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Guide to Old English
Synopses & Reviews
A Guide to Old English is now the standard and most popular introduction to Old English language and literature. The fifth edition has been revised and corrected to take into account suggestions from teachers and students. The two most important new features are a substantial introduction to Old English metre (Appendix C of Part One) and the addition of Ælfric's account of Edmund King and Martyr to the prose texts of Part Two.
Key features of Part One are the fact that sound changes are not treated as an abstract system divorced from the texts, but are discussed when they become relevant to an understanding of the apparent irregularities in inflexion; the authoritative section on syntax; and the introduction to Anglo-Saxon studies, which discusses language, literature, history, archaeology, and ways of life. In Part Two the prose texts selected are those traditionally chosen by teachers precisely because they offer the best introduction to the literature and culture of the period. The verse texts, which with the exception of four extracts from Beowulf are all complete, show something of the range that Old English poetry offers in mood, intensity of feeling, humour, and natural observation. The texts are accompanied by full explanatory notes at the foot of the page and a detailed glossary.
Although most readers of A Guide to Old English will be undergraduate and graduate students, the book has been written so that it can be used by those working on their own who wish simply to gain a greater understanding and enjoyment of the language and literature of the Anglo-Saxons.
About the Author
Bruce Mitchell is Fellow Emeritus of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford.
Fred C. Robinson is Douglas Tracy Smith Professor of English at Yale University.
Table of Contents
Foreword to the Fifth Edition.
Abbreviations and Symbols.
How to Use this Guide.
1. Preliminary Remarks an the Language.
2. Orthography and Pronunciation.
Nouns and Sound-Changes Relevant to Them.
Observations on Noun, Adjective, and Pronoun Declensions.
Strong Verbs and Sound-Changes Relevant to Them.
Weak Verbs and Sound Changes Relevant to Them.
Is a Verb Strong or Weak? To which Class does it Belong?.
4. Word Formation.
The Addition of Affixes.
The Uses of the Cases.
Articles, Pronouns, and Numerals.
6. An Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Studies.
Some Significant Dates.
7. Select Bibliography.
Appendix A: Strong Verbs.
Appendix B: Some Effects of i-Mutation.
Appendix C: Metre.
Part II: Prose and Verse Texts:.
8. Practice Sentences.
9. Two Old Testament Pieces.
10. A Colloquy on the Occupations.
11. Two Characteristic Prose Works by Ælfric.
12. Alfred the Great's Preface to his Translation of Gregory's Pastoral Care.
13. Cynewulf and Cyneheard.
14. Selections from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
15. Bede's Account of the Conversion of King Edwin.
16. Bede's Account of the Poet Cædmon.
17. The Goths and Boethius: Prose and Verse from the Introduction to King Alfred's Boethius Translation.
18. (a)-(p) Riddles.
19. The Battle of Maldon.
20. The Ruin.
21. The Dream of the Rood.
22. The Wife's Lament.
23. The Wanderer.
24. The Seafarer.
25. Four excerpts from Beowulf: Beowulf's Fight with Grendel, beowulf Consoles Hrothgar for Æschere's Death, The Lament of the Last Survivor, Beowulf's Funeral.
A Note on the Punctuation of Old English Poetry.
Indexes to Part One.
Index of Subjects.
Index of Words.
What Our Readers Are Saying