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A History of Old English Literature

ISBN: 978-0-470-69283-7
360 pages
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
A History of Old English Literature (0470692839) cover image
This timely introduction to Old English literature focuses on the production and reception of Old English texts, and on their relation to Anglo-Saxon history and culture.



  • Introduces Old English texts and considers their relation to Anglo-Saxon culture.

  • Responds to renewed emphasis on historical and cultural contexts in the field of medieval studies.

  • Treats virtually the entire range of textual types preserved in Old English.

  • Considers the production, reception and uses of Old English texts.

  • Integrates the Anglo-Latin backgrounds crucial to understanding Old English literature.

  • Offers very extensive bibliographical guidance.

  • Demonstrates that Anglo-Saxon studies is uniquely placed to contribute to current literary debates.
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List of Illustrations.

Preface.

Introduction: Anglo-Saxon England and Its Literature: A Social History.

1. The Chronology and Varieties of Old English Literature.

2. Literature of the Alfredian Period.

3. Homilies.

4. Saints' Legends, by Rachel S. Anderson.

5. Biblical Literature.

6. Liturgical and Devotion Texts.

7. egal, Scientific, and Scholastic Works.

8. Wisdom Literature and Lyric Poetry.

9. Germanic Legend and Heroic Lay.

Conclusion. Making Old English New: Anglo-Saxonism and the Cultural.

Work of Old English Literature.

Notes.

Works Cited.

Index.

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R. D. Fulk is Class of 1964 Chancellor’s Professor of English at Indiana University. He is the editor of Interpretations of Beowulf: A Critical Anthology (1991), author of A History of Old English Meter (1992), co-editor of Eight Old English Poems (third edition, 2001), and co-editor of the fourth edition of F. Klaeber’s Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg (forthcoming).

Christopher M. Cain and Rachel S. Anderson are doctoral candidates completing their dissertations at Indiana University.

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  • Introduces Old English texts and considers their relation to Anglo-Saxon culture.

  • Responds to renewed emphasis on historical and cultural contexts in the field of medieval studies.

  • Treats virtually the entire range of textual types preserved in Old English.

  • Considers the production, reception and uses of Old English texts.

  • Integrates the Anglo-Latin backgrounds crucial to understanding Old English literature.

  • Offers very extensive bibliographical guidance.

  • Demonstrates that Anglo-Saxon studies is uniquely placed to contribute to current literary debates.
See More
"Now the oldest English texts have a literary history for the twenty-first century. One of the chief virtues of A History of Old English Literature is the rich elaboration of contexts, extending from the manuscripts to the literary and intellectual world of Anglo-Saxon England, to the early modern criticism, and to the most recent critical reception." Professor Daniel Donoghue, Harvard University

"This volume represents the renewed historicism in Old English studies and admirably supplements previous literary histories [...] Essential for undergraduate and graduate libraries." Choice

"The need for a comprehensive introductory survey of literature in Old English seems obvious, but none has been attempted since Greenfield’s and Calder’s A New Critical History of Old English Literature (1986). That volume had many imperfections, including a heavy bias towards poetry, and it is good to see that Fulk and Cain acknowledge the importance of prose and tackle it with enthusiasm. … There are plenty of things to admire in this book: excellent accounts of such relatively neglected texts as the Old English Pastoral Care and Boethius, for instance, and a rejection of the tired ‘elegy’ label whose use undermines so much criticism of the shorter poems. … this is a lively , accurate and practical introduction to the literature for students, which will provide valuable ‘refresher’ material (including biographical references) for teachers, too.” TOEBI

"It provides an excellent overview of the area … It admirably achieves the goals of an ‘history’, particularly aimed at the student market, and has much to recommend it."
Literature & History

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