Authors, Audiences, and Old English Verse re-examines the Anglo-Saxon poetic tradition from the eighth to the eleventh centuries and reconsiders the significance of formulaic parallels and the nature of poetic authorship in Old English.
Benny Andrews loved to draw. He drew his nine brothers and sisters, and his parents. He drew the red earth of the fields where they all worked, the hot sun that beat down, and the rows and rows of crops. As Benny hauled buckets of water, he made pictures in his head. And he dreamed of a better life—something beyond the segregation, the…
Offering a new vision of much of Old English literary history, Thomas A. Bredehoft traces a tradition of 'literate-formulaic' composition in the period and contends that many phrases conventionally considered oral formulas are in fact borrowings or quotations. His identification of previously unrecognized Old English poems and his innovative arguments about the dates, places of composition, influences, and even possible authors for a variety of tenth- and eleventh-century poems illustrate that the failure of scholars to recognize the late Old English verse tradition has seriously hampered our literary understanding of the period. Provocative and bold, Authors, Audiences and Old English Verse has the potential to transform modern understandings of the classical Old English poetic tradition.
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