Click here to load reader

Medieval English Literature

  • View
    303

  • Download
    20

Embed Size (px)

DESCRIPTION

about Medieval English Literature

Text of Medieval English Literature

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

Medieval and Renaissance English LiteratureEnglish Philology I. THE MIDDLE AGES The Anglo-Saxon Period (428-1100) 1. 2. Introduction: The Anglo-Saxons. Anglo-Saxon Heroic Poetry: Beowulf. Anglo-Saxon Elegies: Deors Lament, Widsith, The Wanderer, The Seafarer, The Wife's Lament, The Husband's Message. Gnomic Poetry. Spells. Riddles. King Alfred and the Literature of Wessex (890-1100). The Venerable Bede - Ecclesiastical History. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The Anglo-Norman Period (1180-1350) 5. The Norman Conquest. The Gothic Renaissance. Literature of the Transition (1180-1250). 6. Layamon. The Arthurian Legend. 7. Western Lyrics of the Thirteenth Century. 8. Romances, Tales and Chronicles (11250-1350/1180-1350). The Middle English Period (1350-1500) 9. The Fourteenth Century. The Alliterative Revival (1350-1400). W. Langland. The Gawain Poet. 10. Geoffrey Chaucer. The Periods. Troilus and Criseyde. The Canterbury Tales. 11. The Waning of Courtly Poetry (1380-1500). John Gower. John Lydgate. The Chaucerians. 12. 00000000Late Romances (1350-1500). The Traditional Ballad. 13. Medieval Drama 1: Mysteries, Miracles. 14. Medieval Drama 2: Moralities, Interludes. 15. Fifteenth Century Prose. John Capgrave, R. Pecock, J. Fortescue, the Paston Letters, The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, W. Caxton, Sir Thomas Malory. Margery Kempe.

3. Early Christian Poetry - The Schools of Caedmon and Cynewulf (660-850). 4.

October 2011-May 2012

Lecturer: Dr. A. Manchorov

1

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE ENGLISH LITERATUREBIBLIOGRAPHY OF ANTHOLOGIES, SURVEYS, HANDBOOKS AND DICTIONARIES OF ENGLISH LITERATURE

I. Anthologies Abrams, M. H., and Stephen J. Greenblatt, eds. The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Middle Ages through the Restoration and the Eighteenth Century. Vol. 1. New York: Norton, 1986. Print. Costello, Jacqueline, and Amy Tucker, eds. Forms of Literature: A Writer's collection. New York: Random, 1989. Print. Gordon, R. K., trans. Anglo-Saxon Poetry. London: Dent, 1957. Print. Grancharov, Hristo, and Bogdan Atanasov, eds. English Medieval Literature: A Reader. Veliko Turnovo: Cyril and Methodius U, 1976. Print. Hollander, John, and Frank Kermode, eds. The Literature of Renaissance England. New York: Oxford UP, 1973. Print. Neilson, W. A., ed. The Chief Elizabethan Dramatists. Cambridge: Riverside P, 1939. Print. Shurbanov, Alexander, and Boika Sokolova, eds. Readings in English Literature: The Middle Ages and the Renaissance Age. Sofia: SUP, 1986. Print. Trapp, J. B., ed. Medieval English Literature. New York: Oxford UP, 1973. Print. Wilkie, Brian, and James Hurt, eds. Literature of the Western World. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan, 1988. Print. II. Surveys of English Literature Beadle, Richard, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996. Print. Braunmuller, R. A., and Michael Hattaway, eds. The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Drama. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1990. Print. Chambers, E. K., ed. English Literature at the Close of the Middle Ages. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1957. Print. Corns, Th. N., ed. The Cambridge Companion to English Poetry. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993. Print. Daiches, David. A Critical History of English Literature. 2 vols. London: Ronald P, 1969. Print. Ford, Boris, ed. The New Pelican Guide to English Literature. Vols. 1-4. London: Penguin, 1982. Print. Ford, Boris, ed. The Pelican Guide to English Literatture. Vols. 1-4. London: Penguin, 1977. Print. Grebanier, Bernard D. Essentials of English Literature: From its Beginning to the End of the Eighteenth Century. Vol. 1. Great Neck: Barron's, 1959. Print. Lewis, C. S. English Literature in the 16th Century (excluding drama). Oxford: Calarendon P, 1969. Print. Mincoff, Marco. A History of English Literature. Pt. 1. Sofia: Naouka I Izkoustvo,1976. Print. Quennell, Peter, and H. Johnson, eds. A History of English Literature. London: Oxley, 1973. Print. Ricks, Christopher, ed. History of Literature in the English Language. 3 vols. London: Sphere, 1970. Print. Scott-Kilvert, Ian, ed. British Writers. 2 vols. New York: Scribner's, 1979. Print. Wells, S., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986. Print. III. Handbooks and Dictionaries Barnhart, Clarence L., and William D. Halsey, eds. The New Century Handbook of English Literature. New York: Appleton-Century Crofts, 1967. Print. Cuddon, J. A., ed. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. London: Penguin, 1991. Print. Harvey, Sir Paul, ed. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1981. Print. Holman, C. Hugh, and William Harmon, eds. A Handbook to Literature. New York: Macmillan, 1986. Print. Myers, Robin, comp. and ed. A Dictionary of Literature in the English Language. Oxford: Pergamon, 1970. Print. Ousby, Ian, ed. The Cambridge Giude to Literature in English. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993. Print. Wynne-Davies, Marione, ed. The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature. London: Bloomsbury, 1989. Print.

Plovdiv

2

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies Oct 2011-July 2012 Dr. A. Manchorov

SEMINAR TOPICSMedieval and Renaissance English Literature English Philology I. Medieval Literature WEEK 1: INTRODUCTION Issues for Discussion Definition of Literature. Fiction and nonfiction. Basic components: plot, characters, theme, style (point of view etc.). Criticism How Should One Read a Book. Forms of Literature: A Writers Collection. Ed. Jacqueline Costello and Amy Tucker. New York: Random, 1989. Chap. 1, 1-7. Print. WEEK 2: ANGLO-SAXON HEROIC POETRY Work(s): Beowulf Issues for Discussion The Tradition of Anglo-Saxon Poetry. Form and Aspects of the Poem. Elements of Folk Culture and Myth. Structure of the Poem. Heroic Code. Editions 1. Beowulf. Anglo-Saxon Poetry. Trans. R. K. Gordon. London: Dent, 1957. 1-63. Print. 2. Beowulf. Literature of the Western World. The Ancient World through the Renaissance. 2nd ed. Ed. Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan, 1988. 1197-1267. Print. Criticism 1. Types of Poetry. Literature. 2nd ed. Ed. R. Di Yanni. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1990. Chap. 7, 423-25. Print. 2. Robinson, Fred C. Beowulf. The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature. Ed. Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991. 142-59. Print. WEEK 3: ANGLO-SAXON LYRIC POETRY. THE ELEGIES Work(s): Waldhere, Widsith, Deor's Lament, The Wanderer, The Seafarer. Issues for Discussion The Anglo-Saxons and the Heathen Tradition. Old English Prosody. General Characteristics of Old English Verse and Poetry. Editions

1. 2.

Anglo-Saxon Poetry. Trans. R. K. Gordon. London: Dent, 1957 (Waldhere, pp. 65-66; Widsith, pp. 6770; Deor's Lament, pp. 71-72; The Wanderer, pp. 73-75; The Seafarer, pp. 76-78). Print. Medieval English Literature. Ed. J. B. Trapp. New York: Oxford UP, 1978. 98-103. Print.

Criticism A Handbook to Literature. 5 ed. Ed. by C. Hugh Holman and William Harmon. New York: Macmillan, 1986 (e.g. see elegy, elegiac, elegiac stanza, p. 168). Print. WEEK 4: EARLY CHRISTIAN POETRY Work(s): Caedmons Hymn, Genesis; The Fates of the Apostles. Issues for Discussion Themes. Ideas and Biblical Background. Poetic Vocabulary, Diction and Imagery. Type of Verse. Editions 1. Genesis. Anglo-Saxon Poetry 650-1000. Trans. R. K. Gordon. London: Dent, 1959. 95-111. Print. 2. The Fates of the Apostles. Anglo-Saxon Poetry 650-1000. Trans. R. K. Gordon. London: Dent, 1959. 178-80. Print. Criticism 1. Godden, Malcolm. Biblical literature: the Old Testament. The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature. Ed. Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991. 206-226. Print. 2. Raw, Barbara C. Biblical literature: the New Testament. The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature. Ed. Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991. 227-42. Print.

3

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

WEEK 5: KING ALFRED AND THE LITERATURE OF WESSEX (890-1100) Work(s): Bede - An Ecclesiastical History of the English People Issues for Discussion The Author. The Work. Bedes Sources. The Theme of Bedes History. Editions Bede, Ecclesistical History of the English People. London: Penguin, 1990 (Book 1, 44-97). Print. Criticism Mincoff, Marco. A History of English Literature (Part 1). Sofia: Naouka I Izkoustvo, 1976. 50-62. Print. WEEK 6: LITERATURE OF THE TRANSITION (1180-1250) Work(s): The Owl and the Nightingale. Issues for Discussion The Debate Poem Definition. Sources and Manuscripts. Themes, Imagery, Picture of the World. The Effects of Oral Tradition. Editions The Owl and the Nightingale (in translation: . Criticism

1.

Shepherd, G. T. Early Middle English Literature. The Penguin History of Literature. The Middle Ages. Ed. W. F. Bolton. Vol. 1. London: Penguin, 1986. 103-06. Print.

2. Mincoff, Marco. A History of English Literature. Part 1. Sofia: Naouka I Izkoustvo, 1976. 75 ff. Print. WEEK 7: THE ARTHURIAN LEGEND Work(s): Layamon - Brut Issues for Discussion Date and authorship of the poem. Contribution to the Arthurian Legend. Prosody of the Alliterative Verse Chronicle. Editions 1. (in Middle English) 2. < http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/1/4/3/0/14305/14305.txt> (in Modern English) Criticism

1. Mincoff, Marco. A History of English Literature. Pt. 1. Sofia: Naouka I Izkoustvo,1976 (pp. 80-87). 2.G. T. Shepherd, Early Middle English Literature. The Penguin History of Literature. The Middle Ages. Ed. W. F. Bolton. Vol. 1. London: Penguin, 1986. 94-95. Print. .......................................................................................................................................................................... WEEK 8: METRICAL ROMANCES (1180-1350) Work(s): Havelok the Dane, Sir Orfeo Issues for Discussion Types of story material, incident and characterization. Themes of Middle English verse romances. Metrics. Editions

1. 2.

Herzman, Ronald B., Graham Drake, and Eve Salisbury, eds. Havelok the Dane. Four Romances of England. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute, 1999 (). Laskaya, Anne, and Eve Salisbury, eds. Sir Orfeo. The Middle English Breton Lays. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute, 1995 (). Criticism Mincoff, Marco. A History of English Literature (Part 1). Sofia: Naouka I Izkoustvo, 1976. 94 ff. Print.

1. 2.

Woolf, Rosemary. Later Poetry: The Popular Tradition. The Penguin History of Literature. The Middle Ages. Ed. W. F. Bolton. Vol. 1. London: Penguin, 1986. 271-73. Print. ................ WEEK 9: THE ALLITERATIVE REVIVAL (1350-1400) Work(s): W. Langland, Piers Plowman Issues for Discussion

4

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

Authorship and Date of Production. Structure and Organization. The Dream Vision Method. Social, Political and Religious Aspects. Genre Characteristics of Piers Plowman. Editions Langland, William. Piers Plowman. Medieval English Literature. Ed. J. B. Trapp. New York: Oxford UP, 1978. 348-63. Print. Criticism

1. Coghill, N. Langland. British Writers. Ed. Ian Scott-Kilvert. Vol. 1. New York: Scribner's, 1979. 1-18.Print.

2. Williams, D. J. Alliterative Poetry in the 14th and 15th Centuries. The Penguin History of Literature.The Middle Ages. Ed. by W. F. Bolton. Vol. 1. London: Penguin, 1986. 146-53. Print. .................. WEEK 10: THE ALLITERATIVE REVIVAL (1350-1400) Work(s): Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Issues for Discussion The Gawain Group. Authorship and Date of Production. Sources of Plot. Ideological Climax. The Pentangle - Symbolism. Main Characters. Structural Organization and Patterning of Numbers. Editions Medieval English Literature, Ed. J. B. Trapp. New York: Oxford UP, 1978. 284-348. Print. Criticism

1. Mincoff, Marco. A History of English Literature. Pt 1. 3rd ed. Sofia: Naouka I Izkoustvo, 1976. 117-23.Print. ............... WEEK 11: THE ALLITERATIVE REVIVAL (1350-1400) Work(s): Geoffrey Chaucer - The Canterbury Tales. Issues for Discussion Cluster of Literary Forms (romance, fabliau, exemplum, fable, homily, saint's life). Function of the General Prologue. Stories - Principles of Arrangement. Verse Technique: rhyme royal, iambic pentameter, rhymed couplets etc. Types of Characters. Editions 1. Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Literature of the Western World. The Ancient World through the Renaissance. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. Ed. Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. New York: Macmillan, 1988. 15631636. Print. 2. Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Medieval English Literature. Ed. J. B. Trapp. New York: Oxford UP, 1978. 119-276. Print. Criticism

1. N. Coghill, Chaucer. British Writers. Ed. by Ian Scott-Kilvert. Vol.1. New York: Scribner's, 1979. 1947. Print.

2. Pearsall, D. A. The Canterbury Tales. The Penguin History of Literature. The Middle Ages. Ed. by W.F. Bolton. Vol. 1. London: Penguin, 1986. 237-66. Print. ............... WEEK 12: THE WANING OF COURTLY POETRY (1380-1500) Work(s): John Gower Confessio Amantis; John Lydgate - The Troy Book Issues for Discussion (1) Gower: Sources, Structure and Symbolism. Ideas, Language and Style; (2) Lydgate: Classes of Lydgates Work: Verse Satires, Mythological Works, Religious Works. Ideas, Language and Style. Editions 1. John Gower, Confessio Amantis (). 2. John Lydgate, Troy Book Selections (1998). Ed. by Robert R. Edwards (). Criticism 1. Pearsall, D. John Gower. British Writers. Ed. Ian Scott-Kilvert. Vol. 1. New York: Scribners, 1979. 4856. Print. 2. Pearsall, D. J. Lydgate. British Writers. Ed. Ian Scott-Kilvert. Vol. 1. New York: Scribner's, 1979. 57-66. Print. .................................... WEEK 13: THE TRADITIONAL BALLAD

5

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

Work(s): The Cherry Tree Carol, The Two Magicians, The Wife of Usher's Well, Lord Randall, Sir Patrick Spense, The Douglas Tragedy, The Birth of Robin Hood. Issues for Discussion Theories of composition. Elements of the ballad. Technique and form. Subject matter. Types of balladry. Editions

1. The Popular Ballads (Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries). The Heath Introduction to Poetry. 3rd ed.Ed. Joseph de Roche. Lexington, MA: Heath, 1988. 36-42. Print.

2. Trapp, J. B., Douglas Gray, and Julia Boffey, eds. Medieval English Literature. New York: Oxford UP,1978. 429-43. Print. Criticism Ballad and Ballad Stanza. A Handbook to Literature. 5th ed. Ed. C. Hugh Holman and William Harmon. New York: Macmillan, 1986. 46-47. Print. ............... WEEK 14: MEDIEVAL DRAMA Work(s): The Wakefield Second Shepherds Play; Everyman. Issues for Discussion Mysteries and Miracles. Types of Dramatic Material. Structure and Composition; Definition of Moralities. Antecedent Forms. Conventions. The Flyting. Types of Moralities. Medieval Allegory. Editions

1. 2.

Medieval English Literature. Ed. J. B. Trapp. New York: Oxford UP, 1978. 368-88; 388-411. Print. Everyman. Literature of the Western World. 2nd ed. Ed. Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan, 1988. 1672-96. Print. Criticism The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre. Ed. R. Beadle. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996 (An Introduction to Medieval English Theatre, 1-36; The Towneley Cycle, 134-38, 150-57; Morality Plays, 255-58). Print.

1. 2.

Wickham, G. The Beginnings of English Drama. History of Literature in the English Language. Ed. C. Ricks. Vol. 3. London: Sphere, 1971. 368-88. Print. ............... WEEK 15: 15TH-CENTURY PROSE. Work(s): Sir Thomas Malory - Le Morte Darthur Issues for Discussion Historical Authenticity of King Arthur. The Contribution of Chretien de Troyes. Structure and Meaning. Sources of Malorys Work. Prose Style and New Trends. Editions Malory, Thomas. Le Morte Darthur. Medieval English Literature. Ed. J. B. Trapp. New York: Oxford UP, 1978. 444-58. Print. Criticism Bradbrook, M. C. Sir Thomas Malory. British Writers. Ed. Ian Scott-Kilvert. Vol. 1. New York: Scribner's, 1979. 67-80. Print. ..................

Academic Year 2011-2012

Dr. Atanas Manchorov

6

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

THE PERIODS OF ENGLISH LITERATURE

The division of a nation's literary history into periods offers a convenient method for studying authors and movements. Hence, most literary histories and anthologies are arranged by periods. In the case of English literature, there are almost as many arrangements as there are books on the subject. The lack of uniformity arises chiefly from two facts. In the first place, periods merge into one another because the supplanting of one literary attitude by another is a gradual process. Thus the earlier romanticists are contemporary with the later neoclassicists, just as the neoclassical attitude existed in the very heyday of Elizabethan romanticism. Dates given in any scheme of literary periods, therefore, must be regarded as approximate and suggestive only, even when they reflect some definite fact, as 1660 (the restoration of the Stuarts). In the second place, the names of periods may be chosen on very different principles. One plan is to name a period for its GREATEST OR ITS MOST REPRESENTATIVE AUTHOR: Age of Chaucer, Age of Spenser, etc. Another is to coin a descriptive adjective from THE NAME OF THE RULER: Elizabethan Period, Jacobean Period, Victorian Period. Also PURE CHRONOLOGY or PURE NAMES may be preferred: FifteenthCentury Literature, Eighteenth-Century Literature, etc. Or descriptive titles designed to indicate PREVAILING ATTITUDES or DOMINANT FASHIONS or SCHOOLS OF LITERATURE may be used: Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Age of Reason. Logically, some single principle should control in any given scheme, but such consistency is seldom found. 1. The Middle Ages a) 428 - 1100 Old English Period b) 1100 - 1350 Anglo-Norman Period c) 1350 - 1500 Middle English Period 2. The Renaissance Period a) 1500 - 1557 Early Tudor Age b) 1558 - 1603 Elizabethan Age c) 1603 - 1625 Jacobean Age d) 1625 - 1649 Caroline Age e) 1649 - 1660 Commonwealth Interregnum ELEMENTS OF LITERATURE Characters. Literature appeals to us because it is connected with human beings. It must have the sense of the physical presence of persons in a specific place and at a specific time. Such persons are called characters. Always when we turn X, Y, and Z into characters we assign human values. In the detective or adventure story, character not only "humanizes" the action, it must also motivate the action. The reader of fiction wants to know the why of an action just as much as the what for action is the flowering of character. The latter is also connected with two more components of essential importance: motivation and setting. To summarize: character is action, and action is character. Plot. The writer's process of manipulation involves two aspects: selection and ordering. As for selection, we must recall that theoretically an action involves an infinite mass of details characteristic of events in the real world. That is why a writer7

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

must select the details that he thinks important because relevant or suggestive. Here a relevant item means one that is essential to establishing the logic of the action. The suggestive are those that provoke the imagination to attribute the immediacy of events in the actual world to those in the fiction. The action, then, is the raw material plot. It is the story behind the story as we find it formed into fiction. The plot is the action as we find it projected, by whatever selection of event and distortion of chronology. Each story has four basic elements: (1) Exposition. - It refers to such elements as to inform the reader of facts necessary to understand the plot, e.g. facts of time, persons, the preliminary condition of affairs etc. (2) Complication. - It roughly corresponds to the stages by which, in the middle of an action, the conflict moves toward resolution. The action normally implies resistance to the movement toward solution of the problem from which the plot stems. (3) Climax. - It is the point at which the forces in conflict reach their moment of greatest concentration as the apparently dominant force becomes subordinate. It is the moment in plot that is called the turn or the reversal. (4) Denouement. - It is the end of the plot, the "unknotting" of the tangle of the complications. Here the conflict is resolved and stability is restored. Theme. A story has what we ordinarily call a theme, the governing idea implicit in the original situation of conflict that becomes, in the end, the focal idea - that is what we take to be the "meaning" of the whole. In each story the writer shapes content and organizes material in order to produce through a fusion of content and form an interpretation of life. The wedding of content (notably characters and events) and form (technique, style) gives a story its main meaning, or theme. A theme is a distillation of everything that happens in a story's human drama. Whereas the subject is simply the topic of the tale, our understanding of the theme grows from our perception and evaluation of the story it is our understanding of what the work says about the subject. For instance, we might say that the topic of Anton Chekhov's The Lady with the Pet Dog is love. However, stating the theme of this story would take more than one word; normally, at least a sentence. Style. First we must ask whether the writer is using his own voice, a personal style, or whether, in a greater or lesser degree, he is fully playing the ventriloquist, using the voice of a specific character. A writer's point of view is another part of style. First, there is the fictional first person. Here the narrator (who may or may not resemble the author) tells us all that we are to know. But there are various possibilities within this general viewpoint as the narrator may tell his own story like the central character in it or may be merely an observer. The omniscient third-person point of view is the exact opposite of the former kind. Point of view is the position from which the author presents the action of the story. Thus point of view is one of the most important technical considerations for fiction writers, because it directly influences all other elements in a tale. Criticism traditionally has focused on three major types of point of view: (1) omniscient, where the narrator sees and knows everything, moving across space and time, commenting on character and action; (2) first person, in which the author allows one character to tell the story, thereby limiting himself to what can be seen, heard, felt, thought, or known by that single character; and (3) third person, in which actions, thoughts and perceptions are filtered in the third person (signaled by the pronouns he, she, it, and they) through the mind of one character or the minds of several characters.

8

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

ANGLO-SAXON EPIC POETRY: BEOWULF1. Type of Work. Beowulf is an epic, a long poem telling a story about a hero and his exploits. It is further classified as a folk epic in that it pieces together its story from folk tales transmitted orally for centuries, probably sometimes to the accompaniment of a musical instrument such as a harp. Beowulf consists of 3,182 lines written in vernacular Old English (native language of the author's time and place) rather than in Latin, the lofty language of religion, philosophy, science, history, and, of course, literature. That fact does not mean that the writing in Beowulf is inferior; on the contrary, it is superior. Today, this epic is recognized as the greatest work in Old English. Unlike many other epics, Beowulf has characteristics of an elegy (a somber poem or song that praises or laments the dead). In fact, J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, maintained that Beowulf is more an elegy than an epic. However, that observation is not in accord with the prevailing body of opinion about the genre of Beowulf. 2. Date and Place of Composition. Beowulf was probably composed between 700 A.D. and 900 A.D.The place of its composition was probably Northumbria, an important AngloSaxon kingdom between Scotland on the north and the Humber River on the south. Northumbria was home to Roman Catholic monks who excelled in learning and literature. The most famous was the Venerable Bede (672-735), who wrote The Ecclesiastical History of the English People and popularized the use of "A.D." (abbreviation for the Latin Anno Domini, meaning in the year of the Lord) in dating events in relation to the year of the birth of Christ. 3. Transmission of the Story. Beowulf was first transmitted orally for one to three centuries. Although its author did not write it down, two English scribes did so in about 1000 A.D. Their manuscript, considered one of the great heirlooms of world literature, is now preserved in the British Library in London. The scribes' manuscript was earlier held in Ashburnham House, the library of Sir Robert Bruce Cotton (1571-1631), who collected historically important manuscripts. Sir Robert bound Beowulf with four other manuscripts in a combined codex known as Cotton MS. Vitellius A.xv, the 15th item on the first shelf of manuscripts placed under the bust of Emperor Vitellius in his library. The Beowulf manuscript was in what was known as the Nowell Codex. After fire ravaged the library in 1731, the manuscript was rescued by British authorities. However, water damage and burned edges made it difficult to read. 4. Settings. The time is the Dark Ages, between 500 and 700 A.D. The action takes place first in a Danish kingdom ruled by Hrothgar, situated on the island of Zealand (site of presentday Copenhagen, Denmark). There, in the great mead hall of the king, Beowulf confronts a monster that has been terrorizing the king and his men. (A mead hall was a communal gathering place for feasting and drinking mead, an alcoholic beverage made of water and fermented honey. Mead was a popular drink in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries during the Middle Ages because grapes, a crop that thrives in warmer southern climates, were not readily available to make wine.) Later, Beowulf dives into a lake and fights the monster's mother. The scene of action then shifts 50 years later to the land of the Geats in Sweden, where an elderly Beowulf confronts a dragon terrorizing his own land. 5. Main Characters. Beowulf: Illustrious warrior from the land of the Geats in Sweden. According to Webster's New World Dictionary, Beowulf may mean bee- hunter (Beo for beeand wulf for hunter). A bear, of course, hunts bees and, therefore, Beowulf translates loosely as bear. Hrothgar: King of a Danish realm terrorized by a monster. He presides at Heorot, a great mead hall. Heorot. Wealhtheow: Hrothgar's wife and queen. Grendel: Monster that terrorizes Heorot. Grendel's Mother: Monster that retaliates after Beowulf defeats Grendel. Dragon: Monster that goes on a rampage in the land of the Geats. Wiglaf: Warrior who helps Beowulf fight the dragon. Hygelac: King of the Geats in Sweden. He is Beowulf's uncle.

9

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

Hygd: Hygelac's wife and queen. Heardred: Son of Hygelac. Ecgtheow: Beowulf's father. Unferth: Danish warrior who envies Beowulf. Breca: Childhood friend of Beowulf. Aeschere: Counselor to Hrothgar. Freawaru: daughter of Hrothgar and Wealhtheow. Scyld Scefing: Onetime King of Denmark and great-grandfather of Hrothgar. He is mentioned in the epic but does not take part in the action. 6. Language. Beowulf was written Old English in the West Saxon dialect of 1000 A.D. Old English was used in England between 600 and 1100 A.D. Beowulf is believed to be the first important literary work of medieval Europe to be written in the language of the common man rather than in the lofty elegance of Latin. 7. Verse Format. Beowulf is written in unrhyming verse, without stanzas, with a caesura (pause) in the middle of each line. The lines contain caesuras to represent the pauses that speakers normally use in everyday speech. Thus, each line is divided into two parts. Each part is called a hemistich (HEM e stick), which is half a line of verse. A complete line is called a stich. Each hemistich contains two stressed (accented) syllables and a varying number of unstressed (unaccented) syllables. Following are the opening three lines of Beowulf in Old English, with the space in the middle representing the caesura. Old English With a Space for the Caesura Hwt! We Gar-Dena in geardagum, eodcyninga, rym gefrunon, hu a elingas ellen fremedon. Translation Lo. we have heard of the glory in days of old of the Spear-Danes, of the kings of the people, how the athelings did deeds of valor.Quoted in Baugh, Albert C. and George Wm. McClelland. English Literature. New York: Appleton, 1954, Page 19.

8. Structure. In structure, Beowulf is divided chronologically into two main sections: one that focuses on Beowulf as a young man and one that focuses on him as an old man. In terms of action, it is divided into three main sections: one that introduces the characters and describes Beowulf's conquest of Grendel, one that describes Beowulf's defeat of Grendel's mother, and one that describes Beowulf's defeat of the dragon with the help of Wiglaf. 9. Source. The author of Beowulf based his tale in part on pagan myths, fables, Scandinavian history, and biblical and Christian history. Thus, Beowulfis a mixture of fiction and fact. 10. Point of View. The poet tells the tale in omniscient third-person point of view from a Christian perspective. Though describing events taking place in a pagan culture, the poet credits the Christian God and the Christian ethic for the triumph of good over evil. 11. Themes: 1. Goodness conquers evil. Beowulf, of course represents goodness; the three monsters that he slays represent evil. 2. Actions (Beowulf's) speak louder than words (Unferth's). 3. Judge the greatness of a human being by the greatness of his deeds and his noble ancestry. 4. Help thy neighbor. (Beowulf risks his life to help a neighbor, King Hrothgar, in trouble.) 5. Forces of darknessirrational, menacingare always at work in society. 6. Life is a continuing struggle. After Beowulf defeats Grendel, Grendel's mother seeks revenge. Beowulf kills her. Eventually, in old age, he faces still another challenge, this time from a dragon. He kills the dragon, too, but suffers a mortal wound. After he dies, new troubles loom on the horizon in the form of wars with neighboring tribes.

10

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

ANGLO-SAXON LYRIC AND EPIC POETRY Lyric: Originally from the Greek ("for the lyre"), the term is now commomnly used to describe any short poem, especially one expressing the poet's personal sentiments. The lyric mode covers a wide ramne of topics ranging from the experience of love, to pastoral description and praise of God. Waldhere An OE poem of which only two brief fragments survive nowadays. It was apparently quite long and told a well known story recorded in a Latin poem by Ekkerhard of St. Gall (d. 973):Hildegund, Walter and Hage are prisoners of Attila of the Huns. Hagen escapes to join Gunther, king of the Franks. Walter and Hildegund, who are lovers, also escape with much treasure and Gunther persuades the reluctant Hagen to accompany him and 11 warriors going to rob them. In a narrow pass Walter kills all but Hagen and Gunther, and these three are maimed.

The surviving fragments are from speeches, the first by Hildegund and the second from the end of Gunther's speech with Walter's reply. Widsith It is an OE poem preserved in the Exeter Book. Dating from the 7th century, it is one of the oldest surviving works in the vernacular. Purporting to be an account of the courts visited by the minstrel Widsith, the poem catalogues the heroes of the European tribes. The chronological span, from Eormanric (d. 375) to Aelfwine's invasion of Italy in 568, makes it impossible that the work was based on the reminiscences of a real minstrel. Deor's Lament A short OE poem found in the Exeter Book. It is written in the form of a first-person narrative by a minstrel called Deor. The narrator tells of five well-known miserable situations from history and mythology and then of his own misfortune, probably fictional: his position as official poet and its attendant benefits have been given to another. He comforts himself with the thought that God will soon improve his fortunes and offers solace throughout in a refrain which says that these other sorrows passed and so shall his own. Deor is similar in form and function to the longer poem Widsith. The Seafarer An OE Poem preserved in the Exeter Book. It falls into two halves not connected by their subject matter. The first 64 lines present a monologue by a seafarer about the hardships and dangers of his life and about his love for the sea. The second half of the poem is a homiletic discourse, perhaps intended to draw a general moral from the seafarer's description; it considers the transience of worldly bliss and praises humble, honest living. The poem is characteristic of the lyric speaker's sudden change of mood coming right after his elegiac lamentation: "Therefore my thoughts force me that I myself should try the high streams, the play of the salt wavces." The Wanderer An OE poem preserved in the Exeter Book. The structure is somewhat ambiguous: the poem may represent a monologue containing two reported speeches or, alternatively, speeches by different characters. The first speech or quotation says that the solitary wanderer often experiences the grace of God despite the hardships he11

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

endures. There follows a long personal account of exile leading the speaker to wonder that his suffering and the general state of decay of the world do not make him miserable. Finally the voice of wisdom asserts that the world's wealth is transitory and faith in God is the only source of secutiry. Although the dramatic form is obscure, the though is clearly developed. The Wife's Lament An OE poem preserved in the Exeter Book. The poem is about the lament of a wife whose husband is in exile.She is apparently an alien in his home land and friendless; he has committed a crime and been banished. Consequently she lives in an earth-barrow in the forest. The chronology of events is not completely clear and the circumstances of the husband's exile are not fully explained. Despite this obscurity, the woman's lament poignantly expresses her solitude, isolation and longing for her husband. The Husband's Message An OE poem preserved in the Exeter Book. The message, apparently carved on a staff in runic letters, is to woman of royal rank; her husband has been forced to flee because of a vendetta and he sends her assurances of his love, pleading with her to take ship for the south and join him in the spring. It is not clear whether the Message begins with Riddle 60, which immedietely precedes it in the manuscript. The poem may be connected with The Wife's Lament, also in the Exeter Book. ACCENTUAL PATTERNS OF OLD ENGLISH ALLITERATIVE VERSE The style and meter of all Germanic poetry that has come down to us differs from all the familiar verse systems above all in its apparent irregularity (there is none of the fixed scheme of long and and short syllables of classical meter, and none of the syllable counting of Slavonic poetry).The basis is accentual; the reason is that only the two strong beats (arses) give the structure of the verse, and the two theses, the corresponding unstressed parts, may consist of an indefinite number of syllables. Although the system is flexible, it too is subject to rules. The permutations of arses and theses, according to Sievers's scheme, give us three simple patterns: A: B: C: / X / X X / X / X / / X

Combinations in which the two theses follow one another are not permissible, theoretically, since the two would count as one; with the help of secondary stresses, however, such combinations are also possible: D: E: / / {/ X or X /} / {/ X or X /} /

The arsist must consist either of a single long syllable, or a slur of a short stressed syllable with an unstressed one to follow, as in heaven. Each pair of these metrically determined half-lines is bound together into a long line by means of alliteration: in the first half-line either of both stresses may bear the alliteration, in the second only the first.

12

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

THE SCHOOLS OF CADMON AND CYNEWULF 1. The School of Caedmon. a) Caedmons Hymn The only known survivor from Cdmons oeuvre is his Hymn. The poem is known from twenty-one manuscript copies, making it the best-attested Old English poem after Bedes Death Song and the best attested in the poetic corpus in manuscripts copied or owned in the British Isles during the Anglo-Saxon period. The Hymn also has by far the most complicated known textual history of any surviving Anglo-Saxon poem. It is found in two dialects and five distinct recensions. It is one of the earliest attested examples of written Old English and one of the earliest recorded examples of sustained poetry in a Germanic language. Together with the runic Ruthwell Cross and Franks Casket inscriptions, Cdmon's Hymn is one of three candidates for the earliest attested example of Old English poetry. Nu sculon herigean heofonrices weard, meotodes meahte and his modgeanc, weorc wuldorfder, swa he wundra gehws, ece drihten, or onstealde. He rest sceop eoran bearnum heofon to hrofe, halig scyppend; a middangeard moncynnes weard, ece drihten, fter teode firum foldan, frea lmihtig. Modern English translation Now let me praise the keeper of Heaven's kingdom, the might of the Creator, and his thought, the work of the Father of glory, how each of wonders the Eternal Lord established in the beginning. He first created for the sons of men Heaven as a roof, the holy Creator, then Middle-earth the keeper of mankind, the Eternal Lord, afterwards made, the earth for men, the Almighty Lord.1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Circle a hemistich. In one line, mark the two stresses in each hemistich using apostrophes ('). Mark one line of alliteration by underlining the words that alliterate. Explain what alliteration is. Does anything rhyme in this poetry? Why or why not? What is variation? How does the poet use it in this poem? How many variations of the varied element can you find?

b) Genesis A Close around the year 1000, an English monk made a copy of an older poem paraphrasing the first half of the book of Genesis, up to the sacrifice of Isaac. No one knows what he was copying from, but his handiwork (which includes other texts) survives in a single bound volume now located in Oxfords Bodleian Library. Nowhere in these texts is authorship ascribed to anyone. Caedmon was the first individual we know to have been posited as their author, based on Bedes description of his talents and interests, and for a long time the texts were commonly known as though not so firmly believed to be the poetry of Caedmon. As centuries passed this position continually weakened, and now only part of Genesis (if even that) is thought to be Caedmons. Centuries of scholarship have settled on few conclusions regarding this work, but it has become clear that the original Genesis poem was in two parts, one of them labelled B being a

13

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

translation of an Old Saxon poem dated to the early 9 th century, and the other labelled A being a native Old English composition (perhaps originally Anglian, though recorded in West Saxon); which of the two poems is older, and how they came to be conflated, is much debated. A well defended position is that Genesis A dates to ca. 700, which would likely make it older than Beowulf, and might possibly be the work of Caedmon, though more likely it is not following the argument that the author was probably literate. Yet it might well represent the work of a poet in Caedmons Northumbrian school, and with this unoriginal note we surrender all arguments to the scholars. Reading and Textual Analysis Our lesson text describes Noah taking his family into the ark, and there riding out the flood that covered even the high mountains. Genesis A is a poetic paraphrase, so there is no direct correspondence to the Hebrew scriptures, or even to the Latin Vulgate translation of them that the poet arguably must have studied. The selections below include Genesis (7: 1-24) and Genesis A ll. 1356-1391, found on pp. 42-43 in: George P. Krapp, ed. (1931), The Junius Manuscript, New York: Columbia U. The events portrayed are found in Genesis chapter 7. Genesis 7: 1-24 1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. 2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. 3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. 4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. 5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him. 6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. 7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, 9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noahs life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. 13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noahs wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; 14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort. 15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. 16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in. 17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. 18 And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.14

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. 21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. 23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. 24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days. Genesis A Him a Noe gewat, swa hine nergend het, under earce bord eaforan ldan, weras on wgl and heora wif somed; and eall t to fsle frea lmihtig habban wolde under hrof gefor to heora tgifan, swa him lmihtig weroda drihten urh his word abead. Him on hoh beleac heofonrices weard merehuses mu mundum sinum, sigora waldend, and segnade earce innan agenum spedum nergend usser. Noe hfde, sunu Lameches, syxhund wintra a he mid bearnum under bord gestah, gleaw mid geogoe, be godes hse, dugeum dyrum. Drihten sende regn from roderum and eac rume let willeburnan on woruld ringan of dra gehwre, egorstreamas swearte swogan. Ss up stigon ofer stweallas. Strang ws and ree se e wtrum weold; wreah and eahte manfhu bearn middangeardes wonnan wge, wera eelland; hof hergode, hygeteonan wrc metod on monnum. Mere swie grap on fge folc feowertig daga, nihta oer swilc. Ni ws ree, wllgrim werum; wuldorcyninges ya wrcon arleasra feorh of flschoman. Flod ealle wreah, hreoh under heofonum hea beorgas geond sidne grund and on sund ahof earce from eoran and a elo mid, a segnade selfa drihten, scyppend usser, a he t scip beleac. Then Noah went, as the Savior commanded him, to bring his sons on board the ark, men into the ship and their wives also; and all that the Lord Almighty would have for progeny. And he went under the roof as their provider, as the Almighty, the Lord of hosts, bade him by His word. Behind him the Ward of the kingdom of heaven shut the door of the ark with His hands, the Lord of victories, and blessed (those) within the ark with His own riches, our Savior. Noah, Lamechs son, had [was] six hundred years [old] when he climbed on board with (his) children, the wise with the young, at Gods behest, with (his) beloved family. The Lord sent rain from the heavens and also abundantly allowed well-springs to throng into the world from channels

15

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

everywhere, dark currents to roar. Seas rose up over shore-walls. Strong and fierce was He who directed the waters; covered and hid wickedness, the children of the world with dark billow, the land of men; the Creator ravaged dwelling place, wreaked havoc on men. The sea firmly seized upon doomed people forty days (and) another such of nights. Anger was fierce, cruel to men; the waves of the King of Glory drove wicked life from body. The flood, savage under the heavens, covered all the high mountains on earth and on the water lifted up from the earth the ark and that noble race within, that the Lord himself blessed, our Creator, when he closed up that ship. 2. The School of Cynewulf The work of Cynewulf and his school marks an advance upon the writings of the school of Caedmon. Even the latter is, at times, subjective and personal in tone to a degree not found in pure folk-epic; but in Cynewulf the personal note is emphasised and becomes lyrical. Caedmons hymn in praise of the Creator is a sublime statement of generally recognised facts calling for universal acknowledgment in suitably exalted terms; Cynewulfs confessions in the concluding portion of Elene or in The Dream of the Rood, or his vision of the day of judgment in Crist, are lyrical outbursts, spontaneous utterances of a soul which has become one with its subject and to which self-revelation is a necessity. This advance shows itself frequently, also, in the descriptions of nature. For Cynewulf, earths crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; it is, perhaps, only in portions of Exodus and in passages of Genesis B that the Divine immanence in nature is obviously felt by the Caedmonian scop. The Fates of the Apostles Hwt! Ic ysne sang sigeomor fand on seocum sefan; samnode wide, hu a aelingas ellen cydon, torhte ond tireadige. Twelfe wron, 5 ddum domfste, Dryhtne gecorene, leofe on life. Lof wide sprang, miht ond mro, ofer middangeard, eodnes egna rym unlytel. Halgan heape hlyt wisode 10 r hie Dryhnes deman sceoldon, reccan fore rincum. Sume on Romebyrig, frame, fyrdhwate feorh ofgefon urg Nerones nearwe searwe: Petrus ond Paulus. Is se apostolhad Wide geweorod ofer wereoda. Listen! I found this song journey-weary sick at heart; assembled it from far and wide, about how these noble men revealed their courage, glorious and famous. They were twelve, 5 renowned in deeds, chosen by the Lord, beloved in their life. Their fame spread widely over the earth, the power and glory of these thanes of the Lord not a small glory. The holy bands duty led 10 them to where they should preach the law of God, to interpret it before the people. Some, in the city of Rome, bold, warrior-like, gave up their lives because of Neros oppressive treachery: Peter and Paul. That order of apostles is Widely honored by the nations.16

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

The Venerable Bede, An Ecclesiastical History of the English PeopleBedes life Servant of Christ and Priest of the Monastery of Saints Peter and Paul which is at Wearmouth and Jarrow. These are the words which Bede used to describe himself. Today, we probably know him best as the author of the Ecclesiastical History of the English People which he completed in AD 731. This work is our primary source for understanding the beginnings of the English people and the coming of Christianity. This is the first work of history in which the AD dating system is used. Bede was born in AD 673 on the lands of the monastery. Of his family background we know nothing, save that he was entrusted at the age of 7 to the care of Benedict Biscop, the founder of the monastery, and then to Ceolfrith who in AD 681 was appointed Abbot of the new foundation at Jarrow. Bede spent the rest of his life in the monastery. He was ordained deacon at the age of 19 and priest at 30. He observed the Rule of the monastery and was punctilious in his attendance in choir at the daily offices. Outside of his time in choir, he worked as scholar and teacher; he records that It has always been my delight to learn or to teach or to write. And he explains that I have made it my business, for my own benefit and that of my brothers, to make brief extracts from the works of the venerable fathers on the holy scriptures, or to add notes of my own to clarify their sense and interpretation. The range of Bedes scholarship was astonishing, going far beyond the History. Bishop Boniface, who led a mission to Germany, wrote of Bede that he shone forth as a lantern in the church by his scriptural commentary; and his commentaries on books of the Bible were widely sought and widely circulated. He wrote also of nature. He knew that the earth was a sphere. He had a sense of latitude and the annual movement of the sun into the north and south hemispheres from the evidence of varying lengths of shadows. He knew that the moon influenced the cycle of the tides. He wrote on calculating time and his exposition of the Great Cycle of 532 years was of fundamental value to the church in the task of calculating the date of Easter. He wrote a textbook for his students on poetic metres. Bede died in his cell at the monastery in the year 735. Cuthbert, a young monk who was with him later wrote an account of his death. He describes how Bede finished dictating a chapter of a book which he was composing. Then he said I have a few treasures in my box, some pepper and napking and incense. Run quickly and fetch the priests of our monastery, and I will share among them such little presents as God has given me. An Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation The Ecclesiastical History of the English Race is, as we know, Bedes greatest and best work. If a panegyric were likely to induce our readers to turn to it for themselves, that panegyric should be attempted here. Probably, however, a brief statement of the contents and sources of the five books will be more to the purpose. The first book, then, beginning with a description of Britian, carries the history from the invasion of Julius Caesar to the year 603, after the arrival of Augustine. Among the sources used are Pliny, Solinus, Orosius, Eutropius, Marcellinus Comes, Gildas, probably the Historia Brittonum, a Passion of St. Alban and the Life of St. Germanus of Auxerre by Constantius. The second book begins with the death of Gregory the Great, and ends in 633, when Edwin of Northumbria was killed and Paulinus retired to Rochester. It is in this book that the wonderful scene is described in which Edwin of Northumbria takes counsel with his nobles as to the acceptance or rejection of the Gospel as preached by Paulinus; and here occurs the unforgetable simile of the sparrow flying out of the winter night into the brightly-lighted hall and out again into the dark. In the third book we proceed as far as 664. In this section the chief actors are Oswald, Aidan, Fursey, Cedd and Wilfred. The fourth book, beginning with the death of Deusdedit in 664 and the subsequent arrival of his successor Theodore, with abbot Hadrian, deals with events to the year 698. The chief figures are Chad, Wilfrid, Ethelburga, Etheldreda, Hilda, Caedmon, Cuthbert. In the fifth and last book we have stories of St. John of Beverley, of the vision of Drythelm, and others, accounts of Adamnan, Aldhelm, Wilfrid, the letter of abbot Ceolfrid to Nechtan,

17

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

king of the Picts, the end of the Paschal controversy, a statement of the condition of the country in 731, a brief annalistic summary and a list of the authors works. In the dedication of the History to Ceolwulf, king of Northumbria, Bede enumerates the friends who had helped him in the collection of materials, whether by oral or written information. The chief of these were Albinus, abbot of Canterbury, Nothelm, afterwards archbishop, who, among other things, had copied documents preserved in the archives of Rome, and Daniel, bishop of Winchester. Bede used to the full, besides, his opportunities of intercourse with the clergy and monks of the north who had known the great men of whom he writes. It is almost an impertinence, we feel, to dwell upon the great qualities which the History displays. That sincerity of purpose and love of truth are foremost in the authors mind we are always sure, with whatever eyes we may view some of the tales which he records. Where he gives a story on merely hearsay evidence, he is careful to state the fact; and it may be added that where he has access to an original and authoritative document he gives his reader the full benefit of it. From the literary point of view the book is admirable. There is no affectation of learning, no eccentricity of vocabulary. It seems to us to be one of the great services which Bede rendered to English writers that he gave currency to a direct and simple style. This merit is, in part, due to the tradition of the northern school in which he was brought up; but it is to his own credit that he was not led away by the fascinations of the Latinity of Aldhelm. The popularity of the History was immediate and great. Nor was it confined to England. The two actually oldest copies which we possess, both of which may have been written before Bede died, were both produced, it seems, on the continent, one (now at Namur) perhaps at St. Huberts abbey in the Ardennes, the other (at Cambridge) in some such continental English colony as Epternach. The two lives of St. Cuthbert and the lives of the abbots of Wearmouth and Jarrow must not be forgotten. The lastnamed, based to some extent upon an anonymous earlier work, has very great beauty and interest; not many pictures of monastic life are so sane, so human and, at the same time, so productive of reverence and affection in the reader. The two lives of St. Cuthbert are less important in all ways. The metrical one is the most considerable piece of verse attempted by Bede; that in prose is a not very satisfactory expansion of an earlier life by a Lindisfarne monk. Enough has probably been said to give a general idea of the character of Bedes studies and acquirements. Nothing could be gained by transcribing the lists of authors known to him, which are accessible in the works of Plummer and of Manitius. There is nothing to make us think that he had access to classical or Christian authors of importance not known to us. He quotes many Christian poets, but not quite so many as Aldhelm, and, clearly, does not take so much interest as his predecessor in pagan authors.CHAPTER XXIV THERE WAS IN THE SAME MONASTERY A BROTHER, ON WHOM THE GIFT OF WRITING VERSES WAS BESTOWED BY HEAVEN. [A. D. 680] THERE was in this abbess's monastery a certain brother, particularly remarkable for the grace of God, who was wont to make pious and religious verses, so that whatever was interpreted to him out of Scripture, he soon after put the same into poetical expressions of much sweetness and humility, in English, which was his native language. By his verses the minds of many were often excited to despise the world, and to aspire to heaven. Others after him attempted, in the English nation, to compose religious poems, but none could ever compare with him, for he did not learn the art of poetry from men, but from God; for which reason he never could compose any trivial or vain poem, but only those which relate to religion suited his religious tongue; for having lived in a secular habit till he was well advanced in years, he had never learned anything of versifying; for which reason being sometimes at entertainments, when it was agreed for the sake of mirth that all present should sing in their turns, when he saw the instrument come towards him, he rose up from table and returned home. Having done so at a certain time, and gone out of the house where the entertainment was, to the stable, where he had to take care of the horses that night, he there composed himself to rest at the proper time; a person appeared to him in his sleep, and saluting him by his name, said,

18

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

"Caedmon, sing some song to me." He answered, "I cannot sing; for that was the reason why I left the entertainment, and retired to this place because I could not sing." The other who talked to him, replied, "However, you shall sing." "What shall I sing?" rejoined he. "Sing the beginning of created beings," said the other. Hereupon he presently began to sing verses to the praise of God, which he had never heard, the purport whereof was thus: We are now to praise the Maker of the heavenly kingdom, the power of the Creator and his counsel, the deeds of the Father of glory. How He, being the eternal God, became the author of all miracles, who first, as almighty preserver of the human race, created heaven for the sons of men as the roof of the house, and next the earth. This is the sense, but not the words in order as he sang them in his sleep; for verses, though never so well composed, cannot be literally translated out of one language into another, without losing much of their beauty and loftiness. Awaking from his sleep, he remembered all that he had sung in his dream, and soon added much more to the same effect in verse worthy of the Deity. In the morning he came to the steward, his superior, and having acquainted him with the gift he had received, was conducted to the abbess, by whom he was ordered, in the presence of many learned men, to tell his dream, and repeat the verses, that they might all give their judgment what it was, and whence his verse proceeded. They all concluded, that heavenly grace had been conferred on him by our Lord. They expounded to him a passage in holy writ, either historical, or doctrinal, ordering him, if he could, to put the same into verse. Having undertaken it, he went away, and returning the next morning, gave it to them composed in most excellent verse; whereupon the abbess, embracing the grace of God in the 'man, instructed him to quit the secular habit, and take upon him the monastic life; which being accordingly done, she associated him to the rest of the brethren in her monastery, and ordered that he should be taught the whole series of sacred history. Thus Caedmon ' keeping in mind all he heard, and as it were chewing the cud, converted the same into most harmonious verse; and sweetly repeating the same, made his masters in their turn his hearers. He sang the creation of the world, the origin of man, and all the history of Genesis : and made many verses on the departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt, and their entering into the land of promise, with many other histories from holy writ; the incarnation, passion, resurrection of our Lord, and his ascension into heaven; the coming of the Holy Ghost, and the preaching of the apostles ; also the terror of future judgment, the horror of the pains of hell, and the delights of heaven; besides many more about the Divine benefits and judgments, by which he endeavoured to turn away all men from the love of vice, and to excite in them the love of, and application to, good actions; for he was a very religious man, humbly submissive to regular discipline, but full of zeal against those who behaved themselves otherwise; for which reason he ended his life happily. For when the time of his departure drew near, he laboured for the space of fourteen days under a bodily infirmity which seemed to prepare the way, yet so moderate that he could talk and walk the whole time. In his neighbourhood was the house to which those that were sick, and like shortly to die, were carried. He desired the person that attended him, in the evening, as the night came on in which he was to depart this life, to make ready a place there for him to take his rest. This person, wondering why he should desire it, because there was as yet no sign of his dying soon, did what he had ordered. He accordingly went there, and conversing pleasantly in a joyful manner with the rest that were in the house before, when it was past midnight, he asked them, whether they had the Eucharist there? They answered, "What need of the Eucharist? for you are not likely to die, since you talk so merrily with us, as if you were in perfect health." " However," said he, "bring me the Eucharist." Having received the same into his hand, he asked, whether they were all in charity with him, and without any enmity or rancour? They answered, that they were all in perfect charity, and free from anger; and in their turn asked him, whether he was in the same mind towards them? He answered, "I am in charity, my children, with all the servants of God." Then strengthening himself with the heavenly viaticum, he prepared for the entrance into another life, and asked, how near the time was when the brothers were to be awakened to sing the nocturnal praises of our Lord? They answered, "It is not far off." Then he said, "Well, let us wait that hour; " and signing himself with the sign of the cross, he laid his head on the pillow, and falling into a slumber, ended his life so in silence. Thus it came to pass, that as he had served God with a simple and pure mind, and undisturbed devotion, so he now departed to his presence, leaving the world by a quiet death; and that tongue, which had composed so many holy words in praise of the Creator, uttered its last words whilst he was in the act of signing himself with the cross, and recommending himself into his hands, and by what has been here said, he seems to have had foreknowledge of his death. BOOK IV, CHAPTER XXIV THERE WAS IN THE SAME MONASTERY A BROTHER, ON WHOM THE GIFT OF WRITING VERSES WAS BESTOWED BY HEAVEN [A. D. 680].

19

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

THERE was in this abbess's monastery a certain brother, particularly remarkable for the grace of God, who was wont to make pious and religious verses, so that whatever was interpreted to him out of Scripture, he soon after put the same into poetical expressions of much sweetness and humility, in English, which was his native language. By his verses the minds of many were often excited to despise the world, and to aspire to heaven. Others after him attempted, in the English nation, to compose religious poems, but none could ever compare with him, for he did not learn the art of poetry from men, but from God; for which reason he never could compose any trivial or vain poem, but only those which relate to religion suited his religious tongue; for having lived in a secular habit till he was well advanced in years, he had never learned anything of versifying; for which reason being sometimes at entertainments, when it was agreed for the sake of mirth that all present should sing in their turns, when he saw the instrument come towards him, he rose up from table and returned home. Having done so at a certain time, and gone out of the house where the entertainment was, to the stable, where he had to take care of the horses that night, he there composed himself to rest at the proper time; a person appeared to him in his sleep, and saluting him by his name, said, "Caedmon, sing some song to me." He answered, "I cannot sing; for that was the reason why I left the entertainment, and retired to this place because I could not sing." The other who talked to him, replied, "However, you shall sing." "What shall I sing?" rejoined he. "Sing the beginning of created beings," said the other. Hereupon he presently began to sing verses to the praise of God, which he had never heard, the purport whereof was thus : We are now to praise the Maker of the heavenly kingdom, the power of the Creator and his counsel, the deeds of the Father of glory. How He, being the eternal God, became the author of all miracles, who first, as almighty preserver of the human race, created heaven for the sons of men as the roof of the house, and next the earth. This is the sense, but not the words in order as he sang them in his sleep; for verses, though never so well composed, cannot be literally translated out of one language into another, without losing much of their beauty and loftiness. Awaking from his sleep, he remembered all that he had sung in his dream, and soon added much more to the same effect in verse worthy of the Deity. In the morning he came to the steward, his superior, and having acquainted him with the gift he had received, was conducted to the abbess, by whom he was ordered, in the presence of many learned men, to tell his dream, and repeat the verses, that they might all give their judgment what it was, and whence his verse proceeded. They all concluded, that heavenly grace had been conferred on him by our Lord. They expounded to him a passage in holy writ, either historical, or doctrinal, ordering him, if he could, to put the same into verse. Having undertaken it, he went away, and returning the next morning, gave it to them composed in most excellent verse; whereupon the abbess, embracing the grace of God in the 'man, instructed him to quit the secular habit, and take upon him the monastic life; which being accordingly done, she associated him to the rest of the brethren in her monastery, and ordered that he should be taught the whole series of sacred history. Thus Caedmon ' keeping in mind all he heard, and as it were chewing the cud, converted the same into most harmonious verse; and sweetly repeating the same, made his masters in their turn his hearers. He sang the creation of the world, the origin of man, and all the history of Genesis : and made many verses on the departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt, and their entering into the land of promise, with many other histories from holy writ; the incarnation, passion, resurrection of our Lord, and his ascension into heaven; the coming of the Holy Ghost, and the preaching of the apostles ; also the terror of future judgment, the horror of the pains of hell, and the delights of heaven; besides many more about the Divine benefits and judgments, by which he endeavoured to turn away all men from the love of vice, and to excite in them the love of, and application to, good actions; for he was a very religious man, humbly submissive to regular discipline, but full of zeal against those who behaved themselves otherwise; for which reason he ended his life happily. For when the time of his departure drew near, he laboured for the space of fourteen days under a bodily infirmity which seemed to prepare the way, yet so moderate that he could talk and walk the whole time. In his neighbourhood was the house to which those that were sick, and like shortly to die, were carried. He desired the person that attended him, in the evening, as the night came on in which he was to depart this life, to make ready a place there for him to take his rest. This person, wondering why he should desire it, because there was as yet no sign of his dying soon, did what he had ordered. He accordingly went there, and conversing pleasantly in a joyful manner with the rest that were in the house before, when it was past midnight, he asked them, whether they had the Eucharist there? They answered, "What need of the Eucharist? for you are not likely to die, since you talk so merrily with us, as if you were in perfect health." " However," said he, "bring me the Eucharist." Having received the same into his hand, he asked, whether they were all in charity with him, and without any enmity or rancour? They answered, that they were all in perfect charity, and free from anger; and in their turn asked him, whether he was in the same mind towards them? He answered, "I am in charity, my children, with all the servants of God." Then strengthening himself with the heavenly viaticum, he prepared for the entrance into another life, and asked, how near the

20

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

time was when the brothers were to be awakened to sing the nocturnal praises of our Lord? They answered, "It is not far off." Then he said, "Well, let us wait that hour;" and signing himself with the sign of the cross, he laid his head on the pillow, and falling into a slumber, ended his life so in silence. Thus it came to pass, that as he had served God with a simple and pure mind, and undisturbed devotion, so he now departed to his presence, leaving the world by a quiet death; and that tongue, which had composed so many holy words in praise of the Creator, uttered its last words whilst he was in the act of signing himself with the cross, and recommending himself into his hands, and by what has been here said, he seems to have had foreknowledge of his death.

21

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

A Companion to Old and Middle English Literature L. C. Lambdin, Th. Lambdin, eds. Westport, CT.: Greenwood Press, 2002. R. Th. Lambdin and L. C. Lambdin, Debate Poetry (pp. 118 ff.) In medieval English literature the poems of the debate genre have lent themselves to various, although scarce, interpretations that range from allegorical readings to those responses dependent upon unraveling a works historical contexts. Curiously, there is no complete survey presenting the diverse criticism of these poems. Moreover, a substantial gap exists in the recognition and criticism of the debate as it appears in Middle English literature. Regardless, debates serve to illustrate both sides of some sort of moral or philosophical instruction. Given this significant function of the Middle English debate, it seems necessary to recognize its importance in the canon of Middle English literature. Before identifying and exploring various debates in major works of this period, it is first necessary to define the debate as it appears in Middle English literature and then to trace its literary background from classical literature through its appearance around 1200 in the Middle English poem The Owl and the Nightingale. Few genres of English literature have stimulated such cursory critical analysis. Indeed, one must study and synthesize several secondary sources in order to comprehend the components and evolution of the Middle English debate. C. Hugh Holman and William Harmon (132) state that in the debate two persons or objects (birds, conditions, feelings, and so on) argue a specific topic and refer it to a judge. Thomas Garbty (555) adds that the tensouns, sardonic works of the twelfth-century Provenal troubadours that poked fun at contemporary love, initiated the caustic, satiric tensions that are the inherent quality of many debates. However, these descriptions must be amended to include the rhetorical dialectic of the debate that offers distinct theses and antitheses that are to be pondered and interpreted in order to persuade the debates audience to select the best possible alternative provided. Thus the debate becomes a highly individualized teaching tool through which the audience, using interpretive and reasoning skills, must synthesize the points provided by the debaters to expose themselves to the moral or philosophic message of the debate. This genre, then, was a handy tool for the church to incorporate in explaining the dogmatic mysteries of its canonideas that depend upon the faith of the audience. The debate provided a valuable service among the schemata of church ethics. These works, usually poems, begin by introducing the scene and the points to be argued, often by a dreamer or a coincidental observation by an unknowing narrator. The two combatants in turn offer particular theses and antitheses that are supported by proofs or points meant to strengthen their various arguments. The debaters speak alternatingly and, often by using sarcasm, attempt to refute the proofs provided by their opponent. Following several rounds of this verbal interplay the debate concludes, often without the announcement of a clear victor. It is up to the author to provide enough clues and evidence for the audience to decide for itself who or what wins the debate. Naturally, the social status of the audience weighs heavily in the listeners ability to choose a winner. For example, the tone and rhetoric of The Owl and the Nightingale work on several levels of interpretation toward a varied audience. To more fully comprehend the role of the debate in Middle English literature, it is beneficial to trace the form from its apparent foundation in classical literature through its continental influences to its eventual integration into the works of the Middle English canon. Of seminal importance is J. H. Hanfords study, which traces the roots of the Middle English debate to the Latin Eclogues of Virgil. In the Eclogues, composed in 4322

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

B.C., Hanford convincingly identifies the pastoral settings of Virgils work as comparable to those of the medieval debate poems. Also, the Eclogues center upon shepherds who gather and participate in singing contests. The victor of these confrontations is the shepherd who most convincingly proves that his song is the best. The poems consist of sharp alternation of speeches between the debaters. These personal pastorals lend a format easily adaptable into a literary form whose function it is to illuminate conflicting points of view. With the Norman Conquest, England became closely associated with French influences. French became the language of the English court and the nobility; French works were composed in England, and copies of French literature were made available to English readers (Woledge xix). This influx, which lasted for some three hundred years, provides a strong background for the appearance of the Middle English debate poems, such as The Owl and the Nightingale, in England around the year 1200. Given this interaction between these two cultures, it is natural that the debate genre would be available to and used by Middle English writers. By the end of the twelfth century there is evidence of the coming together of several movements that will be prominent in the study of the debate. First, the debate had evolved into a popular form on the Continent, being especially prominent in France. At the same time there was a growing Scholastic regime where the works of the great classical writers were being translated and analyzed. These movements coincided with the establishment of universities in England. Consequently, these university curricula heavily emphasized the classics in their teaching of young clerics. Since the universities were the product of the church, it is only natural that their writings would be applied toward the dogmatic, didactic teachings in an attempt to reconcile reason with faith. Aristotle, whose pagan works closely mirrored Christian elements, was the ideal source in the medieval scholars attempts to solidify the link between reason and logical truth and religious truth.http://www.soton.ac.uk/~wpwt/trans/owl/owltrans.htm

The Owl and the NightingaleLondon, British Library, MS Cotton Caligula A.ix (C), ff. 233ra--246ra Oxford, Jesus College MS 29 (J), ff. 156ra--168vb

TranslationGo to line: 100 | 200 | 300 | 400 | 500 | 600 | 700 | 800 | 900 | 1000 | 1100 | 1200 | 1300 | 1400 | 1500 | 1600 | 1700 (line-numbers are keyed to the Middle English text)

This is where the argument between the Owl and the Nightingale starts. I was in a valley in springtime; in a very secluded corner, I heard an owl and a nightingale holding a great debate. [5] Their argument was fierce, passionate, and vehement, sometimes sotto voce, sometimes loud; and each of them swelled with rage against the other and let out all her anger, and said the very worst she could think of about the other's character, [10] and especially they argued vehemently against each other's song. The nightingale began the argument in the corner of a clearing, [15] and perched on a beautiful branch---there was plenty of blossom around it -- in an impenetrable thick hedge, with reeds and green sedge growing through it. She was all the happier because of the branch, [20] and sang in many different ways; the music sounded as if it came from a harp or a pipe rather than from a living throat. [25] Nearby there stood an old stump where the owl sang her Hours, and which was all overgrown with ivy; this was where the owl lived. The nightingale looked at her, [30] and scrutinised her and despised her, and everything about the owl seemed unpleasant to her, since she is regarded as ugly and dirty. 'You nasty creature!', she said, 'fly away! The sight of you makes me sick. [35] Certainly I often

23

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

have to stop singing because of your ugly face. My heart fails me, and so does my speech, when you thrust yourself on me. I'd rather spit than sing [40] about your wretched howling.' The owl waited until it was evening; she couldn't hold back any longer, because she was so angry that she could hardly breathe, and finally she spoke: [45] 'How does my song seem to you now? Do you think that I can't sing just because I can't twitter? You often insult me [50] and say things to upset and embarrass me. If I held you in my talons -- if only I could! -- and you were off your branch, you'd sing a very different tune!' [55] The nightingale answered, 'As long as I keep out of the open, and protect myself against being exposed, I'm not bothered about your threats; [60] as long as I stay put in my hedge, I don't care at all what you say. I know that you're ruthless towards those who can't protect themselves from you, and that where you can you bully small birds cruelly and harshly. [65] That is why all kinds of birds hate you, and they all drive you away, and screech and scream around you, and mob you at close quarters; and for the same reason even the titmouse [70] would gladly rip you to pieces. You're ugly to look at, and hideous in all sorts of ways; your body is squat, your neck is scrawny, your head is bigger than the rest of you put together; [75] your eyes are black as coal, and as big as if they were painted with woad. You glare as if you want to bite to death everything that you can strike with your talons. Your beak is hard and sharp, and curved [80] like a bent hook. You often make a repeated clacking noise with it, and that's one of your songs. But you're making threats against my person, and would like to crush me with your talons; [85] a frog would suit you better, squatting under a mill-wheel; snails, mice, and other vermin would be more natural and appropriate for you. You roost by day and fly by night; [90] you show that you're an evil creature. You are loathsome and unclean -- I'm talking about your nest, and also about your dirty chicks; you're bringing them up with really filthy habits. [95] You know very well what they do in their nest: they foul it up to the chin; they sit there as if they're blind. There's a proverb about that: 'Shame on the creature [100] which fouls its own nest'! The other year a falcon was breeding; she didn't guard her nest well. You crept in there one day, and laid your filthy egg in it. [105] When the time came that she hatched the eggs and the chicks emerged, she brought her chicks food, watched over the nest and saw them eat; she saw that on one side [110] her nest was fouled on the outer edge. The falcon was angry with her chicks, and screamed loudly, and scolded sternly: 'Tell me, who's done this? It was never your nature to do this kind of thing. [115] This is a disgusting thing to have happened to you. Tell me, if you know who did it!' Then they all said, 'It was actually our brother, the one over there with the big head--- [120] it's a pity nobody's cut it off! Throw him out as a reject, so that he breaks his neck!' The Falcon believed her chicks, and seized that dirty chick by the middle, [125] and threw it off that wild branch, where magpies and crows tore it to pieces. There's a fable told about this, though it's not entirely a fable: this is what happens to the villain [130] who's come from a disreputable family and mixes with respectable people; he's always letting his origins show, that he's come from a rotten egg even if he's turned up in a respectable nest; [135] even if an apple rolls away from the tree where it was growing with the others, although it's some distance from it it still reflects clearly where it's come from.' The nightingale replied with these words, [140] and after that long speech she sang as loudly and as shrilly as if a resonant harp were being played. The owl listened to this, and kept her eyes lowered, [145] and sat puffed up and swollen with rage, as if she had swallowed a frog, because she was fully aware that the nightingale was singing to humiliate her. And nevertheless she answered: [150] 'Why don't you fly into the open and show which of us two is brighter in colouring and prettier to look at?' 'No! you have very sharp claws; I don't fancy being clawed by you. [155] You have very strong talons; you grip with them like a pair of tongs. You were planning---that's what your sort do---to trick me with flattery. I wouldn't do what you suggested to me; [160] I knew very well that you were trying to mislead me. You ought to be ashamed of your bad advice! Your deviousness has been exposed; hide your dishonesty from the light, and conceal that wickedness under good behaviour! [165] When you want to practise your villainy, see that it's not obvious; because dishonesty brings down contempt and hatred if it's open and recognized. You didn't24

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

succeed with your cunning plans, [170] because I'm cautious and can easily dodge. It's no use your pushing too hard; I would fight better with cunning than you with all your strength. [175] I have a good castle, both in breadth and length, in my branch; the wise man says, 'He who fights and runs away, Lives to fight another day.' But let's stop this quarrelling, because speeches like this aren't getting us anywhere; and let's begin with reasonable procedure, [180], and courteous and diplomatic language. Even if we don't agree, we can plead better politely, without quarrelling and fighting, properly and correctly; [185] and indeed each of us can say what she wants to fairly and reasonably.'

25

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

Layamons Brut We come now to that section of the literature of the period which represents a revolt against established religious themes. It has been seen that religious writers occasionally made use of the motives of legend and love, and from this it might be inferred that these were the directions into which the general taste was inclining. At all events these are the lines along which the literary revolt began to develop, Layamon, in the first instance, setting forth in the vernacular legendary material which came to hand. Layamons Brut, written early in the thirteenth century, has come down in two MSS. (A text and B text), belonging respectively to the first and second halves of the thirteenth century. The later version has numerous scribal alterations: there are many omissions of words and passages, the spelling is slightly modernised, riming variants are introduced and foreign substitutes take the place of obsolescent native words. The author reveals his identity in the opening lines. He is Layamon, a priest of Ernley (Arley Regis, Worcester), on the right bank of the Severn, where he was wont to read books (i.e.,., the services of the church). Layamons ambitious purpose was to tell the story of Britain from the time of the Flood. He is, however, content to begin with the story of Troy and the arrival of Brutus, and to end with the death of Cadwalader, 689 A.D. As regards his sources, he mentions the English book of Bede, the Latin books of St. Albin and St. Austin (by which he probably meant the Latin version of Bedes Ecclesiastical History) and thirdly, the Brut of the French clerk Wace. Of the first two authorities, however, it is curious to note, he makes not the slightest use. The account of Gregory and the English captives at Rome (11. 29,445 ff.), which is often quoted in support of his indebtedness to Bede, in reality proves his entire independence, for glaring discrepancies occur between the respective narratives. Elsewhere in the Brut Bede is directly contradicted22 and, in fact, Layamons assertion of indebtedness, as far as Bede is concerned, can be nothing more than a conventional recognition of a venerable work which dealt with a kindred subject. Convention rather than fact also lay behind his statement that he had consulted works in three different languages. His debt to Wace, however, is beyond all doubt. Innumerable details are common to both works, and moreover, it is clear that it is Waces work rather than Waces original (Geoffrey of Monmouths History of the Kings of Britain) that has been laid under contribution.23 In the first place, Wace and Layamon have certain details in common which are lacking in the work of Geoffrey; in the matter of omissions Wace and Layamon frequently agree as opposed to Geoffrey; while again they often agree in differing from the Latin narrative in regard to place and personal names. But if Waces Brut forms the groundwork of Layamons work, in the latter there are numerous details, not accounted for by the original, which have generally been attributed to Celtic (i.e. Welsh) influences. Many of these details, however, have recently been shown to be non-Welsh. The name of Argante the elf-queen, as well as that of Modred, for instance, point to other than Welsh territory. The traits added to the character of Arthur are in direct opposition to what is known of Welsh tradition. The elements of the Arthurian saga relating to the Round Table are known to have been treated as spurious by Welsh writers; Tysilio, in his Brut for instance, passes them over. Therefore the explanation of this additional matter in Layamon, as compared with Wace, must be sought for in other than Welsh material.24 Hitherto, when Waces Brut has been mentioned, it has been tacitly assumed that the printed version of that work was meant, rather than one of those numerous versions which either remain in manuscript or have since disappeared. One MS. (Add. 32,125. Brit. Mus.), however, will be found to explain certain name-forms, concerning which

26

PLOVDIV UNIVERSITY Faculty of Philology Department of English and American Studies

Layamon is in conflict with the printed Wace. And other later works, such as the AngloFrench Brut (thirteenth or fourteenth countury) and the English metrical Mort Arthur, both of which are based on unprinted versions of Wace, contain material which is present in Layamon, namely, details connected with the stories of Lear, Merlin and Arthur. Therefore it seems pos