Old English Heroic Poems and the Social Life of Texts
John D. Niles
Isd, 2007 - Literary Collections - 372 pages
Old English Heroic Poems and the Social Life of Texts develops the theme that all stories- all 'beautiful lies', if one considers them as such- have a potentially myth-like function as they enter and re-enter the stream of human consciousness. In particular, the volume assesses the place of heroic poetry (including Beowulf, Widsith, and The Battle of Maldon) in the evolving society of Anglo-Saxon England during the tenth-century period of nation-building. Poetry, Niles argues, was a great collective medium through which the Anglo-Saxons conceived of their changing social world and made mental adjustments to it. Old English 'heroic geography' is examined as an aspect of the mentality of that era. So too is the idea of the oral poet (or bard) as a means by which the people of this time continued to conceive of themselves, in defiance of reality, as members of a tribe-like community knit by close personal bonds. The volume is rounded off by the identification of Bede's story of the poet CAedmon as the earliest known example of a modern folktale type, and by a spirited defense of Seamus Heaney's recent verse translation of Beowulf.
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Locating Beowulf m Literary History
Widsith the Goths and the Anthropology of the Past
Some New Interest in the Goths
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ancient Anglo Anglo-Saxon Chronicle Anglo-Saxon England bard Battle of Maldon Bede Beowulf Beowulf poet Britain Byrhtnoth Byrhtnoth's laughter Caedmon called Cambridge chapter Christian claim critical cultural Danes Danish death Deor discussion early Eormanric Epic Essays Ethelweard ethnic example Exeter Book fiction Folklore Gautar Geat Geatas Germanic Goths Heaney Heaney's Beowulf Heaney's translation Hengest hero heroic Hygelac imagined Irish Jutes Jutland King Alfred language Latin legendary lines literary London medieval modern myth mythopoesis narrative nostalgia Odda Offa ofMaldon Ohthere Old English Literature Old English poetry oral poetry oral tradition original Oxford passage past period person perspective poem poem's poet's poetic present question readers reference regard saga scholars Scragg Scyld Seamus Heaney seems sense singer social song story storytelling tale tale-type tell tenth century textual tion trans tribe truth vernacular verse Viking warriors West Saxon Widsith words writing