Beowulf and Other StoriesA New Introduction to Old English, Old Icelandic and Anglo-Norman Literatures
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Beowulf & Other Stories was first conceived in the belief that the study of Old English and its close cousins, Old Icelandic and Anglo-Norman can be a genuine delight, covering a period as replete with wonder, creativity and magic as any other in literature.
Beowulf & Other Stories captures the fire and bloodlust of the great epic, Beowulf, and the sophistication and eroticism of the Exeter Riddles. Fresh interpretations give new life to the spiritual ecstasy of The Seafarer and to the imaginative dexterity of The Dream of the Rood, andprovide the student and general reader with all they might need to explore and enjoy this complex but rewarding field. The book sheds light, too, on the shadowy contexts of the period, with suggestive and highly readable essays on matters ranging from the dynamism of the Viking Age to Anglo-Saxon input into The Lord of the Rings, from the great religious prose works to the transition from Old to Middle English. Peter S. Baker provides an outstanding guide to taking your first steps in the Old English language, while David Crystal provides a crisp linguistic overview of the entire period.
List of plates and maps
Preface to the second edition
1. Why read Old English Literature?
An introduction to this book
Richard North, David Crystal and Joe Allard
Names to Look Out For
Joe Allard and Richard North
2. Is it relevant?
Old English influence on The Lord of the Rings
3. Is violence what Old English literature is about?
Beowulf and other battlers: an introduction to Beowulf
4. Is there more like Beowulf?
Old English minor heroic poems
5. What else is there?
Joyous Play and Bitter Tears: the Riddles and the Elegies
6. How Christian is OE literature?
The Dream of the Rood and Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Éamonn O Carragáin and Richard North
7. How did OE literature start?
Cædmon the cowherd and Old English biblical verse
Bryan Weston Wyly
8. Were all the poets monks?
Monasteries and courts: Alcuin and Offa
9. What was it like to be in the Anglo-Saxon or Viking World?
Material culture: archaeology and text
10. Did the Anglo-Saxons write fiction?
Old English prose: King Alfred and his books
11. How difficult is the Old English language?
The Old English language
Peter S. Baker
12. When were the Vikings in England?
Viking wars and The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Notes on the Old Norse language
13. What gods did the Vikings worship?
Viking religion: Old Norse mythology
14. Just who were the Vikings anyway?
Sagas of Icelanders
15. Were there stories in late OE literature?
Prose writers of the English Benedictine Reform
16. What happened when the Normans arrived?
Anglo-Norman literature: the road to Middle English
The end of Old English?
The editors and the contributors
Richard North teaches Old and Middle English at University College London, and is author of Heathen Gods in Old English Literature (1997) and The Origins of Beowulf (2006).
Joe Allard teaches at the University of Essex. He translates and publishes contemporary Icelandic poetry and fiction, and has written extensively on medieval Icelandic prose and poetry.