149
7Intentional Difficulty in Early Welsh Poetry187
8Clarity and Obscurity in Old English Poetry221
Afterword: Between Worlds251
Appendix: Selected Texts and Translations255
Laments
1The Seafarer256
2The Sick Man (Leper) of Abercuawg263
3The Song of the Old Man268
Gnomes and Nature Poems
4Maxims II271
5Let the Cock's Comb Be Red275
6Keen the Wind278
Enigmas
7Wulf and Eadwacer282
8Angar Kyfyndawt284
Textual Commentary293
Name and Title Index303
Subject Index310

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