Peter J. Lucas, Old English Poetry from Manuscript to Message (Turnhout, 2024: USML 58), xviii+398 pp. ISBN 978-2-503-60031-4.

By comparison with Latin Europe, Anglo-Saxon civilization is notable for the amount of literature preserved in contemporary manuscripts in the vernacular language, formerly called ‘Anglo-Saxon’ but now more usually called ‘Old English’. This literature includes some remarkable poetry, which is the subject of the present collection of essays. Some of the earliest poems may well have been written at a time when northern England held the intellectual leadership of Europe. The approach is holistic, investigating important issues in the manuscripts that affect the integrity of the texts to be studied or the way they relate to each other, examining metrical issues that affect the way the poems are appreciated for their compositional skill, studying particular textual problems that require elucidation or even emendation to make the meaning clear, and finally offering readings of particular poems focussing on themes that are central to Old English poetry. A postscript examines Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, which is presented as a ‘Stanza of Anglo-Saxon Poetry’.


Section A: Manuscripts


  1. The Place of Judithin the Beowulf-Manuscript
  2. The Vercelli Book Revisited
  3. The Structure of the Junius Manuscript, with a Survey of Places of Possible Loss
  4. On the Incomplete Ending of Danieland the Addition of Christand Satan to MS Junius 11

Section B: Metre


  1. Some Aspects of the Interaction between Verse Grammar and Metre in Old English Poetry
  2. On the Rôle of Some Adverbs in Old English Verse Grammar
  3. The Metrical Epilogue to the Alfredian Pastoral Care: A Postscript from Junius
  4. Franciscus Junius and the Versification of Judith

Section C: Textual Problems


  1. Beowulf214: eolet æt ende
  2. Andreas733b
  3. Christ III1476b
  4. The Seafarer62b, anfloga: Lone Ranger or Away-day Flier?
  5. Genesis B623-5: Part of the Speech to Eve?
  6. Exodus480: mod gerymde
  7. Exodus265: ægnian
  8. Daniel276

Section D: Readings


  1. Loyalty and Obedience in the Old English Genesisand the Interpolation of Genesis Binto Genesis A
  2. Sengeleyin synglere. The Language of the Loner: From Splendid Isolation to ‘Individual’ in Early English Poetry?
  3. The Cross in Exodus
  4. Easter, the Death of Saint Guthlac and the Liturgy for Holy Saturday in Felix’s Vitaand the Old English Guthlac B
  5. Judithand the Woman Hero

Section E: Postscript

  1. From Jabberwocky back to Old English: Nonsense, Anglo-Saxon, and Oxford


Publications by Peter L. Lucas aetatis suae LXXX

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