This book examines descriptions of the natural world in a wide range of Old English poetry. Jennifer Neville describes the physical conditions experienced by the Anglo-Saxons - the animals, diseases, landscapes, seas and weather with which they had to contend. She argues that poetic descriptions of these elements were not a reflection of the existing physical conditions but a literary device used by Anglo-Saxons to define more important issues: the state of humanity, the creation and maintenance of society, the power of individuals, the relationship between God and creation and the power of writing to control information. Examples of contemporary literature in other languages are used to provide a sense of Old English poetry's particular approach, which incorporated elements from Germanic, Christian and classical sources. The result of this approach was not a consistent cosmological scheme but a rather contradictory vision which reveals much about how the Anglo-Saxons viewed themselves.
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(228mm x 152mm x 17mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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