This book is a study of cultural memory in and of the British Middle Ages. It works with material drawn from across the medieval period – in Old English, Middle English and Latin, as well as material and visual culture – and explores modern translations, reworkings and appropriations of these texts to examine how images of the past have been created, adapted and shared. It interrogates how cultural memory formed, and was formed by, social identities in the Middle Ages and how ideas about the past intersected with ideas about the present and future. It also examines how the presence of the Middle Ages has been felt, understood and perpetuated in modernity and the cultural possibilities and transformations this has generated. The Middle Ages encountered in this book is a site of cultural potential, a means of imagining the future as well as imaging the past. The scope of this book is defined by the duration of cultural forms rather than traditional habits of historical periodization and it seeks to reveal connections across time, place and media to explore the temporal complexities of cultural production and subject formation. It reveals a transtemporal and transnational archive of the modern Middle Ages.
of the lord-man
relationship has largely relied on ‘Germanic’ texts. 3
Anglo-Saxon England has attracted far more scholarly attention, with the
‘dear lord’ widely seen as a key theme in OldEnglishliterature. 4 Discussions
of the ethos of Old English secular poetry have frequently used the
comparative method. Parallels for particular moral norms in
Whatever its flaws, OldEnglishliterature continues to rebuke the humanist narcissism that denies non-human animals possession of symbolic language. Like us, the early English knew that in singing, birds speak. As Susan Crane notes, at least one strain in medieval Western European thought held that birds composed ‘a society with a metaphoric relation to human society, in which birdsong fills the function of human language’,
and recent critics have heard welcome eruptions of interspecies
Ecofeminism, loosely defined as the study of the relationship between the oppression of nature and the oppression of women, has become an increasingly popular mode of analysis in the past few years, but has only very recently been brought into the study of OldEnglishliterature. In terms of the Old English riddles, our exploration of the relationship between woman and nature is only just beginning. Here, I apply ecofeminist theory to Modor Monigra (R.84) to show how the gendering of the solution, ‘water’, is more than a simple matter of grammatical gender
Featuring essays from some of the most prominent voices in early medieval English studies, Dating Beowulf: studies in intimacy playfully redeploys the word ‘dating’, which usually heralds some of the most divisive critical impasses in the field, to provocatively phrase a set of new relationships with an Old English poem. This volume presents an argument for the relevance of the early Middle Ages to affect studies and vice versa, while offering a riposte to anti-feminist discourse and opening avenues for future work by specialists in the history of emotions, feminist criticism, literary theory, Old English literature, and medieval studies alike. To this end, the chapters embody a range of critical approaches, from queer theory to animal studies and ecocriticism to Actor-Network theory, all organized into clusters that articulate new modes of intimacy with the poem.
This edited collection explores how knowledge was preserved and reinvented in the Middle Ages. Unlike previous publications, which are predominantly focused either on a specific historical period or on precise cultural and historical events, this volume, which includes essays spanning from the eighth to the fifteenth centuries, is intended to eschew traditional categorisations of periodisation and disciplines and to enable the establishment of connections and cross-sections between different departments of knowledge, including the history of science (computus, prognostication), the history of art, literature, theology (homilies, prayers, hagiography, contemplative texts), music, historiography and geography. As suggested by its title, the collection does not pretend to aim at inclusiveness or comprehensiveness but is intended to highlight suggestive strands of what is a very wide topic. The chapters in this volume are grouped into four sections: I, Anthologies of Knowledge; II Transmission of Christian Traditions; III, Past and Present; and IV, Knowledge and Materiality, which are intended to provide the reader with a further thematic framework for approaching aspects of knowledge. Aspects of knowledge is mainly aimed to an academic readership, including advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students, and specialists of medieval literature, history of science, history of knowledge, history, geography, theology, music, philosophy, intellectual history, history of the language and material culture.
‘Victorian and modern views on masculinity [that] have influenced the critical reception and interpretation of male tears in the corpus of OldEnglishliterature’, as Kristen Mills argues; ‘examples of weeping men are often ignored or viewed as aberrant, while instances of women's weeping are taken as normative behaviour’.
In response to this tendency, in the first section of this chapter I would like simply to acknowledge the many sad men who inhabit Beowulf : the catalogue below serves as a monument. Even the main
the name of Beowulf’s deep-fried heathen counterpart in the later Norse analogues. 13 The other is the fact that no other examples of ‘bead[u]we heard’ survive in OldEnglishliterature. In Andreas it seems therefore likely that the poet calls Andrew ‘beorn beaduwe heard’ in order to make him a rival to Beowulf.
It is clear that the poet of Andreas borrows subversively from Beowulf from the moment he acclimatises the Mermedonians to heroic Scandinavia. Their story goes that they arrest pilgrims and other passing backpackers in order to eat them after a
Bringing stone, flesh, and text to life in Andreas
. Calder, ‘Figurative Language and its Contexts in Andreas : A Study in Medieval Expressionism’, in Phyllis Rugg Brown et al. (eds), Modes of Interpretation in OldEnglishLiterature: Essays in Honour of Stanley B. Greenfield (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), pp. 115–36, at 116.
11 Irving, ‘A Reading’, p. 215. Brooks cautiously concludes his discussion of Beowulf 's influence on Andreas by quoting Dorothy Whitelock: ‘one can make a case for the influence of Beowulf on Andreas … but it stops short of proof’ (Brooks (ed.), Andreas , p. xxvi).
in modern English and Old English, inasmuch as the þing could
also denote material possessions, in the sense that is most common to speakers of modern English. Yet it is safe to say that in the
earlier stages of the language the term þing encompassed a wider
range of meanings than the inanimate objects to which the modern
word usually refers.
Of course, this reminds us that one of the key distinctions made
by thing theory is that between the thing and the object. We evidently have things in OldEnglishliterature, but where are the
objects? Modern English