Beowulf and the Beowulf Manuscript

Front Cover
University of Michigan Press, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 328 pages
The story of Beowulf and his hard-fought victory over the monster Grendel has captured the imagination of readers and listeners for a millennium. The heroic Anglo-Saxon story survives to the world in one eleventh-century manuscript that was badly burned in 1731, and in two eighteenth-century transcriptions of the manuscripts.
Kevin S. Kiernan, one of the world's foremost Beowulf scholars, has studied the manuscript extensively with the most up-to-date methods, including fiber-optic backlighting and computer digitization. This volume reprints Kiernan's earlier study of the manuscript, in which he presented his novel conclusions about the date of Beowulf. It also offers a new Introduction in which the author describes the value of electronic study of Beowulf, and a new Appendix that lists all the letters and parts of letters revealed by backlighting.
This important volume will be a must-read not only for the scholar of early English history and literature, but for all those who are interested in practical applications of the new technologies.
 

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Contents

THE POEMS ELEVENTHCENTURY PROVENANCE
13
The Historical Context of the Extant Manuscript
15
The Linguistic Tests for an Early Date
23
The Late Literary and the Early Poetic Dialects
37
The Mixture of Forms in Beowulf
50
Conclusion
61
THE HISTORY AND CONSTRUCTION OF THE COMPOSITE CODEX
65
Cotton Vitellius A xv
66
The Judith Fragment
150
Conclusion
168
THE BEOWULF CODEX AND THE MAKING OF THE POEM
171
The Authority of the Beowulf Manuscript
172
The Proofreading of the Scribes
191
The Palimpsest and the New Text of Folio 179
219
Beowulf in the Making
243
Conclusion
270

The Prefixed Leaves
71
History of the Multiple Foliations
85
The Southwick Code
110
The Nowell Codex
120
The Beowulf Codex
133
Works Cited
279
Index
291
The State of the Beowulf Manuscript 18821983
305
Copyright

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