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By R. D. Fulk

This revised version of A heritage of outdated English Literature attracts greatly at the most up-to-date scholarship to have developed over the past decade. The textual content contains extra fabric all through, together with new chapters on Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and incidental and marginal texts.

  • This revised variation responds to the renewed historicism in medieval studies
  • Provides wide-ranging insurance, together with Anglo-Latin literature in addition to non-canonical writings
  • Includes new chapters on manuscripts and on marginal and incidental texts
  • Incorporates extended insurance of felony texts and medical and scholastic texts, now taken care of in separate chapters
  • Demonstrates that the sphere of Anglo-Saxon reviews is uniquely positioned to give a contribution to present literary debates

Content:
Chapter none advent (pages 1–41):
Chapter 1 The Chronology and forms of previous English Literature (pages 42–57):
Chapter 2 Anglo?Saxon Manuscripts (pages 58–82):
Chapter three Literature of the Alfredian interval (pages 83–111):
Chapter four Homilies (pages 112–132):
Chapter five Saints’ Legends (pages 133–156): Rachel S. Anderson
Chapter 6 Biblical Literature (pages 157–176):
Chapter 7 Liturgical and Devotional Texts (pages 177–210):
Chapter eight criminal Texts (pages 211–226):
Chapter nine clinical and Scholastic Texts (pages 227–240):
Chapter 10 knowledge Literature and Lyric Poetry (pages 241–277):
Chapter eleven Germanic Legend and Heroic Lay (pages 278–328):
Chapter 12 Additions, Annotations, and Marginalia (pages 329–353):

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Also like Ælfric, he exhibits a distinctive style, though it is less like verse and more self-consciously oratorical (see chapter 4). 34 In his characteristically hermeneutic style (which Stephenson 2009 argues he wears as a badge of reformed monasticism) he composed Latin vitae of St. Ecgwine and the reformer Oswald, the latter a major source (though not always a reliable one) of information on the historical setting of the Benedictine reform, of which Byrhtferth was a passionate partisan. His best-known work, the Enchiridion (chapter 9, section 1), which alternates between Latin and English, is the most ambitious scientific work of the viking period, being mainly a commentary on his computus, but treating in some depth such diverse topics as Latin 26 Introduction metrics, grammar, rhetoric, and number symbolism.

Irvine 1991: 196–9 and, less usefully, Howe 1993. The argument of Lutz (2000) that Æthelweard’s style (or, more likely, the style of whoever composed in his name) borrows from vernacular verse does not alter the judgment that his Latin is unskilled. Yet not all hermeneutism is to be regarded as naive. Gretsch (1999) has made the case that the hermeneutic style in the tenth century was promulgated by Æthelwold and Dunstan out of admiration for the works of Aldhelm. For a detailed description of the nature of the monks’ duties and their way of life, see Knowles 1963: 448–71.

Whether or not that is an accurate assessment, it is certainly true that in the tenth and eleventh centuries we see evidence of a religious fervor among the laity such as we do not encounter at any earlier period in England. The evidence of lay literacy at this period points to pious purposes as its chief motivation. Ælfric, Wulfstan, and Byrhtferth wrote during some of the darkest days of the viking age, when England was again besieged after roughly half a century of relative tranquility. The policy of appeasement adopted after the battle of Maldon – paying off the invaders at exorbitant sums rather than fighting them – contributed to the unpopularity of King Æthelred “the Unready” (OE unrǣd ‘shiftless’ or ‘ill-advised’), and it did not ultimately deter the vikings from conquering England and placing a Dane, Cnut, upon the throne in 1016.

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