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Traditional Subjectivities

Traditional Subjectivities: The Old English Poetics of Mentality

  • Book Info
    Traditional Subjectivities
    Book Description:

    Mize synthesizes two previously disconnected bodies of theory to advance our understanding of how traditional phraseology makes meaning, as well as illuminate the political and social dimensions of surviving texts, through attention to Old English poets' impulse to explore subjective perspectives.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6134-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-31)

    One of the better-understood things about the Franks Casket is the inscription on its front panel indicating the material, whalebone, from which it is made. A small eighth-century box of unknown intended use,¹ the casket bears on its four upright sides and top an intricate program of textual and pictorial carving that has made the object as famous for its cyclonic complexity as for its beauty: its conjunctions of word and image inspire elaborate interpretations that may succeed less in persuading than in further highlighting perplexities.² Even the front-panel text to which I refer is not without its difficulties, but...

  5. 1 The Poetics of Mentality
    (pp. 32-80)

    The claim that a systemic, continual attraction to subjectivity partly governed the production of traditional Old English verse is far-reaching and, if correct, will imply a need to reevaluate some of the ways we interpret Old English poems when our goal is to understand how they made meaning in Anglo-Saxon England. My introductory chapter illustrated Old English poetry’s attentiveness to interiority and experiential perspective, preliminarily suggesting only that it is a prominent feature of the surviving corpus and is largely unconstrained by conditions of subject matter or genre. This and the following chapters will argue more rigorously that it is...

  6. 2 Traditional Diction, Emergent Subjectivities
    (pp. 81-154)

    The Old EnglishGenesis B, comprising lines 235–851 of the compositeGenesistext that MS Junius 11 presents continuously, is part of an English translation from a longer poem in continental Old Saxon.¹ Although the manuscript as it stands gives no indication of a textual splice with theGenesisA material that precedes and follows it,² since the early nineteenth century this 617-line poetic segment has been recognized as an interpolation due to differences of style and handling of story matter. In 1875 Eduard Sievers hypothesized its dependence on an unknown SaxonGenesis, reasoning primarily from unusual linguistic features...

  7. 3 Traditional Subjectivities in the Political World
    (pp. 155-235)

    Metre 1 of the Old EnglishBoethius, a narrative poem offered as a contextualizing historical introduction to the translation of Boethius’sConsolation of Philosophy, is adapted from a chapter of the earlier, allprose version of theBoethiusthat has no direct Latin source. As an Old English versification of a prose text that is itself original to Old English, Metre 1 stands in a relation to its vernacular comparandum dissimilar from those ofGenesis A(a verse translation from Latin prose, with an English prose analogue) andGenesis B(a verse-to-verse translation across dialects), making possible another angle of approach...

  8. Conclusions
    (pp. 236-252)

    Using an array of texts selected to account for variables in compositional scenarios, I have argued that a poetics of mentality inhabits the register of classical-style verse in Old English and makes an integral part of that discourse’s traditionality. In order to establish this thesis as rigorously as possible and show that the poetics of mentality operates independently of particular textual relations or circumstances of production, the preceding chapters have examined an English poem alongside an English prose analogue, both based on the same Latin source; an English poem that only slightly adapts its continental Saxon verse source; and an...

  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 253-282)
  10. Index
    (pp. 283-294)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 295-295)