The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature

Front Cover
Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon Malcolm Godden, Malcolm Godden, Michael Lapidge, Professor of Anglo-Saxon Michael Lapidge, Godden Malcolm
Cambridge University Press, May 31, 1991 - Literary Criticism - 298 pages
This book introduces students to the literature of Anglo-Saxon England, the period from 600-1066, in a collection of fifteen specially commissioned essays. The chapters are written by experts, but designed to be accessible to students who may be unfamiliar with Old English. The emphasis throughout is on placing texts in their contemporary context and suggesting ways in which they relate to each other and to the important events and issues of the time. With the help of maps and a chronological table of events the first chapters describe briefly the political, social and ecclesiastical history of the period and how poetry and prose in Latin and in the vernacular developed and flourished. A succinct account of Old English provides beginners with a handy guide to the rules of spelling, grammar and syntax. Subsequent chapters explore the range of Anglo-Saxon writing under different thematic headings. A final bibliography gives guidance on further reading.
 

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Contents

AngloSaxon society and its literature
1
The Old English language
23
The nature of Old English verse
55
The nature of Old English prose
71
Germanic legend in Old English literature
88
Heroic values and Christian ethics
107
Pagan survivals and popular belief
126
Beowulf
142
Perceptions of transience
172
Perceptions of eternity
190
Biblical literature the Old Testament
206
Biblical literature the New Testament
227
The saintly life in AngloSaxon England
243
The world of AngloSaxon learning
264
Further reading
282
Index
292

Fatalism and the millennium
160

Common terms and phrases