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A History of Old English Literature, 2nd Edition

Robert D. Fulk (Editor), Christopher M. Cain (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-44112-1 March 2013 Wiley-Blackwell 504 Pages



This revised edition of A History of Old English Literature draws extensively on the latest scholarship to have evolved over the last decade. The text incorporates additional material throughout, including two new chapters on Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and incidental and marginal texts.

  • This revised edition responds to the renewed historicism in medieval studies
  • Provides wide-ranging coverage, including Anglo-Latin literature as well as non-canonical writings
  • Includes new chapters on manuscripts and on marginal and incidental texts
  • Incorporates expanded coverage of legal texts and scientific and scholastic texts, now treated in separate chapters
  • Demonstrates that the field of Anglo-Saxon studies is uniquely placed to contribute to current literary debates

List of Illustrations vi

Preface to the First Edition (2003) vii

Preface to the Second Edition ix

Abbreviations x


Anglo-Saxon England and Its Literature: A Social History 1

1 The Chronology and Varieties of Old English Literature 42

2 Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts 58

3 Literature of the Alfredian Period 83

4 Homilies 112

5 Saints’ Legends (Rachel S. Anderson) 133

6 Biblical Literature 157

7 Liturgical and Devotional Texts 177

8 Legal Texts 211

9 Scientific and Scholastic Texts 227

10 Wisdom Literature and Lyric Poetry 241

11 Germanic Legend and Heroic Lay 278

12 Additions, Annotations, and Marginalia 329


Making Old English New: Anglo-Saxonism and the Cultural Work of Old English Literature 354

Works Cited 367

Index 481

"A new generation of students and their professors will undoubtedly apprecite the currency of what has proven to be a widely respected, comprehensive historical treatment of Old English literature." (Choice, 1 December 2013)