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A Guide to Old English, 8th Edition

ISBN: 978-1-119-95027-1
448 pages
December 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
A Guide to Old English, 8th Edition (1119950279) cover image
A comprehensive introduction to Old English, combining simple, clear philology with the best literary works to provide a compelling and accessible beginners’ guide.

  • Provides a comprehensive introduction to Old English
  • Uses a practical approach suited to the needs of the beginning student
  • Features selections from the greatest works of Old English literature, organized from simple to more challenging texts to keep pace with the reader
  • Includes a discussion of Anglo-Saxon literature, history, and culture, and a bibliography directing readers to useful publications on the subject
  • Updated throughout with new material including the first 25 lines from Beowulf with detailed annotation and an explanation of Grimm’s and Verner’s laws
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Foreword to the Eighth Edition vi

Map of Anglo-Saxon England vii

Abbreviations and Symbols xv

How to Use this Guide 1

PART ONE.

1 Preliminary Remarks on the Language (§§1–4) 11

2 Orthography and Pronunciation (§§5–9) 13

i Orthography (§5) 13

ii Stress (§6) 13

iii Vowels (§7) 14

iv Diphthongs (§8) 14

v Consonants (§9) 15

3 Inflexions (§§10–135) 17

Introduction (§§10–14) 17

i Pronouns (§§15–21) 18

ii Nouns and Sound-Changes Relevant to Them (§§22–62) 20

Weak Nouns (§§22–25) 20

Some Technical Terms (§§26–32) 20

Strong Nouns like stan (masc.) and scip (neut.) (§§33–44) 22

Masculine and Neuter Nouns in -e (§§45–46) 26

Strong Feminine Nouns (§§47–51) 27

i-Mutation (§§52–57) 28

Nouns Affected by i-Mutation (§§58–60) 29

u-Nouns (§§61–62) 30

iii Adjectives (§§63–76) 31

Introduction (§§63–64) 31

Weak Declension (§65) 31

Strong Declension (§§66–67) 31

Stem Changes in Adjectives (§§68–73) 32

Comparison of Adjectives (§§74–76) 33

iv Observations on Noun, Adjective, and Pronoun

Declensions (§§77–81) 34

v Numerals (§§82–86) 34

vi Strong Verbs and Sound-Changes Relevant to

Them (§§87–114) 35

Introduction (§§87–89) 35

Principal Parts of the Strong Verbs (§§90–95) 36

Breaking (§§96–99) 38

Influence of Initial i, sc, h (§100) 39

Influence of Nasals (§101) 40

Summary of the Strong Verbs of Class III (§102) 40

The Effects of Sound-Changes on Other Strong Verbs (§103) 40

Strong Verbs of Class VII (§104) 41

Grimm’s Law and Verner’s Law (§§105–109) 41

Conjugation of the Strong Verb (§§110–114) 43

vii Weak Verbs and Sound-Changes Relevant to

Them (§§115–126) 46

Introduction (§115) 46

Class 1 (§§116–123) 46

Class 2 (§§124–125) 49

Class 3 (§126) 50

viii Anomalous Verbs (§§127–130) 51

Bbon (§127) 51

Ddn and gan (§128) 51

Willan (§129) 52

Preterite-Present Verbs (§130) 52

ix Is a Verb Strong or Weak? To which Class does it Belong? (§§131–134) 53

x Adverbs (§135) 54

Formation (§135) 54

Comparison (§135) 54

4 Word Formation (§§136–138) 55

Introduction (§136) 55

i Compounding (§137) 56

ii The Addition of Affixes (§138) 57

Prefixes (§138) 58

Suffixes (§138) 59

5 Syntax (§§139–214) 61

Introduction (§§139–142) 61

i Word-Order (§§143–147) 63

ii Sentence Structure (§§148–153) 66

Recapitulation and Anticipation (§148) 66

The Splitting of Heavy Groups (§149) 67

Correlation (§§150–153) 68

iii Noun Clauses (§§154–161) 70

Introduction (§154) 70

Dependent Statements and Desires (§§155–156) 70

Dependent Questions (§§157–160) 72

The Accusative and Infinitive (§161) 75

iv Adjective Clauses (§§162–165) 75

Definite Adjective Clauses (§§162–163) 75

Indefinite Adjective Clauses (§164) 79

Mood (§165) 80

v Adverb Clauses (§§166–181) 81

Introduction (§§166–167) 81

Non-Prepositional Conjunctions (§168) 83

Prepositional Conjunctions (§§169–171) 83

An Exercise in Analysis (§172) 86

Clauses of Place (§173) 87

Clauses of Time (§174) 88

Clauses of Purpose and Result (§175) 89

Causal Clauses (§176) 89

Clauses of Comparison (§177) 89

Clauses of Concession (§178) 90

Clauses of Condition (§179) 91

Adverb Clauses Expressing Other Relationships (§180) 92

Other Ways of Expressing Adverbial Relationships (§181) 93

vi Parataxis (§§182–186) 93

Introduction (§§182–183) 93

List of Conjunctions and Adverbs Commonly

Used (§184) 94

Parataxis without Conjunctions (§185) 96

Some Special Idioms (§186) 96

vii Concord (§187) 97

1. Nouns, Pronouns and their Modifiers (§187) 97

2. Pronouns and their Antecedents (§187) 97

3. Subject and Verb (§187) 98

viii The Uses of the Cases (§§188–192) 98

Nominative (§188) 98

Accusative (§189) 99

Genitive (§190) 99

Dative (§191) 99

Instrumental (§192) 100

ix Articles, Pronouns, and Numerals (§§193–194) 100

Articles and Pronouns (§193) 100

Numerals (§194) 101

x Verbs (§§195–212) 101

The Uses of the Present and Preterite Tenses (§§195–198) 101

The Resolved Tenses (§§199–204) 103

Introduction (§199) 103

The Verb 'to have' as an Auxiliary (§200) 103

The Verb 'to be' as an Auxiliary of Tense (§201) 104

The Passive (§§202–203) 104

Other Uses of the Present and Past Participles (§204) 105

The Uses of the Infinitives (§205) 105

The 'Modal' Auxiliaries (§§206–211) 106

Introduction (§206) 106

Magan (§207) 107

*Mdtan (§208) 107

Cunnan (§209) 108

*Sculan (§210) 108

Willan (§211) 108

Impersonal Verbs (§212) 109

xi Prepositions (§§213–214) 109

List of Prepositions (§214) 110

6 An Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Studies (§§215–251) 111

i Some Significant Dates (§§215–216) 111

ii History (§§217–218) 111

iii Archaeology (§§219–230) 117

Introduction (§219) 117

List of Abbreviated Titles (§220) 118

Weapons and Warfare (§221) 120

Life and Dress (§222) 120

Architecture and Buildings (§§223–224) 121

Sculpture and Carving (§225) 122

Jewellery and Metalwork (§226) 123

Embroidery (§227) 123

Coins (§228) 124

Manuscripts and Runic Inscriptions (§229) 124

The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial (§230) 124

iv Language (§§231–235) 125

Changes in English (§231) 125

The Danish Invasions (§232) 126

The Norman Conquest (§233) 127

Vocabulary (§234) 127

Some Questions (§235) 128

v Literature (§§236–251) 128

Introduction (§§236–246) 128

Poetry (§§247–249) 134

Prose (§§250–251) 135

7 Select Bibliography (§§252–269) 137

General (§252) 137

Chapter 1 Preliminary Remarks on the Language (§253) 137

Chapter 2 Orthography and Pronunciation (§254) 138

Chapter 3 Inflexions (§254) 138

Chapter 4 Word Formation (§255) 138

Chapter 5 Syntax (§256) 138

Chapter 6 Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Studies (§§257–269) 139

History (§257) 139

Archaeology (§258) 139

Language (§§259–261) 140

History of English Prose (§259) 140

Vocabulary (§§260–261) 140

Word Formation 140

Changes of Meaning (§260) 140

Borrowings (§261) 140

Literature (§§262–269) 141

Topics Raised in §§236–246 (§262) 141

General Criticism (§263) 141

Poetry Texts (§264) 141

Appreciation of the Poetry (§265) 143

The Use of Oral Formulae (§266) 143

Metre (§267) 143

Prose Texts (§268) 144

Sources (§269) 144

Appendix A Strong Verbs 146

Appendix B Some Effects of i-Mutation 154

Appendix C Metre 156

Appendix D List of Linguistic Terms Used in this Book 163

Appendix E The Moods of Old English 174

Appendix F Grimm's and Verner’s Laws 175

PART TWO: PROSE AND VERSE TEXTS.

1 Practice Sentences 179

2 Two Old Testament Pieces 181

The Fall of Man 182

Abraham and Isaac 186

3 A Colloquy on the Occupations 190

4 Two Characteristic Prose Works by Ælfric 198

Preface to Genesis 198

St. Edmund, King and Martyr 203

5 Alfred the Great’s Preface to his Translation of Gregory's Pastoral Care 212

6 Cynewulf and Cyneheard 216

7 Selections from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 220

8 Bede's Account of the Conversion of King Edwin 224

9 Bede's Account of the Poet Cædmon 228

10 The Goths and Boethius: Prose and Verse from the Introduction to King Alfred's Boethius Translation 234

11 (a)–(p) Riddles 239

12 The Battle of Maldon 249

13 The Ruin 261

14 The Dream of the Rood 264

15 The Wife’s Lament 272

16 The Wanderer 276

17 The Seafarer 284

18 Four excerpts from Beowulf 291

Prologue 294

(a) Beowulf’s Fight with Grendel 296

(b) Beowulf Consoles Hrothgar for Æschere's Death 303

(c) The Lament of the Last Survivor 306

(d) Beowulf’s Funeral 307

19 Wulf and Eadwacer 309

20 Judith 312

21 Cotton Gnomes or Maxims 325

22 Sermo Lupi ad Anglos 329

Glossary 337

Indexes to Part One 418

Index of Subjects 418

Index of Words 422

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Fred C. Robinson is  Douglas Tracy Smith Professor Emeritus at Yale University. He is a Fellow and past President of the Medieval Academy of America, and has received many honors. He has written extensively on Beowulf, Old English, and English and American literature and language of all periods.
 
Bruce Mitchell is late Fellow Emeritus of St. Edmund Hall, University of Oxford.
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• a facsimile of the manuscript page from the beginning of Beowulf
 
• the first 25 lines of Beowulf, with an exceptionally detailed set of annotations
 
• an explanation of Grimm's and Verner's Laws
 
• text revisions throughout to make the Guide as accessible as possible for undergraduate readers

The book also offers a discussion of Anglo-Saxon literature, history, and culture, and a bibliography directing readers to useful publications on the subject.
 

See More
  • Provides a comprehensive introduction to Old English
  • Uses a practical approach suited to the needs of the beginning student
  • Features selections from the greatest works of Old English literature, organized from simple to more challenging texts to keep pace with the reader
  • Includes a discussion of Anglo-Saxon literature, history, and culture, and a bibliography directing readers to useful publications on the subject
  • Updated throughout with new material including the first 25 lines from Beowulf with detailed annotation and an explanation of Grimm’s and Verner’s laws
     
See More
"This is still the most comprehensive introduction to Old English available, providing detailed analysis of the language, literature, history, and culture of the Anglo-Saxons. This new edition expands on the changes in languages, and provides additional material on Beowulf."
Stuart Lee, Oxford University

"Mitchell and Robinson's A Guide to Old English, now available in its eighth edition, is an invaluable resource for teaching and delighting students of Old English. It is unsurpassed in its combination of a meticulously scholarly approach with a wide-ranging selection of Old English texts. The authors' enthusiasm for the subject is evident on every page and carries the reader with it."
Susan Irvine, University College London

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