The Anglo Saxon Literature Handbook

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-06-04
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
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Anglo-Saxon Literature: An Introduction makes the literature of the Anglo-Saxon period (AD410 - 1066) accessible to today's readers. Author Mark Amodio, who is an authority on oral theory, helps readers to overcome the linguistic, aesthetic and cultural barriers to understanding Anglo-Saxon literature, and to appreciate just how vital and dynamic the surviving works of verse and prose from this period are. Amodio starts by familiarizing readers with the world in which Anglo-Saxon texts were produced, particularly its language, politics, religion, and by introducing the key literary figures of whom we know. He goes on to offer original readings of particular works, including Beowulf, The Battle of Maldon, The Wanderer, The Seafarer and The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and to situate them within current critical debates about the role of women, notions of authorship and textual integrity, the role of scribes, and more.

Author Biography

Mark C. Amodio is Professor in the English Department at Vassar College, where he teaches courses in Old and Middle English language and literature.  His publications inlcude Writing the Oral Tradition: Oral Poetics and Literate Culture in Medieval England (2004)

Table of Contents

Backgrounds and Beginnings This chapter will have an introduction and four sections: Language; Politics and Religion; Material Culture; Key Figures
The introduction will discuss Roman Britain and the transformation of Britain following the Roman withdrawal in the early years of the fifth century
Language: because a sense of Old English is crucial to an appreciation of Anglo-Saxon literature, this section will include a brief description of the language''s chief syntactic and grammatical characteristics
This section will contain illustrative examples of paradigms but it will not be clotted by them: the interested student will be directed to Mitchell and Robinson''s excellent grammar
Other topics to be covered will include the major dialects and poetics
Politics and Religion: Anglo-Saxon kingship, the coming of the Saxons, the Viking invasions and settlement, the Norman Conquest, the coming of Christianity, the establishment and subsequent reform of the Church, the construction (and in some cases destruction) of the great monastic houses
Material Culture: archeology; architecture; artistic achievement; manuscript production and dissemination
2 Key figures: lfric the Homilist thelfld thelred II Alcuin Aldhelm Alfred the Great Asser St. Augustine Bede St. Boniface Byrhtnoth Cdmon Cnut St. Cuthbert Cynewulf St. Dunstan Gildas Pope Gregory the Great Hengest Hild Offa Wrferth Wulfstan 3 Key Readings: Poetry This chapter will cover most of the major and some of the minor poetry extant from the Anglo-Saxon period in an introduction and five sections: Secular Heroic Verse, Christian Heroic Verse, Biblical Verse, Elegiac Verse, and Miscellaneous Religious and Secular Verse
The introduction will discuss in more detail the growth and development of the specialized lexical, rhetorical, and narrative features of the Anglo-Saxon poetic tradition, a tradition that we are coming to see is a truly supple and dynamic one
The introduction will also discuss in more detail the interaction of oral and literate culture in the period
Secular Heroic Verse Beowulf Deor Widsith The Battle of Brunaburh The Battle of Maldon The Battle of Finnsburh
Christian Heroic Verse Andreas Fates of the Apostles Juliana Elene Guthlac
Biblical Verse Christ Genesis Christ and Satan Exodus Daniel Judith The Metrical Psalms
Elegiac Verse The Wife''s Lament The Seafarer The Wanderer The Husband''s Message The Ruin Wulf and Eadwacer
Miscellaneous Religious and Secular Verse The Dream of the Rood The Phoenix Cdmon''s Hymn The Gifts of Men The Fortunes of Men Maxims Soul and Body II Resignation The Exeter Book Riddles Judgment Day I Judgment Day II The Metrical Charms Bede''s Death Song Soul and Body The Rhyming Poem Physiologus Prose This chapter will have an introduction and four sections: Translations, Homilies, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and Prose Fiction and Miscellaneous Prose Works
The introduction will offer a general sketch of the Anglo-Saxon prose tradition and will stress both its uniqueness in the medieval world and the breadth of its accomplishment
The introduction will also touch briefly upon some of the major works of Anglo-Latin literature produced on the island during the period
Translations King Alfred: Gregory the Great''s Pastoral Care, Boethius''s De Consolatione Philosophiae, and Augustine''s Soliloquies Bishop Wrferth: Gregory the Great''s Dialogues The Old English version of Bede''s Historia ecclesiastica
Homilies The Blicking Homilies lfric''s Catholic Homilies and Lives of Saints Wulfstan''s Homilies
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Prose fiction and miscellaneous prose works Apollonius of Tyre, the Wonders of the East, legal and scientific writings 5: Themes and Topics Subjects to be covered in this chapter will include comparative work on Old English and the Germanic world, the role of women, notions of authorship and textual integrity, techniques of editing, textual recovery (via digital and non-digital tec
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