Tradition and Influence in Anglo-Saxon Literature: An Evolutionary, Cognitivist Approach

Overview

Connecting the theory of tradition with the phenomenon of influence, Michael Drout moves beyond current theories and extends his own work from How Tradition Works. This forward-looking study introduces a new methodology - lexomics, the use of computer-aided statistical analysis to identify influence - and integrates research from cognitive psychology and evolutionary biology with traditional, philological approaches to literature, specifically the Anglo-Saxon poems of second codicological booklet of the Exeter ...

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Tradition and Influence in Anglo-Saxon Literature: An Evolutionary, Cognitivist Approach

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Overview

Connecting the theory of tradition with the phenomenon of influence, Michael Drout moves beyond current theories and extends his own work from How Tradition Works. This forward-looking study introduces a new methodology - lexomics, the use of computer-aided statistical analysis to identify influence - and integrates research from cognitive psychology and evolutionary biology with traditional, philological approaches to literature, specifically the Anglo-Saxon poems of second codicological booklet of the Exeter Book. An example of hard interdisciplinarity, Tradition and Influence contributes to Anglo-Saxon studies, oral tradition, evolutionary epistemology, and cultural theory.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Tradition and Influence in Anglo-Saxon Literature is not only a stunning comprehensive study of Anglo-Saxon poems and their generic significance, but it is also a pioneering work that investigates the evolutionary manner in which genres develop and are disseminated. Indeed, Drout's lucid theoretical observations have great relevance for scholars in all fields of literature and the arts interested in understanding how traditions of reception are formed and maintained." - Jack Zipes, Professor Emeritus of German, Scandinavian and Dutch, University of Minnesota, USA

"Centuries of scholarship have left Anglo-Saxon literature, and in particular Anglo-Saxon poetry, rather like Sleeping Beauty: fascinating, alluring, unique, but surrounded by a tangled and thorny bank of doubts and non-conclusions. Drout's new book, and the new techniques which it demonstrates, now appear as the potential prince with the enchanted sword, to hack us into the clear. Densely theoretical, yet written in commendably plain English, Tradition and Influence is a book which will change the current of literary studies, and not only for Anglo-Saxon." - Tom Shippey, Professor Emeritus of English, Saint Louis University, USA

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137325808
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 7/18/2013
  • Pages: 308
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael D.C. Drout is Professor of English and Director of the Center for the Study of the Medieval at Wheaton College, USA, where he teaches courses on Old and Middle English, Old Norse, and fantasy literature. He is the author of How Tradition Works: A Meme-Based Cultural Poetics of the Anglo-Saxon Tenth Century. His edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's Beowulf and the Critics won the Mythopoeic Society's scholarship award in 2003.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Influence and Tradition
1. A Theory of Influence
2. Influence and its Detection with Lexomic Analysis
3. Cultural Selection Pressure: Mnemonic and Cognitive Aesthetics
4. Adaptive Landscapes, Cognitive Prototypes, and Genre
5. Application of the Theory: Genre and Adaptive Radiation in Poems of the Exeter Book
6. Authorship, Authors, and The Anxiety of Influence
7. How Authorship Works: The Anxiety of Influence Explained by Memetics
Conclusion: This View of Culture

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