The Textuality of Old English Poetry
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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