This is a comprehensive study of Old Saxon metre, with a particular emphasis on the ‘Heliand’, an alliterative epic of the Gospel story and the most extensive work of Old Germanic poetry. Through a detailed description of the metre in its own terms and a systematic comparison with the Old English alliterative tradition, especially ‘Beowulf’, this book shows how the ‘Heliand’ poet introduced a wealth of metrical innovations, reorganising the traditional scheme underneath an overarching principle of artistic design. After setting out the literary, metrical, linguistic, and practical bases, the author moves on to consider the ‘Heliand’ metre in depth, looking at its properties; he identifies a set of metrical types, determines their distributional constraints, and establishes their paradigmatic and syntagmatic organisation. He also deals with resolution and alliteration, and the composition of hypermetric verses and lines.Appendices cover the scansion of foreign names, and the metre of the Old Saxon ‘Genesis’. SEIICHI SUZUKI is Professor of Old Germanic Studies, Kansai Gaidai University, Japan.
The Metre of Old Saxon Poetry