Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

Thomas Cable, University of Texas at Austin

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pp. ix-xii

THE TITLE OF GEOFFREY RUSSOM’S first book, Old English Meter and Linguistic Theory (Cambridge University Press, 1987), stated the double goal that has guided his scholarly career. There was a time in medieval studies when the aim of conjoining poetics and linguistics would have seemed unremarkable, indeed natural and necessary. The world was that way when Rick was a graduate student. In the decades since, departmental and disciplinary drift have made it necessary for couriers to travel back and forth between the territories. Eventually, as islands split off and communication became increasingly difficult, bridges had to be built, and simple couriers found that they had to acquire the knowledge and wisdom of emissaries. To the benefit of the profession and of areas across boundaries, Rick has been an exemplary bridge-builder and emissary....

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Introduction

Lindy Brady and M. J. Toswell

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pp. 1-8

GEOFFREY RUSSOM’S RARE GIFT to elucidate—and to value—both the metrical abilities and artistic accomplishments of Old English poets defines his scholarship. His comments on Beowulf in Milman Parry’s Festschrift encapsulate this generous and intelligent approach, which scintillates in all of his work, both scholarly and pedagogic. Noting that “the study of Beowulf has suffered from an unfortunate polarization of opinion,” Russom concludes, “to me the Beowulf-poet’s refinement of language and loyalty to oral tradition seem equally remarkable.”1 He finds a way to bring what are generally opposing forces together, pointing out the synergies and connections, arguing that the Beowulf poet was both sophisticated in language use, and aware of the tradition of storytelling and oral material available for use. As Thomas Cable’s foreword to this...

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Secg betsta and ðegn betstan: A Reconsideration of the Short Verses in Beowulf

Jun Terasawa, University of Tokyo

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pp. 9-20

FREDERICK KLAEBER’S THIRD EDITION of Beowulf had long been the standard edition for advanced scholars as well as for students.1 In 2008, Klaeber’s classic was revised and brought up to date by R. D. Fulk, Robert E. Bjork, and John D. Niles.2 While following the basic form and organization of Klaeber’s third edition, the new fourth edition (hereafter Fulk-Bjork-Niles) deviates from its predecessor in some respects. One of the divergences arises in the treatment of the following two epithets for Beowulf given below in the manuscript forms:...

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Particle Verses in Old English and Eddic Poetry

R. D. Fulk, Indiana University, Bloomington

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pp. 21-38

ALTHOUGH THE PRESENT VOLUME is designed to honor a great scholar in the field of English and Germanic linguistics, it is the contributors who doubtless feel most honored, having been invited to address him on topics to which he has introduced us with such insight and clarity of vision. His generosity to fellow scholars is unmatched....

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Old English Verse Punctuation and Linguistic Theory

Daniel Donoghue, Harvard University

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pp. 39-60

OUR HONORAND BREATHED NEW life into the study of Old English meter with his astute application of linguistic theory, drawing in particular from the ideas of Paul Kiparsky, first in his Old English and Linguistic Theory and again eleven years later with Beowulf and Old Germanic Metre.1 A few years after the publication of Geoffrey Russom’s first book, Geoffrey Nunberg published The Linguistics of Punctuation, which extended the principles of linguistic theory in yet another new direction.2 Nunberg’s book has fallen victim to disciplinary nearsightedness, because while it has been cited in studies in a number of other fields (e.g., computational linguistics, education) it has not so far as I know fallen under the appreciative gaze of literary or textual criticism.3...

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Boars and the Geats in Beowulf

Lindy Brady, University of Mississippi

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pp. 61-72

IN TRIBUTE TO OUR honorand’s field-shaping scholarship on Beowulf and Germanic literature, this chapter argues that the seven passages in Beowulf which link eofor or swín to armor, weapons, or other war equipment have literary significance in the narrative structure of the poem.1 These passages have been previously explored for their archaeological resonances, but they also share two curious (and unaddressed) features: they occur only in the first two-thirds of the poem, before Beowulf becomes king, and half of them take place at moments of defeat or tragedy.sup>2 It is the latter which complicates readings of the boar as a purely protective symbol on weapons and armor. In other words, while the memorable...

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New Applications for Word-Foot Theory

Megan E. Hartman, University of Nebraska at Kearney

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pp. 73-92

GEOFFREY RUSSOM’S WORD-FOOT THEORY stands out from other studies of early Germanic poetic form because where other scholars ask what, Russom asks why: word-foot theory was developed to explain what motivated poets to make the choices they did. In doing so, Russom reminds scholars that not only the poets, but also the audience, pay attention to metrical patterns. Although Anglo-Saxon interlocutors would not have scanned the poems in the same way that modern scholars do, they would still have needed to understand the metrical patterns being used to appreciate the aesthetics of the poetry. Good poetry...

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The Old English Metrical Psalms: Practice and Theory of Translation

Haruko Momma, New York University

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pp. 93-110

The Old English Metrical Psalms are a remarkable set of texts with a string of superlatives attached to them. First, this is by far the longest extant body of Anglo-Saxon verse to be attributed to a single poet or at least to a single project. The metrical psalms of the Paris Psalter alone add up to 5,040 alliterative long-lines; but they are, strictly speaking, a fragment in that they begin at Psalm 51 in the manuscript.1 Smaller fragments of metrical psalms are found in three other manuscripts: the so-called Benedictine Office or the Junius Office (129 lines), the Eadwine Psalter (169 lines), and the Menologium (3 lines).2 Because some of the metrical psalms quoted in the Junius Office come from the first fifty psalms, these fragments, large and small, are likely to have ultimately derived from a common source that...

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Polyptoton in Old English Texts

M. J. Toswell, University of Western Ontario

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pp. 111-130

IN THE ROYAL PSALTER, in many ways one of the most intriguing manuscripts of the late tenth century in Anglo-Saxon England, there occurs a bilingual proverb: Selre byð oft feðre þænne oferfeðre, translated by Arngart as “Better often loaded than overloaded.”1 In his book on maxims, Paul Cavill simply provides this proverb, noting that it also appears in the Durham Proverbs and that it is a translation from the Latin Meliora plura quam grauia honera fiunt. His conclusion in the section is that the “fairly large number of proverbs in Old English that derive from non-native sources, both learned and popular, makes evident the fact that proverbs were a means by which lore and learning were transmitted.”2 Earlier in the...

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Confessio et Oratio: An Unrecognized Old English Confessional Poem

Thomas A. Bredehoft

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pp. 131-148

In the summer of 2005, while spending a few days working with manuscripts at the British Library, I was fortunate enough to be granted access to the Royal Psalter, a large and beautiful tenth-century English manuscript.1 I was consulting this book for a couple of small poetic scraps it was known to contain: the Latin-English Proverbs printed by Dobbie in The Anglo-Saxon Minor Poems and the Royal scholion, which Mechthild Gretsch’s work on the Royal Psalter had brought to my attention.2 But, as one does, I also took the opportunity to look at the rest of the book as well, and I was, I have to admit, entirely surprised to turn to the very end of the book and find an unrecognized Old English poem, beneath the...

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Alliterative Meter after 1450: The Vision of William Banastre

Eric Weiskott, Boston College

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pp. 149-180

NEW INDEX OF MIDDLE English Verse (NIMEV) 1967.8 is a verse prophecy extant in two fifteenth- and sixteenth-century manuscripts.1 The Vision of William Banastre, as I title it, has received no critical attention and has never been edited. The poem combines the tradition of vatic, anti-Saxon prophecy inherited from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Brittaniae (ca. 1138) with oblique references to early fourteenth- and mid-fifteenth-century politics. The work offers at least one first-rate literary effect, an extended simile comparing a hopeless siege to sailing upwind with no rudder (ll. 7–9). The organization of prophetic language into an interview with God, conducted by Sir William Banastre,...

Publications of Geoffrey Richard Russom

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pp. 181-186