The Textuality of Old English Poetry

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 20, 1995 - Literary Criticism - 219 pages
This study theorizes how Old English poetry functioned for readers of tenth-century manuscripts. Coupling the rigour of formalist analysis with the innovations of post-structuralist concepts, Professor Pasternack maps the codes and conventions that guided readers in their construction of poems. She defines the verse as 'inscribed', situated between oral and written discourse. Altering our vision of individual poems, which to date has been based on modern printed editions, she coins the terms 'movement' and 'verse sequence' to reconceptualize the poetry according to its presentation in manuscripts, which does not separate poems decisively. Using the concept of intertextuality, she establishes the idea of an 'implied tradition' which, rather than the 'implied author', functioned as the source of a text's authority. Pasternack thus revises the entire basis for long-standing debates concerning the unity and authority of Old English poems.
 

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This title and "Visible Song" give a fascinating, and convincing, context for OE poetry using paleographic and manuscript clues Read full review

Contents

Vercelli Biblioteca Capitolare 117 Vercelli Book
32
The polyphony of The Wanderer
33
Rhythm repetition and traditional expression
60
The designs of syntax modes of thought and the author question
90
Borders and time
120
Conditions of coherence
147
Bibliography
201
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