Introduction to Old English is the leading text available designed to help students engage with Old English literary and historical texts for the first time. This new edition builds on the success of the original and includes an expanded anthology and new, easy-to-use glossary. The book's rich pedagogy includes basic grammar reviews at the beginning of each major chapter, covering the foundations of Old English. Other features include "minitexts" for practice in reading the language, and a detailed introduction to meter and style that, cases the transition from prose to poetry. The original anthology of 14 readings has also been expanded to include four new texts: Aefric's Sermon on the Book of Job; The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry (1087) on William the Conqueror; The Voyages of Ohthere and Wulfstan from the Old English Orosius; and The Battle of Maldon. Introduction to Old English is an essential text for all students encountering the field for the first time.
About the Author:
Peter S. Baker is Professor of Medieval Literature at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Baker (medieval literature, Univ. of Virginia, Charlottesville; Beowulf: Basic Readings) here provides an excellent introduction to the study of Old English that assumes no knowledge of the traditional grammar. An initial chapter on the Anglo-Saxons and their language is followed by a chapter each on pronunciation and basic grammar; more detailed chapters then treat case, pronouns, nouns, verbs, adjectives, numerals, adverbs, poetic style, paleography, and more. Appendixes deal with spelling variants and phonetic symbols and terms. An anthology of 14 Old English pieces (e.g., The Wanderer, The Dream of the Rood, and Judith), a glossary, references, and suggestions for further reading complete the volume. Although textbookish in design, the book is surprisingly accessible and formatted for ease of use (e.g., most of the chapters begin with a "quick start" of basic principles, followed by more detailed information). In addition, the book is complemented by a practical web site (www.engl.virginia.edu/OE/OEA/), which provides a plethora of exercises and supplementary readings. Although intended mostly for graduate students with "literary or historical rather than linguistic" interests, the book is also accessible to the well-educated reader. Highly recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Carolyn M. Craft, Longwood Univ., Farmville, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“Enhanced with new anthology readings, common spelling variants, phonetic symbols and terms, a glossary, references, and a comprehensive index, "Introduction To Old English" is an ideal student textbook and highly recommended addition to academic library instructional reference collections.” (Midwest Book Review, 1 May 2012)
"Excellent introduction designed to provide reading knowledge ... He [Baker] constructs the book to encourage beginning students to start translating almost immediately" (The Medieval Review, June 2008)
"The fruit of years of sensitive, thoughtful and student-responsive teaching. [...] this work is a huge step forward in imaginative course design. It is accessible in manner and genuinely tries to address the needs of the modern student and teacher, taking them through a course step by step. [...] by far the best attempt yet to introduce Old English, and I enthusiastically recommend it to members." (TOEBI Newsletter)
"Peter Baker's excellent new book, a combined grammar and reader, deserves to find a central place in the university teaching of Old English. It is unabashedly designed to be accessible to absolute beginners, but students who progress attentively through the whole book will in fact find themselves in command of a great deal of what makes Old English language and literature tick. [...] These chapters [on 'Metre', 'Poetic Style', 'The Grammar of Poetry', and 'Reading Old English Manuscripts'] constitute the real novelty of the book in their lucid summation of some essential truths that have rarely if ever been to clearly set out for beginners; the sections on poetry in particular deserve to be read by all students beginning the translation of Old English for the first time." (Notes and Queries)
"The new edition is a solid tool that both an independent student and a classroom full of students will find useful. The book's approach is balanced. It includes just the right amount of explanatory text ... while also offering ... grammar tools and exercises. The selection of readings is varied and exemplary. Much thought was put into the choice, quantity, and order of the other texts in the anthology. I would certainly recommend this book for an introductory course in Old English.... Baker's new edition is a pleasure to read and would be a pleasure to use in the classroom." (Comitatus)
Peter S. Baker is Professor of English, specializing in medieval literature and the history of the English language, at the University of Virginia. His previous books include editions of Byrhthferth’s Enchiridion (with Michael Lapidge, 1995) and The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition.