Aspects of Old English Poetic Syntax: Where Clauses Begin

Front Cover
University of Illinois Press, 2001 - Literary Criticism - 248 pages
0 Reviews
InAspects of Old English Poetic Syntax, Mary Blockley uses modern linguistics to tackle the thorny problem of how to interpret a written language that relied neither on punctuation nor on capitalization to mark clause boundaries and subordination.Distinguished by a remarkable combination of erudition and lucidity,Aspects of Old English Poetic Syntaxprovides new insight into the rules that govern syntactic relationships and indicates how these rules differ for prose and verse. Blockley considers the functions of four of the most common and most syntactically important words in Old English, as well as such features of clauses as verb-initial order, negative contraction, and unexpressed but understood subjects. Picking up where Bruce Mitchell's classicOld English Syntaxleft off, Blockley shows how such common words and structures mark the relationships between phrases and clauses. Blockley also considers how the poetic tradition compensated for the loss in written texts of the syntactic functions served by intonation and inflection. Arguing that verse relied instead on a prescriptively regulated, unambiguous syntax, she suggests principles that promise more complex and subtle interpretations of familiar texts such as Beowulf as well as a wealth of other Old English writings.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Questions in Prose and Verse
Phrasal Coordination and Apposition
Clausal Ond
ClauseInitial Adverbs and the Ambiguous
ClauseInitial Verbs and the Continuity of Reference
Uncontracted Negation as a Cue to Sentence Structure
Perfecting the Old English Past

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

Bibliographic information