Old English Literature: A Guide to Criticism with Selected by John D. Niles

By John D. Niles

This assessment of the serious reception of previous English literature from 1900 to the current strikes past a spotlight on person literary texts on the way to survey the several faculties, equipment, and assumptions that experience formed the discipline.

  • Examines the outstanding works and authors from the interval, together with Beowulf, the Venerable Bede, heroic poems, and devotional literature
  • Reinforces key views with excerpts from ten severe studies
  • Addresses questions of medieval literacy, textuality, and orality, in addition to variety, gender, style, and theme
  • Embraces the interdisciplinary nature of the sphere as regards to old reviews, non secular reviews, anthropology, artwork heritage, and more

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In many regards though not all, Tolkien’s view of the poem is consistent with Klaeber’s. Both experts subscribe to a unitarian view of the poem: that is to say, each of them views it as a structural unity that is the creation of a single author looking back to the legendary past. As Tolkien puts the matter, the poem was obviously composed by ‘an Englishman using afresh ancient and largely traditional material’ (p. 8). Like Klaeber, Tolkien ascribes that act of composition to somewhere in the north of Britain during roughly the age of Bede.

46 David Knowles, The Monastic Order in England: A History of its Development from the Times of St. Dunstan to the Fourth Lateran Council, 940–1216 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1940; 2nd edn, 1963). Knowles’s complementary study The Religious Orders in England, 3 vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1948–59), deals with the period after 1216. W. Robertson, Jr, A Preface to Chaucer: Studies in Medieval Perspectives (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1962). 45 20 Main Currents in Twentieth-Century Criticism chapter.

It remains a mystery how these same British Isles also came to produce such authors as Shakespeare, Fielding, and Dickens, among other writers unencumbered by an unrelievedly soggy disposition. In his concept of Anglo‐Saxon poetry as being essentially primitive in spirit, Anderson reveals himself to be a man of his time. ’ An example he cites is the ‘tumultuous carnage’ of The Battle of Brunanburh, a poem that he associates with the pagan past even though it was composed in mid‐tenth‐century England.

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