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For many years there has been lively debate about the 'orality' or 'literacy' of Old English verse: about whether the Old English verse which has come down to us is primarily the product of oral composition or primarily written, insofar as it is transmitted only in manuscript. The present book throws light on this question by drawing our attention to a largely unexplored body of evidence, namely the graphic realization of Old English verse in the surviving manuscripts - how it is set out spatially, how it is marked up for reading with punctuation of various kinds. Professor O'Keeffe shows that by the late tenth century scribes had apparently ceased to alter the poems which they were transcribing by recourse to residual orality, and had begun to copy verbatim the poetic text before them. The entire orality-literacy debate has been lifted on to a new plane; the book makes a major contribution to our understanding of the way Old English verse has come down to us.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521032643
ISBN-10: 0521032644
Format: Paperback
(228mm x 152mm x 13mm)
Pages: 228
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 14-Dec-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Books By Author Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe

Reading Old English Texts by Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe

Reading Old English Texts

Paperback, August 1997
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Visible Song by Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe

Visible Song

Hardback, November 1990
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