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The Waning Sword: Conversion Imagery and Celestial Myth in 'Beowulf'

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ISBN: 9781783748273 9781783748297 Year: Pages: 562 DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0190 Language: English
Publisher: Open Book Publishers
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2020-01-16 15:58:03
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The image of a giant sword melting stands at the structural and thematic heart of the Old English heroic poem Beowulf. This meticulously researched book investigates the nature and significance of this golden-hilted weapon and its likely relatives within Beowulf and beyond, drawing on the fields of Old English and Old Norse language and literature, liturgy, archaeology, astronomy, folklore and comparative mythology.In Part I, Pettit explores the complex of connotations surrounding this image (from icicles to candles and crosses) by examining a range of medieval sources, and argues that the giant sword may function as a visual motif in which pre-Christian Germanic concepts and prominent Christian symbols coalesce.In Part II, Pettit investigates the broader Germanic background to this image, especially in relation to the god Ing/Yngvi-Freyr, and explores the capacity of myths to recur and endure across time. Drawing on an eclectic range of narrative and linguistic evidence from Northern European texts, and on archaeological discoveries, Pettit suggests that the image of the giant sword, and the characters and events associated with it, may reflect an elemental struggle between the sun and the moon, articulated through an underlying myth about the theft and repossession of sunlight.The Waning Sword: Conversion Imagery and Celestial Myth in 'Beowulf' is a welcome contribution to the overlapping fields of Beowulf-scholarship, Old Norse-Icelandic literature and Germanic philology. Not only does it present a wealth of new readings that shed light on the craft of the Beowulf-poet and inform our understanding of the poem’s major episodes and themes; it further highlights the merits of adopting an interdisciplinary approach alongside a comparative vantage point. As such, The Waning Sword will be compelling reading for Beowulf-scholars and for a wider audience of medievalists.

Beowulf: A Translation

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ISBN: 9780615612652 Year: Pages: 312 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0009.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:46
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Many modern Beowulf translations, while excellent in their own ways, suffer from what Kathleen Biddick might call “melancholy” for an oral and aural way of poetic making. By and large, they tend to preserve certain familiar features of Anglo-Saxon verse as it has been constructed by editors, philologists, and translators: the emphasis on caesura and alliteration, with diction and syntax smoothed out for readability. The problem with, and the paradox of this desired outcome, especially as it concerns Anglo-Saxon poetry, is that we are left with a document that translates an entire organizing principle based on oral transmission (and perhaps composition) into a visual, textual realm of writing and reading. The sense of loss or nostalgia for the old form seems a necessary and ever-present shadow over modern Beowulfs. What happens, however, when a contemporary poet, quite simply, doesn’t bother with any such nostalgia? When the entire organizational apparatus of the poem—instead of being uneasily approximated in modern verse form—is itself translated into a modern organizing principle, i.e., the visual text? This is the approach that poet Thomas Meyer takes; as he writes, [I]nstead of the text’s orality, perhaps perversely I went for the visual. Deciding to use page layout (recto/ verso) as a unit. Every translation I’d read felt impenetrable to me with its block after block of nearly uniform lines. Among other quirky decisions made in order to open up the text, the project wound up being a kind of typological specimen book for long American poems extant circa 1965. Having variously the “look” of Pound’s Cantos, Williams’ Paterson, or Olson or Zukofsky, occasionally late Eliot, even David Jones

Anglo-Saxon Literary Landscapes

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ISBN: 9789089649447 Year: DOI: 10.5117/9789089649447 Language: Undetermined
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-02-05 09:51:02
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Literary scholars have traditionally understood landscapes, whether natural or manmade, as metaphors for humanity instead of concrete settings for people's actions. This book accepts the natural world as such by investigating how Anglo-Saxons interacted with and conceived of their lived environments. Examining Old English poems, such as Beowulf and Judith, as well as descriptions of natural events from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and other documentary texts, Heide Estes shows that Anglo-Saxon ideologies which view nature as diametrically opposed to humans, and the natural world as designed for human use, have become deeply embedded in our cultural heritage, language, and more.

Anglo-Saxon(ist) Pasts, postSaxon Futures

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ISBN: 9781950192397 Year: Pages: 425 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0262.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Arts in general --- History
Added to DOAB on : 2020-05-04 10:27:59
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Anglo-Saxon(ist) Pasts, postSaxon Futures traces the integral role that colonialism and racism play in the field formerly known as Anglo-Saxon studies by tracking the development of the “Anglo-Saxonist,” an overtly racialized term that describes a person whose affinities point towards white nationalism. That scholars continue to call themselves “Anglo-Saxonists,” despite urgent calls to combat racism within the field, suggests that this term is much more than just a professional appellative. It is, this book argues, a ghost in the machine of early medieval studies—a spectral figure created by a group of nineteenth-century historians, archaeologists, and philologists responsible for not only framing the interdisciplinary field of "Anglo-Saxon" studies but for also encoding ideologies of British colonialism and Anglo-American racism within the field’s methods and pedagogies.Anglo-Saxon(ist) pasts, postSaxon Futures is at once a historiography of Anglo-Saxon studies, a mourning of its Anglo-Saxonist “fathers,” and an exorcism of the colonial-racial ghosts that lurk within the field’s scholarly methods and pedagogies. Part intellectual history, part grief work, this book leverages the genres of literary criticism, auto-ethnography, and creative nonfiction in order to confront Anglo-Saxonist pasts in order to imagine speculative postSaxon futures inclusive of voices and bodies heretofore excluded from the field formerly known as Anglo-Saxon studies.

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