Spolia-Inflected Poetics of the Old English Andreas


Throughout this essay, I focus on the spolium, a fragment charged with meaning that crosses several boundaries, in order to illuminate the poetics of a notoriously idiosyncratic Anglo-Saxon text, the poem now called Andreas. After a short introduction to several literal and metaphorical instances of recycling of objets d'art in the early Middle Ages, on the Continent, and in England, I discuss in detail two episodes in Andreas in which animated artifacts appear as both results of and participants in spoliation—the angel sculpture from a temple set in motion by Jesus and the water-issuing marble column from the Mermedonian dungeon activated by Andrew.