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Irish monks and missionaries played a crucial role in the conversion of the pagan Anglo-Saxons and in the formation of Christian culture in England, but the nature and extent of Irish influence on Old English poetry has remained largely undefined. Charles Wright identifies the characteristic features of Irish Christian literature which influenced Anglo-Saxon vernacular authors. Professor Wright traces the Irish background of the distinctive contents of Vercelli Homily IX and its remarkable exemplum, 'The Devil's Account of the Next World', and traces the dissemination of related stylistic and thematic material elsewhere in Old English literature, including other anonymous homilies such as Beowulf and the Solomon and Saturn texts. As a full-length study of Irish influence on Old English religious literature, the book will appeal to scholars in Old English literature, Anglo-Saxon studies, and Old and Middle Irish literature.
Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; 1. Introduction; 2. The 'enumerative style' in Ireland and Anglo-Saxon England; 3. The Visio S. Pauli and the Insular vision of hell; 4. Apocryphal cosmology and Celtic myth in 'The Devil's Account of the Next World'; 5. The literary milieu of Vercelli IX and the Irish tradition in Old English literature; Appendix: Vercelli Homily IX and 'The Devil's Account of the Next World'; Bibliography; Index.