The Textuality of Old English Poetry

Overview

This study theorizes how Old English poetry functioned for readers of tenth-century manuscripts. Coupling the rigour of formalist analysis with the innovations of post-structuralist concepts, Professor Pasternack maps the codes and conventions that guided readers in their construction of poems. She defines the verse as 'inscribed', situated between oral and written discourse. Altering our vision of individual poems, which to date has been based on modern printed editions, she coins the terms 'movement' and 'verse...
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Overview

This study theorizes how Old English poetry functioned for readers of tenth-century manuscripts. Coupling the rigour of formalist analysis with the innovations of post-structuralist concepts, Professor Pasternack maps the codes and conventions that guided readers in their construction of poems. She defines the verse as 'inscribed', situated between oral and written discourse. Altering our vision of individual poems, which to date has been based on modern printed editions, she coins the terms 'movement' and 'verse sequence' to reconceptualize the poetry according to its presentation in manuscripts, which does not separate poems decisively. Using the concept of intertextuality, she establishes the idea of an 'implied tradition' which, rather than the 'implied author', functioned as the source of a text's authority. Pasternack thus revises the entire basis for long-standing debates concerning the unity and authority of Old English poems.
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Editorial Reviews

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"...a significant contribution to the theoretical discussion about the nature of Old English texts. Complexity and detail of argument make it most suitable for graduate students, researches, and faculty with good knowledge of Old English." Choice

"In addition to its impressively thorough analyses of Old English verbal and syntactic patterns, however, The Textuality of Old English Poetry not only suggests ways that scholars can productively use contemporary critical theory to enrich our understanding of Anglo-Saxon literature; it also points to ways that Anglo-Saxon literature can shape our ideas about such supposedly contemporary issues as authorship, textuality, and subjectivity." Envoi

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of plates
Acknowledgements
List of abbreviations
1 The textuality of Old English poetry 1
2 The polyphony of The Wanderer 33
3 Rhythm, repetition and traditional expression 60
4 The designs of syntax, modes of thought, and the author question 90
5 Borders and time 120
6 Conditions of coherence 147
Bibliography 201
Index 207
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