Lori Ann Garner
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An Old English poetics of health and healing
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This opening chapter introduces the book’s eclectic approach and provides essential context for the Old English remedies and medical texts, works that are often less familiar than the more canonical heroic poetry. Framing its discussion through an investigation of a somewhat cryptic Exeter Book riddle that alludes to a lack of healers in a time of unending pain, this introduction invites readers to observe the meaningful overlap across traditions, genres, and modes of meaning within early medieval healing lore. After a detailed critique of ‘hybridity’ as both a biological reality and a theoretical concept, this chapter provides an overview of the subsequent chapters, each of which tackles a question or issue in the medical corpus that has been particularly troublesome or confusing to modern-day readers. Through its series of close readings, the volume seeks not only to offer a way through such complex texts but also to uncover what these remedies can teach us about healing logic and thought in early medieval England.

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Hybrid healing

Old English remedies and medical texts


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