New Books

 


Wolfe and Other Poems, by Donald Mace Williams (Wundor Editions, 2017). Wolfe is a modern retelling of the story of Beowulf, which relocates the action to Texas in the late 19th Century. When a strange, beguiling creature is found to have slaughtered first the cattle of a lonely ranch, then one of its labourers, the fate of the locals is placed in the hands of an out-of-towner, a calm and confident young man by the name of Billy Wolfe. Rattle originally published the work as a limited chapbook in the US, and it has come to be seen by many as a modern classic. It has been studied in schools in Texas. It is a captivating adventure tale and it reads as a compelling examination of the shadow side of the United States, in the past and in the present. Wolfe is published here alongside a collection of Williams' short poems in book form for the first time. £10.00. ISBN 978-0-9956541-2-9 Link.

 

Andreas: An Edition, Edited by Michael Bintley and Richard North (Liverpool University Press, 2016) This is the first edition of Andreas for 55 years, also the first to present the Anglo-Saxon, or rather Old English, text with a parallel Modern English poetic translation. The book aims not only to provide both students and scholars with an up-to-date text and introduction and notes, but also to reconfirm the canonical merit of Andreas as one of the longest and most important works in Old English literature. The introduction to our text is substantial, re-positioning this poem in respect of nearly six decades' progress in the palaeography, sources and analogues, language, metrics, literary criticism and archaeology of Andreas. The book argues that the poet was Mercian, that he was making ironic reference to Beowulf and that his story of St Andrew converting pagan Mermedonian cannibals was coloured by King Alfred's wars against the Danes (871-9, 885-6, 892-6). Andreas is here dated to Alfred's later reign with such analysis of contexts in history and ideology that the author's name is also hypothesized. The Old English text and Modern English translation of Andreas are presented in a split-page format, allowing students at whatever level of familiarity with the Anglo-Saxon vernacular to gain a direct access to the poem in close to its original form. The translation follows the poem's word order and style, allowing modern readers to feel the imagination, ideology and humour of Andreas as closely as possible. The text of the Old English poem is accompanied by a full set of supporting notes, and a glossary representing the translation. 320 Pages. $120.00 (hb). ISBN 9781781382714 Link.

 

Trees in the Religions of Early Medieval England, Michael D.J. Bintley (Boydell Press, 2015) Trees were of fundamental importance in Anglo-Saxon material culture - but they were also a powerful presence in Anglo-Saxon religion before and after the introduction of Christianity. This book shows that they remained prominent in early English Christianity, and indeed that they may have played a crucial role in mediating the transition between ancient beliefs and the new faith. It argues that certain characteristics of sacred trees in England can be determined from insular contexts alone, independent of comparative evidence from culturally related peoples. This nevertheless suggests the existence of traditions comparable to those found in Scandinavia and Germany. Tree symbolism helped early English Christians to understand how the beliefs of their ancestors about trees, posts, and pillars paralleled the appearance of similar objects in the Old Testament. In this way, the religious symbols of their forebears were aligned with precursors to the cross in Scripture. Literary evidence from England and Scandinavia similarly indicates a shared tradition of associations between the bodies of humans, trees, and other plant-life. Though potentially ancient, these ideas flourished amongst the abundance of vegetative symbolism found in the Christian tradition. 206 pages. $90.00 (hb). ISBN 9781843839897 Link.

 

The Long Twelfth-Century View of the Anglo-Saxon Past, Martin Brett, David A. Woodman (Routledge, 2015) Scholars have long been interested in the extent to which the Anglo-Saxon past can be understood using material written, and produced, in the twelfth century; and simultaneously in the continued importance (or otherwise) of the Anglo-Saxon past in the generations following the Norman Conquest of England. In order to better understand these issues, this volume provides a series of essays that moves scholarship forward in two significant ways. Firstly, it scrutinises how the Anglo-Saxon past continued to be reused and recycled throughout the longue durée of the twelfth century, as opposed to the early decades that are usually covered. Secondly, by bringing together scholars who are experts in various different scholarly disciplines, the volume deals with a much broader range of historical, linguistic, legal, artistic, palaeographical and cultic evidence than has hitherto been the case. Divided into four main parts: The Anglo-Saxon Saints; Anglo-Saxon England in the Narrative of Britain; Anglo-Saxon Law and Charter; and Art-history and the French Vernacular, it scrutinises the majority of different genres of source material that are vital in any study of early medieval British history. In so doing the resultant volume will become a standard reference point for students and scholars alike interested in the ways in which the Anglo-Saxon past continued to be of importance and interest throughout the twelfth century. 438 pages. $154.95 (hb). ISBN 9781472428172 Link.

 

Anglo-Saxon Saints' Lives as History Writing in Late Medieval England, Cynthia Turner Camp (D.S.Brewer, 2015) The past was ever present in later medieval England, as secular and religious institutions worked to recover (or create) originary narratives that could guarantee, they hoped, their political and spiritual legitimacy. Anglo-Saxon England, in particular, was imagined as a spiritual "golden age" and a rich source of precedent, for kings and for the monasteries that housed early English saints' remains. This book examines the vernacular hagiography produced in a monastic context, demonstrating how writers, illuminators, and policy-makers used English saints (including St Edmund) to re-envision the bonds between ancient spiritual purity and contemporary conditions. Treating history and ethical practice as inseparable, poets such as Osbern Bokenham, Henry Bradshaw, and John Lydgate reconfigured England's history through its saints, engaging with contemporary concerns about institutional identity, authority, and ethics. 260 pages. $99.00 (hb). ISBN 9781843844020 Link.

 

Weaving Words and Binding Bodies: The Poetics of Human Experience In Old English Literature, Megan Cavell (University of Toronto Press, 2016) References to weaving and binding are ubiquitous in Anglo-Saxon literature. Several hundred instances of such imagery occur in the poetic corpus, invoked in connection with objects, people, elemental forces, and complex abstract concepts. Weaving Words and Binding Bodies presents the first comprehensive study of weaving and binding imagery through intertextual analysis and close readings of Beowulf, riddles, the poetry of Cynewulf, and other key texts. Megan Cavell highlights the prominent use of weaving and binding in previously unrecognized formulas, collocations, and type-scenes, shedding light on important tropes such as the lord-retainer "bond" and the gendered role of "peace-weaving" in Anglo-Saxon society. Through the analysis of metrical, rhetorical, and linguistic features and canonical and neglected texts in a wide range of genres, Weaving Words and Binding Bodies makes an important contribution to the ongoing study of Anglo-Saxon poetics. 256 Pages. $60.00 (hb). ISBN 9781442637221 < a href="http://www.utppublishing.com/Weaving-Words-and-Binding-Bodies-The-Poetics-of-Human-Experience-in-Old-English-Literature.html">Link.

 

Reconsidering Gender, Time and Memory in Medieval Culture, Cox, Elizabeth, Liz Herbert McAvoy, and Roberta Magnani, eds. (D.S. Brewer, 2015) The training and use of memory was crucial in medieval culture, given the limited literacy at the time, but to date, very little thought has been given to the complex and disparate ways in which the theory and practices of memory interacted with the inherently unstable concepts of time and gender at the time. The essays in this volume, drawing on approaches from applied poststructural and queer theory among others, reassess those ideologies, meanings and responses generated by the workings of memory within and over "time". Ultimately, they argue for the inherent instability of the traditional gender-time-memory matrix (within which men are configured as the recorders of "history" and women as the repositories of a more inchoate familial and communal knowledge), showing the Middle Ages as a locus for a far more fluid conceptualization of time and memory than has previously been considered. 215 pages. $99.00 (hb). ISBN 9781843844037 Link.

 

The Material Culture of the Built Environment in the Anglo-Saxon World, Edited by Maren Clegg Hyer and Gale R. Owen-Crocker (Liverpool University Press, 2015). The Material Culture of the Built Environment in the Anglo-Saxon World, second volume of Daily Living in the Anglo-Saxon World, continues to introduce students of Anglo-Saxon culture to aspects of the realities of the built environment that surrounded Anglo-Saxon peoples through reference to archaeological and textual sources. It considers what structures intruded on the natural landscape the Anglo-Saxons inhabited – roads and tracks, ancient barrows and Roman buildings, the villages and towns, churches, beacons, boundary ditches and walls, grave-markers and standing sculptures – and explores the interrelationships between them and their part in Anglo-Saxon life. Exeter Studies in Medieval Europe. 398 Pages. £75.00 (hb). ISBN 9781781382653 < a href="http://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/products/60534">Link.

 

A Companion to Alfred the Great, Edited by Nicole Guenther Discenza and Paul E. Szarmach (Brill, 2015) Eleven major scholars of the Anglo-Saxon period consider Alfred the Great, his cultural milieu, and his achievements. With revised or revived views of the Alfredian revival, the contributors help set the agenda for future work on a most challenging period. The collection features the methods of history, art history, and literature in a newer key and with an interdisciplinary view on a period that offers less evidence than inference. Major themes linking the essays include authorship, translation practice and theory, patristic influence, Continental connections, and advances in textual criticism. The Alfredian moment has always surprised scholars because of its intellectual reach and its ambition. The contributors to this collection describe how we must now understand that ambition. 470 pages. $218.00 (hb). ISBN 9789004274846 Link.

 

The Old English Gloss to the Lindisfarne Gospels: Language, Author and Context, ed. Julia Fernández Cuesta and Sara M. Pons-Sanz (De Gruyter, 2016) as volume 51 of the Anglia Book Series – it is a multifaceted collection of articles on the interlinear gloss to the Lindisfarne Gospels by leading experts in their fields, namely Christine Bolze, Stewart Brookes, Michelle P. Brown, Aldred's interlinear gloss to the Lindisfarne Gospels (London, British Library, MS Cotton Nero D.IV) is one of the most substantial representatives of the Old English variety known as late Old Northumbrian. Although it has received a great deal of attention in the past two centuries, there are still numerous issues which remain unresolved. The papers in this collection approach the gloss from a variety of perspectives – language, cultural milieu, palaeography, glossography – in order to shed light on many of these issues, such as the authorship of the gloss, the morphosyntax and vocabulary of the dialect(s) it represents, its sources and relationship to the Rushworth Gospels, and Aldred's cultural and religious affiliations. Because of its breadth of coverage, the collection will be of interest and great value to scholars in the fields of Anglo-Saxon studies and English historical linguistics. 432 pages. $140.00 (hb). ISBN 978-3-11-044910-5 Link.

 

Runes: Ancient Scripts, Martin Findell (Getty Publications, 2015) Runes are the letters in a set of related alphabets that were used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet. From late antiquity through the early middle ages, peoples across northwestern Europe inscribed runes on gravestones, buildings, jewelry, and weapons in a range of forms from crude scratchings to sophisticated relief carvings. Reading and deciphering this script has called on the expertise of a number of academic disciplines including archaeology, art history, linguistics, and forensic science. The runes illustrated in this lively introduction, which include memorials for the dead, business messages, charms, curses, and prayers, offer a fascinating glimpse into the beliefs of early Anglo-Saxon and Germanic cultures. The author traces the history of these ancient symbols from their mysterious origins to their development as a widely used script, concluding with a brief discussion of their use in modern mystery and fantasy literature, including the runic adaptations of J. R. R. Tolkien. 112 pages. $18.95 (hb). ISBN 978-1-60606-448-1 Link.

 

Bede and Aethelthryth: An Introduction to Christian Latin Poetics, Stephen Harris (West Virginia University Press, 2016). Bede and Aethelthryth asks why Christians in Britain around the year 700 enjoyed Latin poetry. What did they see in it? What did they get from it? This book attempts to reconstruct the horizon of expectation of a highly learned, Latin-speaking nun as she encounters a fifty-line poem by the Venerable Bede, the Hymn to Aethelthryth. The reconstruction is hypothetical and derived from grammatical manuals, learned commentaries from the early medieval period (especially Servius's commentary on Virgil), and a wide variety of aesthetic observations by classical and medieval readers. The first four chapters describe basic expectations of a reader of Christian Latin poetry. The fifth chapter places the Hymn in its context within Bede's Ecclesiastical History. A few pages after Bede records his hymn, Caedmon will recite his own hymn under the watchful eye of Whitby's Abbess Hild, who was a friend of Aethelthryth. Both hymns are attempts to reform the lyric traditions of pagan Rome and pagan Anglo-Saxon England in the light of Christian teaching. The last three chapters contain a line-by-line commentary on Bede's alphabetic, epanaleptic elegy. 335p. $44.99 (hb). ISBN 978-1-940425-93-1 Link.

 

Anglo-Saxon Emotions, Eds. Alice Jorgensen, Frances McCormack (Routledge, 2015) Research into the emotions is beginning to gain momentum in Anglo-Saxon studies. In order to integrate early medieval Britain into the wider scholarly research into the history of emotions (a major theme in other fields and a key field in interdisciplinary studies), this volume brings together established scholars, who have already made significant contributions to the study of Anglo-Saxon mental and emotional life, with younger scholars. The volume presents a tight focus - on emotion (rather than psychological life more generally), on Anglo-Saxon England and on language and literature - with contrasting approaches that will open up debate. The volume considers a range of methodologies and theoretical perspectives, examines the interplay of emotion and textuality, explores how emotion is conveyed through gesture, interrogates emotions in religious devotional literature, and considers the place of emotion in heroic culture. Each chapter asks questions about what is culturally distinctive about emotion in Anglo-Saxon England and what interpretative moves have to be made to read emotion in Old English texts, as well as considering how ideas about and representations of emotion might relate to lived experience. Taken together the essays in this collection indicate the current state of the field and preview important work to come. By exploring methodologies and materials for the study of Anglo-Saxon emotions, particularly focusing on Old English language and literature, it will both stimulate further study within the discipline and make a distinctive contribution to the wider interdisciplinary conversation about emotions. 318 pages. $134.95 (hb). ISBN 9781472421692 Link.

 

The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium), Edited by Kazutomo Karasawa (D.S.Brewer, 2015) The late tenth-century Old English Metrical Calendar (traditionally known as Menologium) summarises, in the characteristic heroic diction and traditional metre of Old English poetry, the major course of the Anglo-Saxon liturgical year. It sets out, in a methodical structure based on the basic temporal framework of the solar/natural year, the locations of the major feasts widely observed in late Anglo-Saxon England. Such a work could have been a practical timepiece for reading the dates of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, for which it serves as a kind of prologue in the manuscript. The clearly domestic perspective of the poem, which fits in the manuscript context, is also noteworthy, while the poem also reveals various interesting characteristics in its grammar, vocabulary and prosody. This is the first full modern edition of the poem, and is accompanied by a facing translation. The introduction provides an extensive discussion of matter, content, style, and context, while the commentary offers further information. The volume also includes the texts and translations of a number of analogous works. 245 pages. $99.00 (hb). ISBN 9781843844099 Link.

 

Charters of Chertsey Abbey, Edited by Susan J. Kelly (Oxford University Press, 2015) This is the first complete modern edition of the early charters of Chertsey Abbey in Surrey, one of the most important of the English medieval monasteries, and one which appears to have had a nearly continuous existence from its seventh-century foundation until it was surrendered to Henry VIII's commissioners in 1537. The pre-Conquest archive is fairly small and has a poor reputation; indeed, the majority of the sixteen extant charters are obvious fabrications (which have their own importance in throwing light on the later medieval history of the house). But the archive does contain ancient documents of enormous interest: a charter which has claims to be the earliest surviving Anglo-Saxon diploma; a seventh-century episcopal charter; a diploma of King AEthelred 'the Unready' which adds to the evidence about the development of London around the year 1000; and an authentic writ of Edward the Confessor, again referring to London. In this volume all the extant diplomas are expertly edited, with extensive commentaries on their content and implications. A thorough introduction comprises a new synthesis of Chertsey's early history, discussion of the history of the archive and of the later medieval background to the fabrication of the purportedly early documents, and painstaking analysis of the history of the landed endowment. This volume also includes editions of four papal privileges said to have been obtained on the monastery's behalf in the Anglo-Saxon period, of which two or perhaps three are genuine or have a genuine basis. 200 Pages. $65.00 (hb). ISBN 9780197265567 Link.

 

Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A Bibliographical Handlist Of Manuscripts And Manuscript Fragments Written Or Owned In England Up To 1100, Helmut Gneuss and Michael Lapidge (University of Toronto Press, 2015). Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts is the first publication to list every surviving manuscript or manuscript fragment written in Anglo-Saxon England between the seventh and the eleventh centuries or imported into the country during that time. Each of the 1,291 entries in Helmut Gneuss and Michael Lapidge's Bibliographical Handlist not only details the origins, contents, current location, script, and decoration of the manuscript, but also provides bibliographic entries that list facsimiles, editions, linguistic analyses, and general studies relevant to that manuscript. A general bibliography, designed to provide full details of author-date references cited in the individual entries, includes more than 4,000 items. Compiled by two of the field's greatest living scholars, the Gneuss-Lapidge Bibliographical Handlist stands to become the most important single-volume research tool to appear in the field since Greenfield and Robinson's Bibliography of Publications on Old English Literature. Their achievement in the present book will endure for many decades and serve as a catalyst for new research across several disciplines. 960 Pages. $95.00 (hb). ISBN 9781442629271 Link.

 


Direct Speech in Beowulf and Other Old English Narrative Poems, Elise Louviot (D.S.Brewer, 2016) Some of the most celebrated passages of Old English poetry are speeches: Beowulf and Unferth's verbal contest, Hrothgar's words of advice, Satan's laments, Juliana's words of defiance, etc. Yet Direct Speech, as a stylistic device, has remained largely under-examined and under-theorized in studies of the corpus. As a consequence, many analyses are unduly influenced by anachronistic conceptions of Direct Speech, leading to problematic interpretations, not least concerning irony and implicit characterisation. This book uses linguistic theories to reassess the role of Direct Speech in Old English narrative poetry. Beowulf is given a great deal of attention, because it is a major poem and because it is the focus of much of the existing scholarship on this subject, but it is examined in a broader poetic context: the poem belongs to a wider tradition and thus needs to be understood in that context. The texts examined include several major Old English narrative poems, in particular the two Genesis, Christ and Satan, Andreas, Elene, Juliana and Guthlac A. 285 pages. $115.00 (hb). ISBN 9781843844341 Link.

 

The Cruciform Brooch and Anglo-Saxon England, Toby F. Martin (Boydell Press, 2015) Cruciform brooches were large and decorative items of jewellery, frequently used to pin together women's garments in pre-Christian northwest Europe. Characterised by the strange bestial visages that project from the feet of these dress and cloak fasteners, cruciform brooches were especially common in eastern England during the 5th and 6th centuries AD. For this reason, archaeologists have long associated them with those shadowy tribal originators of the English: the Angles of the Migration period. This book provides a multifaceted, holistic and contextual analysis of more than 2,000 Anglo-Saxon cruciform brooches. It offers a critical examination of identity in Early Medieval society, suggesting that the idea of being Anglian in post-Roman Britain was not a primordial, tribal identity transplanted from northern Germany, but was at least partly forged through the repeated, prevalent use of dress and material culture. Additionally, the particular women that were buried with cruciform brooches, and indeed their very funerals, played an important role in the process. These ideas are explored through a new typology and an updated chronology for cruciform brooches, alongside considerations of their production, exchange and use. The author also examines their geographical distribution through time and their most common archaeological contexts: the inhumation and cremation cemeteries of early Anglo-Saxon England. 406 pages. $120.00 (hb). ISBN 9781843839934 Link.

 

The Formation of the English Kingdom in the Tenth Century, George Molyneaux (Oxford University Press, 2015) The central argument of The Formation of the English Kingdom in the Tenth Century is that the English kingdom which existed at the time of the Norman Conquest was defined by the geographical parameters of a set of administrative reforms implemented in the mid- to late tenth century, and not by a vision of English unity going back to Alfred the Great (871-899). In the first half of the tenth century, successive members of the Cerdicing dynasty established a loose domination over the other great potentates in Britain. They were celebrated as kings of the whole island, but even in their Wessex heartlands they probably had few means to routinely regulate the conduct of the general populace. Detailed analysis of coins, shires, hundreds, and wapentakes suggests that it was only around the time of Edgar (957/9-975) that the Cerdicing kings developed the relatively standardised administrative apparatus of the so-called 'Anglo-Saxon state'. This substantially increased their ability to impinge upon the lives of ordinary people living between the Channel and the Tees, and served to mark that area off from the rest of the island. The resultant cleft undermined the idea of a pan-British realm, and demarcated the early English kingdom as a distinct and coherent political unit. In this volume, George Molyneaux places the formation of the English kingdom in a European perspective, and challenges the notion that its development was exceptional: the Cerdicings were only one of several ruling dynasties around the fringes of the former Carolingian Empire for which the late ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries were a time of territorial expansion and consolidation. 336 Pages. $110.00 (hb). ISBN 9780198717911 Link.

 

Old English Philology: Studies in Honour of R.D. Fulk, Edited by Leonard Neidorf, Rafael J. Pascual, Tom Shippey (D.S.Brewer, 2016) Robert D. Fulk is arguably the greatest Old English philologist to emerge during the twentieth century; his corpus of scholarship has fundamentally shaped contemporary understanding of many aspects of Anglo-Saxon literary history and English historical linguistics. This volume, in his honour, brings together essays which engage with his work and advance his research interests. Scholarship on historical metrics and the dating, editing, and interpretation of Old English poetry thus forms the core of this book; other topics addressed include syntax, phonology, etymology, lexicology, and paleography. An introductory overview of Professor Fulk's achievements puts these studies in context, alongside essays which assess his contributions to metrical theory and his profound impact on the study of Beowulf. By consolidating and augmenting Fulk's research, this collection takes readers to the cutting edge of Old English philology. 440 pages. $99.00 (hb). ISBN 9781843844389 Link.

 

The Idea of Anglo-Saxon England 1066-1901: Remembering, Forgetting, Deciphering, and Renewing the Past, John D. Niles (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015) The Idea of Anglo Saxon England, 1066-1901 presents the first systematic review of the ways in which Anglo-Saxon studies have evolved from their beginnings to the twentieth century. Tells the story of how the idea of Anglo-Saxon England evolved from the Anglo-Saxons themselves to the Victorians, serving as a myth of origins for the English people, their language, and some of their most cherished institutions. Combines original research with established scholarship to reveal how current conceptions of English identity might be very different if it were not for the discovery – and invention – of the Anglo-Saxon past. Reveals how documents dating from the Anglo-Saxon era have greatly influenced modern attitudes toward nationhood, race, religious practice, and constitutional liberties. Includes more than fifty images of manuscripts, early printed books, paintings, sculptures, and major historians of the era. 448 pages. $94.95 (hb). ISBN 978-1-118-94332-8 Link.

 

Old English Literature: A Guide to Criticism with Selected Readings, John D. Niles (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016) This review of the critical reception of Old English literature from 1900 to the present moves beyond a focus on individual literary texts so as to survey the different schools, methods, and assumptions that have shaped the discipline. Examines the notable works and authors from the period, including Beowulf, the Venerable Bede, heroic poems, and devotional literature. Reinforces key perspectives with excerpts from ten critical studies. Addresses questions of medieval literacy, textuality, and orality, as well as style, gender, genre, and theme. Embraces the interdisciplinary nature of the field with reference to historical studies, religious studies, anthropology, art history, and more. 352 pages. $94.95 (hb). ISBN 978-0-631-22056-5 Link.

 

Bede's Temple: An Image and its Interpretation, Conor O'Brien (Oxford University Press, 2015) This volume examines the use of the image of the Jewish temple in the writings of the Anglo-Saxon theologian and historian, Bede (d. 735). The various Jewish holy sites described in the Bible possessed multiple different meanings for Bede and therefore this imagery provides an excellent window into his thought. Bede's Temple: An Image and its Interpretation examines Bede's use of the temple to reveal his ideas of history, the universe, Christ, the Church, and the individual Christian. Across his wide body of writings Bede presented an image of unity, whether that be the unity of Jew and gentile in the universal Church, or the unity of human and divine in the incarnate Christ, and the temple-image provided a means of understanding and celebrating that unity. Conor O'Brien argues that Bede's understanding of the temple was part of the shared spirituality and communal discourse of his monastery at Wearmouth-Jarrow, in particular as revealed in the great illuminated Bible made there: the Codex Amiatinus. Studying the temple in Bede's works reveals not just an individual genius, but a monastic community engaged actively in scriptural interpretation and religious reflection. O'Brien makes an important contribution to our understanding of early Anglo-Saxon England's most important author, the world in which he lived, and the processes that inspired his work. 280 Pages. $110.00 (hb). ISBN 9780198747086 Link.

 

Old English Psalms, Edited and Translated Patrick P. O'Neill (Harvard University Press, 2016). Dumbarton Oaks. The Latin psalms figured prominently in the lives of the Anglo-Saxons, whether sung in the Divine Office by clerics, studied as a textbook for language learning by students, or recited in private devotion by lay people. They were also translated into Old English, first in prose and later in verse. Sometime in the middle of the eleventh century, the prose and verse translations were brought together and organized in a complementary sequence in a manuscript now known as the Paris Psalter. The prose version, traditionally attributed to King Alfred (d. 899), combines literal translation with interpretative clarification. In contrast, the anonymous Old English verse translation composed during the tenth century approaches the psalms in a spirit of prayer and devotion. Despite their differences, both reflect earnest attempts to capture the literal meaning of the psalms. The complete text of all 150 prose and verse psalms is available here in contemporary English for the first time. With this translation readers encounter the beginnings and the continuation of a long tradition of psalm renderings in English. 752 pages. $29.95 (hb). ISBN 9780674504752 Link.

 

The Political Writings of Archbishop Wulfstan of York, Andrew Rabin (Oxford University Press, 2015) Archbishop Wulfstan of York (d. 1023) is among the most important legal and political thinkers of the early Middle Ages. A leading ecclesiastic, innovative legislator, and influential royal councilor, Wulfstan witnessed firsthand the violence and social unrest that culminated in the fall of the English monarchy before the invading armies of Cnut in 1016. In his homilies and legal tracts, Wulfstan offered a searing indictment of the moral failures that led to England's collapse and formulated a vision of an ideal Christian community that would influence English political thought long after the Anglo-Saxon period had ended. Wulfstan was among the first medieval authors to envision a society organised into three orders: those who fight, those who labour, and those who pray-a model of social classification that would dominate European political thought up through the eighteenth century. More than just dry political theory, however, Wulfstan's works are composed in the distinctive voice of someone who was both a confidante of kings and a preacher of apocalyptic fervour. No other source so vividly portrays the political life of eleventh-century England: what it was, and what one man believed it could be. These works, many of which have never before been available in modern English, are collected here for the first time in new, extensively annotated translations that will help readers reassess one of the most turbulent periods in English history and re-evaluate the life of Anglo-Saxon England's most important political visionary. 256 Pages. $105.00 (hb). ISBN 9780719089749 Link.

 

Joinings: Compound Words In Old English Literature, Jonathan Davis-Secord (University of Toronto Press, 2016) The first comprehensive study of the use of compound words in Old English poetry, homilies, and philosophy, Joinings explores the effect of compounds on style, pace, clarity, and genre in Anglo-Saxon vernacular literature. Jonathan Davis-Secord demonstrates how compounds affect the pacing of passages in Beowulf, creating slow-motion narrative at moments of significant violence; how their structural complexity gives rhetorical emphasis to phrases in the homilies of Wulfstan; and how they help to mix quotidian and elevated diction in Cynewulf's Juliana and the Old English translations of Boethius. His work demonstrates that compound words were the epitome of Anglo-Saxon vernacular verbal art, combining grammar, style, and culture in a manner unlike any other feature of Old English. 272 Pages. $65.00 (hb). ISBN 9781442637399 Link.

 

The Anglo-Saxon Chancery: The History, Language and Production of Anglo-Saxon Charters from Alfred to Edgar, Ben Snook (Boydell Press, 2015) More charters survive from Anglo-Saxon England than texts of any other type. In a society in which the ownership of land was fundamental to status, wealth and power, the charters which gifted and guaranteed landholdings were crucial not only as legal documents but also as instruments of political power. As responsibility for their production was increasingly centralised at the royal court in the ninth and tenth centuries, charters also became vehicles for royal and religious propaganda, reflecting the dynamic and creative culture of tenth-century England. Through an analysis of the extraordinarily sophisticated Latin in which these documents were written, this book demonstrates the literary ambitions of their draughtsmen (who may certainly be considered as Anglo-Latin literary authors in their own right), and also sheds light on the political ideologies of Anglo-Saxon England's most powerful and enigmatic kings and churchmen. Most tantalising of all, perhaps, is the fact that the language of royal charters, which may preserve some of the very words uttered by the king, provides an unparalleled view of the mechanisms by which the developing kingdom of England was governed. Not only does it indicate the increasingly sophisticated bureaucracy of an administratively advanced state, but it also reveals an atmosphere of literary and cultural attainment, emanating directly from the king's court, as rich as any in the early medieval Insular world. 252 pages. $99.00 (hb). ISBN 9781783270064 Link.

 

The Politics Of Language: Byrhtferth, Aelfric, And The Multilingual Identity Of The Benedictine Reform, Rebecca Stephenson (University of Toronto Press, 2015) Old English literature thrived in late tenth-century England. Its success was the result of a concerted effort by the leaders of the Benedictine Reform movement to encourage both widespread literacy and a simple literary style. The manuscripts written in this era are the source for the majority of the Old English literature that survives today, including literary classics such as Beowulf. Yet the same monks who copied and compiled these important Old English texts themselves wrote in a rarified Latin, full of esoteric vocabulary and convoluted syntax and almost incomprehensible even to the well-educated. Comparing works by the two most prolific authors of the era, Byrhtferth of Ramsey and Ælfric of Eynsham, Rebecca Stephenson explains the politics that encouraged the simultaneous development of a simple English style and an esoteric Latin style. By examining developments in Old English and Anglo-Latin side by side, The Politics of Language opens up a valuable new perspective on the Benedictine Reform and literacy in the late Anglo-Saxon period. 232 Pages. $55.00 (hb). ISBN 9781442650589 Link.

 

Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, XII, Nottinghamshire, Paul Everson and David Stocker (Oxford University Press, 2016) Carved and decorated stone-work is a rare survival from the period before the Norman Conquest. In Nottinghamshire, it survives as large crosses and as small fragments--to be found in churches, in public spaces, and in museum collections. This is the first book to provide an authoritative listing, description, and illustration of all examples of this type of decorated stone sculpture in Nottinghamshire. Each example is illustrated in a substantial catalog containing high quality photographs, maps, and interpretative drawings. In the introductory chapters, the authors explore the geological and historical background of the sculptures and provide an overview of the types of style and ornament. The new information revealed by the systematic study of these major survivals of Anglo-Saxon art and archaeology demonstrates the major contribution that this category of material can make to an obscure and under-investigated period in Midlands history. Nottinghamshire emerges with a distinctive identity in the pre-conquest period, having strong connections both with the Mercian state to its south and with the Northumbrians to the north. 300 Pages. $135.00 (hb). ISBN 9780197265956 Link.

 

Sensory Perception in the Medieval West, S. Thomson, M. Bintley (eds.) (Brepols, 2016) An interdisciplinary exploration of the sensory experiences invited and explored by textual and material products of the medieval period. What was it like to experience the medieval world through one's senses? Can we access those past sensory experiences, and use our senses to engage with the medieval world? How do texts, objects, spaces, manuscripts, and language itself explore, define, exploit, and control the senses of those who engage with them? This collection of essays seeks to explore these challenging questions. To do so is inevitably to take an interdisciplinary and context-focused approach. As a whole, this book develops understanding of how different fields speak to one another when they are focused on human experiences, whether of those who used our sources in the medieval period, or of those who seek to understand and to teach those sources today. Articles by leading researchers in their respective fields examine topics including: Old English terminology for the senses, effects of the digitisation of manuscripts on scholarship, Anglo-Saxon explorations of non-human senses, scribal sensory engagement with poetry, the control of sound in medieval drama, bird sounds and their implications for Anglo-Saxon sensory perception, how goldwork controls the viewing gaze, legalised sensory impairment, and the exploitation of the senses by poetry, architecture, and cult objects. 254 p. €85.00 (hb). ISBN 978-2-503-56714-3 Link.

 

Inside Old English: Essays in Honour of Bruce Mitchell, John Walmsley, Editor (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016) Inside Old English: Essays in Honour of Bruce Mitchell offers readers a comprehensive insight into the world of Old English. Brings together original essays written by prominent specialists in the field in honour of Bruce Mitchell, the eminent Oxford scholar and co-author of the bestselling A Guide to Old English, 6th edition. Encourages readers to engage with the literary, cultural, intellectual, religious and historical contexts of Old English texts. Explores the problems scholars face in interpreting and editing Old English texts. Contributors provide authoritative and informative perspectives, drawing out connections between different contexts and pointing readers towards the essential secondary literature for each topic. 320 pages. $150.00 (hb). ISBN 978-1-119-12139-8 Link.

 

Imagining The Jew In Anglo-Saxon Literature And Culture, Edited by Samantha Zacher (University of Toronto Press, 2016) Most studies of Jews in medieval England begin with the year 1066, when Jews first arrived on English soil. Yet the absence of Jews in England before the conquest did not prevent early English authors from writing obsessively about them. Using material from the writings of the Church Fathers, contemporary continental sources, widespread cultural stereotypes, and their own imaginations, their depictions of Jews reflected their own politico-theological experiences. The thirteen essays in Imagining the Jew in Anglo-Saxon Literature and Culture examine visual and textual representations of Jews, the translation and interpretation of Scripture, the use of Hebrew words and etymologies, and the treatment of Jewish spaces and landmarks. By studying the "imaginary Jews" of Anglo-Saxon England, they offer new perspectives on the treatment of race, religion, and ethnicity in pre- and post-conquest literature and culture. 376 pages. $80.00 (hb). ISBN 9781442646674 Link.