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The Cambridge History of Early Medieval English Literature


  • 16 b/w illus. 1 map
  • Page extent: 806 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 1.27 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 820.9/001
  • Dewey version: 23
  • LC Classification: PR255 .C347 2013
  • LC Subject headings:
    • English literature--Middle English, 1100-1500--History and criticism
    • LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh.--bisacsh

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521190589)

Informed by multicultural, multidisciplinary perspectives, The Cambridge History of Early Medieval English Literature offers a new exploration of the earliest writing in Britain and Ireland, from the end of the Roman Empire to the mid-twelfth century. Beginning with an account of writing itself, as well as of scripts and manuscript art, subsequent chapters examine the earliest texts from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and the tremendous breadth of Anglo-Latin literature. Chapters on English learning and literature in the ninth century and the later formation of English poetry and prose also convey the profound cultural confidence of the period. Providing a discussion of essential texts, including Beowulf and the writings of Bede, this History captures the sheer inventiveness and vitality of early medieval literary culture through topics as diverse as the literature of English law, liturgical and devotional writing, the workings of science and the history of women's writing.

• A new literary historical account of the early Middle Ages in Britain and Ireland • Will appeal to all students and scholars of early medieval literature - English, Latin, Irish, Scottish, Gaelic, Welsh and Anglo-Scandinavian • Offers the most recent scholarship about early medieval literature, informed by historical, cultural and linguistic factors • Designed to appeal to a wide audience of informed and interested readers as a consultative reference work


Introduction: literature in Britain and Ireland, 500–1150 Clare A. Lees; Part I. Word, Script and Image: 1. Writing in Britain and Ireland, 400–800 Julia M. H. Smith; 2. The art of writing: scripts and scribal production Julia Crick; 3. Art and writing: voice, image, object Catherine E. Karkov; 4. Of Bede's 'Five Languages and Four Nations': the earliest writing from Ireland, Scotland and Wales Máire Ní Mhaonaigh; 5. Insular Latin literature to 900 Rosalind Love; 6. Bede and the northern kingdoms S. M. Rowley; Part II. Early English Literature: 7. Across borders: Anglo-Saxon England and the Germanic world Rolf H. Bremmer, Jr; 8. English literature in the ninth century Susan Irvine; 9. The writing of history in the early Middle Ages: the Anglo-Saxon chronicle in context Renée R. Trilling; 10. The literary languages of Old English: words, styles, voices Joshua Davies; 11. Old English poetic form: genre, style, prosody Haruko Momma; 12. Beowulf: a poem in our time Gillian R. Overing; 13. Old English lyrics: a poetics of experience Kathleen Davis; 14. Literature in pieces: female sanctity and the relics of early women's writing Diane Watt; 15. Saintly lives: friendship, kinship, gender and sexuality L. M. C. Weston; 16. Sacred history and Old English religious poetry Andrew Scheil; 17. Performing Christianity: liturgical and devotional writing Christopher A. Jones; 18. Riddles, wonder and responsiveness in Anglo-Saxon literature Patricia Dailey; Part III. Latin Learning and the Literary Vernaculars: 19. In measure, and number, and weight: writing science R. M. Liuzza; 20. Legal documentation and the practice of English law Lisi Oliver; 21. Latinities, 893–1143 David Townsend; 22. The authority of English, 900–1150 Elaine Treharne; 23. Crossing the language divide: Anglo-Scandinavian language and literature Russell Poole; 24. European literature and eleventh-century England Thomas O' Donnell, Matthew Townend and Elizabeth M. Tyler; 25. Gaelic literature in Ireland and Scotland, 900–1150 Thomas Clancy; 26. Writing in Welsh to 1150: re-creating the past, shaping the future Sioned Davies.


'This wide-ranging collection of essays surveys British and Irish literature of the early Middle Ages in all its linguistic variety and complexity … The value of this volume lies not just in its inclusion of the expected viewed in new ways but also in giving space to what is too often left out … Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, faculty.' D. W. Hayes, Choice

'The intention of The New Cambridge History of English Literature [series] is to offer 'a broad synthesis and contextual survey of the history of English literature' that couples 'fresh perspectives' and 'essential exposition' in an 'accessible narrative'. This volume succeeds admirably in combining those goals … [It] offers a vision of an exciting and expansive literary culture of endless interpenetration, interlingual inventiveness, and ideological appropriation.' E. J. Christie, Speculum


Clare A. Lees, Julia M. H. Smith, Julia Crick, Catherine E. Karkov, Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, Rosalind Love, S. M. Rowley, Rolf H. Bremmer, Jr, Susan Irvine, Renée R. Trilling, Joshua Davies, Haruko Momma, Gillian R. Overing, Kathleen Davis, Diane Watt, L. M. C. Weston, Andrew Scheil, Christopher A. Jones, Patricia Dailey, R. M. Liuzza, Lisi Oliver, David Townsend, Elaine Treharne, Russell Poole, Thomas O'Donnell, Matthew Townend, Elizabeth M. Tyler, Thomas Clancy, Sioned Davies

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