Book Series Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy, vol. 58

Old English Poetry from Manuscript to Message

Peter Lucas

  • Pages: xviii + 398 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:2 b/w, 14 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2024

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60031-4
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60032-1
  • E-book
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Explores a variety of contexts of Old English poetry, including manuscript studies, metre, textual problems, and broader themes and readings.


Peter J. Lucas, presently Honorary Research Associate at the Department of Anglo-Saxon Norse and Celtic in the University of Cambridge, is Emeritus Professor of Old and Middle English at University College Dublin.


By comparison with Latin Europe, Anglo-Saxon civilization is notable for the amount of literature preserved in contemporary manuscripts in the vernacular language, formerly called ‘Anglo-Saxon’ but now more usually called ‘Old English’. This literature includes some remarkable poetry, which is the subject of the present collection of essays. Some of the earliest poems may well have been written at a time when northern England held the intellectual leadership of Europe. The approach is holistic, investigating important issues in the manuscripts that affect the integrity of the texts to be studied or the way they relate to each other, examining metrical issues that affect the way the poems are appreciated for their compositional skill, studying particular textual problems that require elucidation or even emendation to make the meaning clear, and finally offering readings of particular poems focussing on themes that are central to Old English poetry. A postscript examines Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, which is presented as a ‘Stanza of Anglo-Saxon Poetry’.



Section A: Manuscripts


1. The Place of Judith in the Beowulf-Manuscript

2. The Vercelli Book Revisited

3. The Structure of the Junius Manuscript, with a Survey of Places of Possible Loss

4. On the Incomplete Ending of Daniel and the Addition of Christ and Satan to MS Junius 11

Section B: Metre


5. Some Aspects of the Interaction between Verse Grammar and Metre in Old English Poetry

6. On the Rôle of Some Adverbs in Old English Verse Grammar

7. The Metrical Epilogue to the Alfredian Pastoral Care: A Postscript from Junius

8. Franciscus Junius and the Versification of Judith

Section C: Textual Problems


9. Beowulf 214: eolet æt ende

10. Andreas 733b

11. Christ III 1476b

12. The Seafarer 62b, anfloga: Lone Ranger or Away-day Flier?

13. Genesis B 623-5: Part of the Speech to Eve?

14. Exodus 480: mod gerymde

15. Exodus 265: ægnian

16. Daniel 276

Section D: Readings


17. Loyalty and Obedience in the Old English Genesis and the Interpolation of Genesis B into Genesis A

18. Sengeley in synglere. The Language of the Loner: From Splendid Isolation to 'Individual' in Early English Poetry?

19. The Cross in Exodus

20. Easter, the Death of Saint Guthlac and the Liturgy for Holy Saturday in Felix’s Vita and the Old English Guthlac B

21. Judith and the Woman Hero

Section E: Postscript

22. From Jabberwocky back to Old English: Nonsense, Anglo-Saxon, and Oxford


Publications by Peter L. Lucas aetatis suae LXXX

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