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Beowulf and Other Stories: A New Introduction to Old English, Old Icelandic and Anglo-Norman Literatures
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Beowulf and Other Stories: A New Introduction to Old English, Old Icelandic and Anglo-Norman Literatures [Format Kindle]

Joe Allard , Richard North

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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. Now in a fully revised second edition, the collection of essays written by leading academics in the field is set to build upon its established reputation as the standard introduction to the literatures of the time.

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. It also branches out into related traditions, with expert introductions to the Icelandic Sagas, Viking Religion and Norse Mythology. 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.

With a new chapter by Mike Bintley on Anglo-Saxon archaeology and a revised chapter by Stewart Brookes on the prose writers of the English Benedictine Reform, this updated second edition will be essential reading for students of the period.

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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Updated edition a great find for the learned layperson as well as the committed scholar 19 avril 2013
Par Laura A. Wideburg - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This collection of essays on all things Beowulf (as well as Old Norse literature) is a fantastic find. The authors, although credentialed scholars, write for a wider audience and are not afraid to use humor and common sense. There is no hiding behind scholarly jargon here. The authors are committed to showing why this field is so much fun. Included are brief overviews of both Old English and Old Icelandic for those who have become a bit rusty since graduate school. It has pride of place in my shelf, where I have used it as part of my course on Swedish History.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I Very Nearly Weep at the Waste 22 mars 2014
Par JB - Publié sur
This book might appear to have been conceived in rather a combative spirit; a spirit fired by the frustration at the apparent demise of Old English and with it Old Norse, Celtic and Anglo-Norman literature.

The authors remind us that in 99% of schools Old English isn't taught at all, and in fact makes an appearance in only 10% of university departments. And those are figures from the UK. One would hope at this point for a lead from the great and good of our contemporary literary scene, a cry to raise the standard and prepare for battle to save the language of Beowulf.

The cry does not go out, instead there's a quiet concurrence when Giles Coren opines that actually 'Beowulf is rubbish', with 'no more moral or intellectual development than in a gory video game'. Even the venerable AN Wilson is forced to agree, deeply regretting his seven years teaching the language at Oxford - when he could have been schooling students in Dante or Goethe - 'I very nearly weep at the waste', he sighs.

So, how in this frosty and somewhat hostile intellectual climate, do the authors propose to germinate the seeds of interest in these 'dead' languages?

First, they take a chatty and informal approach to introducing their subjects; language is deliberately casual, very different from that of most other books in this field. Comparisons are made between OE and verses by Nirvana and Travis when discussing moods of depression in texts. Linguistic difficulties are made light of... 'How hard is Old English?' Peter S. Baker asks at one point: 'The short answer is not very'. Everything is slanted to engage the reader from the off, kindling those embers of inquisitiveness and making sure not to dowse them with the cold waters of grammatical correctness. There's little in the way of verb or noun tables here, no tedious learning by rote how to decline 'fremman' or 'nerian'. Instead we have a lively series of essays from experts in the field, ranging from the relevance of OE today to the development of Anglo-Norman literature and the road to Middle English.

At its heart, this a comprehensive overview of OE, Old Norse etc and will inspire many readers to explore further. Poems or prose in the original are introduced whenever possible, the reader's hand being held with accompanying full translations. Full colour illustrations add another dimension to the experience.

Whatever your level of knowledge, it's likely that Beowulf and Other Stories will flatter it, and therein lies the intelligence in the presentation of this book: it will inspire rather than bore, driving the reader on just a little further with each newly introduced idea. I just wished it had existed when I was at school and that it hadn't taken me so long to come to OE: I very nearly weep at the waste too.
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