Interactions of Thought and Language in Old English Poetry

Interactions of Thought and Language in Old English Poetry

Peter Clemoes brings a lifetime's close study of Anglo-Saxon texts to this fresh appreciation of Old English poetry, with a radically new interpretation that relates the poetry to the entire Anglo-Saxon way of thinking, and to the structures of its society. He proposes a dynamic principle of Old English poetry, very different from the common notion of formulas slotted into poems for stylistic variation. Carefully thought out and elegantly written, this book is also accessible to students: its numerous quotations are accompanied by modern English translations.


"Clemoes makes a provocative argument for the cultural power of story in Old English history....his book deserves a prominent place in graduate libraries, if only for its exhaustive treatment of most Old English poetry and much Old English prose." Choice

"The intermittent discussion in chapters 2-6 of the ways a noun-heavy language creates rich depictions of action is philologically rich and convincing. Even readers not willing to accept as symbols all the words Clemoes wants us to read symbolically will find the discussion of the words themselves, made easily accessible through Index II 'A representative selection of the symbols and word pairs cited in discussion,' richly nuanced and enlightening. The sheer volume of information about Old English language and the poetry makes the book challenging and valuable, a fitting final work of a scholar and critic 'snottor on mode." Phyllis Rugg Brown, Bryn Mawr

"...Interactions of Thought and Language in Old English Poetry is...a book that readers may open with profit. it should be a sequence of frequently illuminating observations on the whole range of Old English literature." Robert E. Bjork, Speculum