Weaving Words and Binding Bodies: The Poetics of Human Experience in Old English Literature

Weaving Words and Binding Bodies: The Poetics of Human Experience in Old English Literature

by Megan Cavell

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References to weaving and binding are ubiquitous in Anglo-Saxon literature. Several hundred instances of such imagery occur in the poetic corpus, invoked in connection with objects, people, elemental forces, and complex abstract concepts.

Weaving Words and Binding Bodies presents the first comprehensive study of weaving and binding imagery through intertextual analysis and close readings of Beowulf, riddles, the poetry of Cynewulf, and other key texts. Megan Cavell highlights the prominent use of weaving and binding in previously unrecognized formulas, collocations, and type-scenes, shedding light on important tropes such as the lord-retainer “bond” and the gendered role of “peace-weaving” in Anglo-Saxon society. Through the analysis of metrical, rhetorical, and linguistic features and canonical and neglected texts in a wide range of genres, Weaving Words and Binding Bodies makes an important contribution to the ongoing study of Anglo-Saxon poetics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442624900
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 05/06/2016
Series: Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Megan Cavell is a Junior Research Fellow in the Department of English Studies at Durham University.

Table of Contents

Construction and Constriction: Introducing Human Experience in Old English Poetry

Part I – Webs and Rings: Experiencing Objects

Chapter 1: The Material Context of Weaving

Chapter 2: The Woven Mail-Coat

Chapter 3: The Material Context of Structural Binding

Part II – Ties and Chains: Experiencing Bondage 

Chapter 4: Binding in Nature

Chapter 5: Imprisonment and Hell

Chapter 6: Slavery and Servitude

Part III – Patterns and Nets: Experiencing the Internal and the Abstract

Chapter 7: The Body and Mind

Chapter 8: Language and Knowledge

Chapter 9: Creation, Magic and Fate

Chapter 10: Peace

Weaving and Binding: Conclusions on Human Experience and World View

What People are Saying About This

Miranda Wilcox

"A fascinating examination of the interrelated images of weaving and binding in Old English verse, Weaving Words and Binding Bodies reveals an Anglo-Saxon cultural preoccupation with the conceptual nexus of construction and constriction."

Mercedes Salvador-Bello

"Weaving Words and Binding Bodies is a brilliant, thoroughgoing study of weaving and binding in Anglo-Saxon poems, together with an analysis of related material culture, medieval technology, and concepts such as slavery and servitude."

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