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WV MEDIEVEAL EUROPEAN STUDIES

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ANCIENT PRIVILEGES

"BEOWULF,LAW, AND THEMAKING OF GERMANIC ANTIQUITY"

STEFAN JURASINSKI

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.

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Bede and Aethelthryth

An Introduction to Christian Latin Poetics

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The Book of Emperors

A Translation of the Middle High German Kaiserchronik

edited by Henry A. Myers

The Kaiserchronik (c.1152–1165) is the first verse chronicle to have been written in a language other than Latin. This story recounts the exploits of the Roman, Byzantine, Carolingian, and Holy Roman kings and rulers, from the establishment of Rome to the start of the Second Crusade. As an early example of popular history, it was written for a non-monastic audience who would have preferred to read, or may only have been able to read, in German. As a rhymed chronicle, its combined use of the styles of language found within a vernacular epic and a factual treaty was a German innovation. The Book of Emperors is the first complete translation of the Kaiserchronik from Middle High German to English. It is a rich resource not only for medieval German scholars and students, but also for those working in early cultural studies. It brings together an understanding of the conception of kingship in the German Middle Ages, from the relationship between emperor and king, to the moral, theological, and legal foundations of claims and legitimacy and the medieval epistemological approaches to historiography. This translation includes a substantial introduction that discusses the historical and philological context of the work, as well as the themes of power and kingship. Each chapter begins with a brief introduction that distinguishes historical truths from the epic fiction found within the original text.

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INNOVATION AND TRADITION IN THE WRITINGS OF THE VENERABLE BEDE

SCOTT DEGREGORIO

Works prior to this book focused on Bede as not only a European, but also as an English scholar, historian, scientist, or a biographer of saints, and have used a traditional approach towards his explanation of the Bible. Bede's interpretation of his work, its continuous progress, and the reasons behind his hurried appointment to an authority almost as high as the Church Fathers are all topics examined within the text. Essays are by Roger Ray, Faith Wallis, Calvin B. Kendall, George Hardin Brown, Scott DeGregorio, Arthur G. Holder, Lawrence T. Martin, Walter Goffart, and Joyce Hill.

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Isidorean Perceptions of Order

The Exeter Book Riddles and Medieval Latin Enigmata

Mercedes Salvador-Bello

This book discusses the considerable influence exerted by Isidore’s Etymologiae on the compilation of early medieval enigmata. Either in the form of thematic clusters or pairs, Isidorean encyclopedic patterns are observed not only in major Latin riddle collections in verse but can also be detected in the two vernacular assemblages contained in the Exeter Book. 

As with encyclopedias, the topic-centered arrangement of riddles was pursued by compilers as a strategy intended to optimize the didactic and instructional possibilities inherent in these texts and favor the readers’ assimilation of their contents. This book thus provides a thoroughgoing investigation of medieval riddling, with special attention to the Exeter Book Riddles, demonstrating that this genre constituted an important part of the school curriculum of the early Middle Ages.

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The Old English Poem Seasons for Fasting

A Critical Edition

Seasons for Fasting, a late Old English poem probably composed in the early eleventh century, focuses on proper fasting observances in England. This poem, composed in eight-line stanzas, survives only in a sixteenth-century transcript made by the antiquary Laurence Nowell. With its topics, vocabulary, sources, and style derived from those of contemporary ecclesiastical prose, it belongs to a school of late tenth/early eleventh century poetry that only now is coming to be recognized and defined.

The Old English Poem Seasons for Fasting: A Critical Edition provides a new text and translation of the poem, accompanied by an extensive introduction, commentary, and glossary. The introduction includes analyses of the poem’s manuscript origins, sources, language, meter, style, and structure. The text is collated with all previous editions. The commentary elucidates points of grammar and style, and justifies all editorial decisions. The glossary covers every instance of each word in the poem.

Since its discovery among the papers of Laurence Nowell in 1934, the poem has had only four editions, two of the text with basic notes, and two in doctoral theses with more commentary and analysis. This new edition brings the latest resources on manuscript study, lexicon (through the Concordance and Dictionary of Old English A-G), poetics, and cultural milieu to bear on this fascinating poem. The apparatus, including the glossary, will allow fellow scholars to extend these findings through links to their own work.

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