Isidore of Seville (circa 570-636) was the author of theEtymologiae,. the most celebrated and widely circulated encyclopaedia of the western Middle Ages. In addition, Isidore'sSynonymawere very successful and became one of the classics of medieval spirituality. Indeed, it was theSynonymathat were to define the so-called 'Isidorian style,' a rhymed, rhythmic prose that proved influential throughout the Middle Ages.
Finding the Right Wordsis the first book-length study to deal with the transmission and reception of works by Isidore of Seville in Anglo-Saxon England, with a particular focus on theSynonyma.Beginning with a general survey of Isidore's life and activity as a bishop in early seventh-century Visigothic Spain, Claudia Di Sciacca offers a comprehensive introduction to theSynonyma, drawing special attention to their distinctive style. She goes on to discuss the transmission of the text to early medieval England and its 'vernacularisation,' that is, its translations and adaptations in Old English prose and verse. The case for the particular receptiveness of theSynonymain Anglo-Saxon England is strongly supported by both a close reading of primary sources and an extensive selection of secondary literature. This rigorous, well-documented volume demonstrates the significance of theSynonymato our understanding of the literary pretensions and pedagogical practices of Anglo-Saxon England, and offers new insights into the interaction of Latin and vernacular within its literary culture.
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