Aspects of Old English Poetic Syntax: Where Clauses Begin

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University of Illinois Press, 2001 - Literary Criticism - 248 pages
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In Aspects 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 Syntax provides 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 Classic Old English Syntax left 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. 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.
 

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Contents

Questions in Prose and Verse
19
Phrasal Coordination and Apposition
47
Clausal Ond
79
ClauseInitial Adverbs and the Ambiguous
121
ClauseInitial Verbs and the Continuity of Reference
153
Uncontracted Negation as a Cue to Sentence Structure
173
Perfecting the Old English Past
195
Copyright

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References to this book

Aspects of English Negation
Yoko Iyeiri
No preview available - 2005

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