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ANCIENT PRIVILEGES
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summary
One of the great triumphs of nineteenth-century philology was the development of the wide array of comparative data that underpins the grammars of the Old Germanic dialects, such as Old English, Old Icelandic, Old Saxon, and Gothic. These led to the reconstruction of Common Germanic and Proto-Germanic languages. Many individuals have forgotten that scholars of the same period were interested in reconstructing the body of ancient law that was supposedly shared by all speakers of Germanic. Stefan Jurasinski's Ancient Privileges: Beowulf, Law, and the Making of the Germanic Antiquity recounts how the work of nineteenth-century legal historians actually influenced the editing of Old English texts, most notably Beowulf, in ways that are still preserved in our editions. This situation has been a major contributor to the archaizing of Beowulf. In turn, Jurasinski's careful analysis of its assumptions in light of contemporary research offers a model for scholars to apply to a number of other textual artifacts that have been affected by what was known as the historische Rechtsschule. At the very least, it will change the way you think about Beowulf.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Series Information
  2. pp. 2-5
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-6
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  1. Abbreviations
  2. pp. vi-7
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Introduction: “The Forests Of Germany”: Legal History and the Inheritance of Philology
  2. pp. 1-22
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  1. Jakob Grimm, Legal Formalism and the Editing of Beowulf
  2. pp. 23-48
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  1. “Public Land,” Germanic Egalitarianism, and Nineteenth-century Philology
  2. pp. 49-78
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  1. The Ecstasy of Vengeance: Nineteenth-century Germanism and the Finn Episode
  2. pp. 79-112
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  1. Feohleas Gefeoht: Accidental Homicide and the Hrethel Episode
  2. pp. 113-148
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  1. Conclusions: Law and the Archaism of Beowulf
  2. pp. 149-156
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 157-180
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 181-183
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  1. Back Cover
  2. pp. 193-193
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