A History of Old English Literature / Edition 1

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A History of Old English Literature has been significantly revised to provide an unequivocal response to the renewed historicism in medieval studies. Focusing on the production and reception of Old English texts and on their relation to Anglo-Saxon history and culture, this new edition covers an exceptionally broad array of genres. These range from riddles and cryptograms to allegory, liturgical texts, and romance, as well as lyric poetry and heroic legend. The authors also integrate discussions of Anglo-Latin texts, crucial to understanding the development of Old English literature.

The second edition incorporates extensive reference to scholarship that has evolved over the past decade, with new chapters on both Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and on incidental and marginal texts. There is expanded treatment throughout, including increased coverage of legal texts and scientific and scholastic texts. The book concludes with a retrospective outline of the reception of Anglo-Saxon literature and culture in subsequent periods.

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Editorial Reviews

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"A new generation of students and their professors will undoubtedly apprecite the currency of what has proven to be a widely respected, comprehensive historical treatment of Old English literature." (Choice, 1 December 2013)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405121811
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/29/2004
  • Series: Blackwell History of Literature Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 1,074,846
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Chronological Table
1 Perspectives 1
What has Survived 1
Songs and Scribes 4
The End of Heathenism 6
The Languages of Britain 9
2 England 449-1066: A Sketch 17
Old English 19
Conquest 21
Conversion 22
Sutton Hoo and Warrior Society 26
Conversion and Accommodation 31
Bede's Northumbria 35
Theodore and a Learned Church 41
Wessex 46
The Benedictine Revival 47
3 Heroic Poetry Including Beowulf 51
The Heroic Ethos 51
Germanic Heroic Poetry 56
Versification 62
Poetic Diction 63
Formulaic Composition 65
The Uses of Poetry 70
Beowulf 76
4 The World's Wonder: Riddles 91
Riddles 96
Verse Wisdom 108
5 Bede and Caedmon 115
The Ecclesiastical History 120
Caedmon 126
6 The Poetic Elegies 139
Wanderer and Seafarer 140
Other Elegies 155
7 Alfred and Old English Prose 165
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 172
Books Most Needful 180
8 Verse of the Christian Establishment 193
Saints' Lives: Andreas 198
Elene 203
Christ 208
The Dream of the Road 216
9 The Benedictine Revival 229
Aelfric's Colloquy 237
Aelfric's Homilies 245
Wulfstan 252
Verse of the Tenth Century 255
The Battle of Maldon 263
10 Afterwards 273
Old and Middle 274
Late Prose 279
App A Note on Deor 285
Notes on the Plates 287
Bibliography and Further Reading 293
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