Professors Hill and Hyams
"Anglo Saxon History in its Literary Context"
sometimes crosslisted with ENGLISH 710
Wednesdays 7:30 - 9:25 pm, MG 366
|Prof. Hill||Prof. Hyams|
|Office||GS 262||MG 307|
|Office Hours||MWF am, TBA||TBA|
[You can find the original of this print-out at <http://falcon.arts.cornell.edu/prh3/651/index.html>.
The online version supersedes anything found here, as it will be updated periodically.]
One very special feature of the course is the claim of Prof. Hill to be able to teach anyone a reading knowledge of Old English within twenty-four hours. This will enable all-comers to appreciate something of the special qualities of the texts we study in their original langauges. We express our goals in this cautious way (the plural indicating that the same goes for the very important Anglo-Latin literature) because we understand the difficulties that these languages present to some of us. Translations will always be available for the linguistically impaired like Prof. Hill's colleague. Hyams' major role will probably be to disagree with more or less everything that Prof. Hill argues.
We have ordered books that we are confident no graduate student in the area should be without and at paperback prices that all should be able to afford. Our plans for the course hang in part around these book choices, but will also turn on the needs and interests of participants. You should all (auditors not excepted) make your wishes known early and often.Thanks to the wonders of xeroxing and the Web, it is now very easy for us to turn the attention of a course of this kind to texts etc. at short notice. Please make sure we do. We shall leave master copies of xerox articles, texts etc. in the Medieval Studies Program Office, GS 259.
Bede's Ecclesiastical History, transl. R. Collins and
J. McClure (OUP)
Cecily Clark, The Peterborough Chronicle, 1070-1154
Keynes & Lapidge, Alfred the Great…
Edward James, Britain in the First Millennium
J.M. Wallace-Hadrill, Bede’s Ecclesiastical History: Historical. Commentary
Other Readings will be made available by whatever method seems best, mostly by xerox or by a copy (for you to xerox yourself) lodged in the pouch outside MG 307 and marked [Pouch] The class Reserve will be kept in GS 262, key available on request from Dianne Ferriss (GS 259).
SCHEDULE OF POSSIBLE TOPICS
1. Maldon (and the Second Danish War)
Articles on Literacy in ASE by Simon Keynes and S. Hill [Pouch]
You can see something like the Ruthwell Cross runes online. (You need a browser with table support, which I think we probably have.) One of my very favorite non-runic inscriptions is from Kirkdale, Yorks, no less.
You can have your very own runic
font, created by my old Ithaca soccer chum Richard Howland-Bolton
(now of Weekend Radio on NPR).
5. Baldr and the death of the well-beloved son
Texts from Beowulf/The Fates of Men
and the Leges Henrici Primi
6. Miracle and Event / Bede /Gregory's Dialogues
7. Three Rules for Reading Bede (God's truth about Bede)
8. Boundaries /Limits and the order of the Land
9. Chronicle(s) and the death of Cyneheard
The OE text of the Parker Chronicle (A) is the only one yet available online.
10. Edgar Rowed by the 6 Kings on the River Dee
1. Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum.
The standard edition is that by B. Colgrave & Sir Roger Mynors (OUP) but Baedae Opera Historica, ed. C. Plummer (1896) has notes which remain very useful. Equally important for the serious student is J.M. Wallace-Hadrill, Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People: A Historical Commentary (Clarendon Press: Oxford Medieval Texts, Oxford 1988).
We should, of course, all read this in the original. The recommended translation is, however, John R. Clark Hall, Beowulf and the Finnsburgh Fragment (Allen and Unwin: revd. edn, London 1950) revised by C.E. Wrenn and with an introduction by J.R.R. Tolkien. This is a very straight and untendentious rendering. Bradley has another perfectly good prose translation, and there are a number of others in prose or verse, many with their own merits.
3. Some More Secular Poems (from the Exeter Book).
Bradley, 320-5, 329-35, 336-40, 362-5 (The Wanderer, The Seafarer, Widsith, Deor) Xeroxes of Old English texts will be available from GS 259.
4. King Alfred and Alfredian Literature,
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, for the years 871-99. Follow
any one version in the first instance. (See below
for online texts.)
Simon Keynes & Michael Lapidge, Alfred the Great (Penguin 1983), 123-60 offers samples of Alfredian translations of various kinds; notes on pp. 292-303.
Keynes & Lapidge, 28-41, 214-7 briefly survey the
reign and secondary literature on its literary production.
Dorothy Whitelock, "The Prose of Alfred's Reign", Continuations & Beginnings, ed. E.G. Stanley (London 1966), 67-103.
Note that there are recent high-power studies of the reign by David Sturdy and (much critiqued) Alf Smyth, with others on the way. Every serious scholar should own at least the Keynes & Lapidge Penguin, which contains the ideal starter kit, and all in English!
5. Elf Charms and "Effective" Popular Religion.
Tom and I will be reading Karen Jolly, Popular Religion in Anglo-Saxon England (U. North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill & London, 1996). We shall doubtless draw somewhat different conclusons from the book. I am not suggesting that you read it just now, though I shall put a copy of the TMR review* into the reserve box in GS 259. I shall also place there (I hope) some translations of charms that Tom thought he had made some time ago. (NB It would help everyone if those who are around this Break week made their xeroxes while they can, and before the rest get back from their deserved and I hope enjoyable break.)
Karen Jolly has very kindly made available on her excellent Web site many of the translations she made for her book. They remain in copyright but you may click here to get them. (There are other good things at her site too, including reproductions of a highly relevant psalter picture. Bradley, 543-9 presents in translation two of the charms, with a very decent example of the kind of editorial material that Jolly tries to get beyond. Greenfield & Calder, 255-8 have some more similar (and useful) discussion.
Lester K. Little, Benedictine Maledictions (Cornell: Ithaca, NY, ?1994) collects comparable but malevolent materials (though not from England) and faces up to the challenge of explaining how there can be Christian curses despite biblical prohibitions. I shall add one English (post-Conquest) curse to the charm dossier, translated PRH. A copy of PRH's "Trial By Ordeal: The Key to Proof in the Early Common Law", from Essays in Honor of S.E. Thorne (1981), 90-126 will also be in GS 259; pp. 93-4, 106-11 treat another institution of the late Old English period that appears to depend on making "effective" popular religious belief in the miraculous.
* TMR stands for The Medieval Reviews (formerly known as Bryn Mawr Medieval Reviews). Serious students ought to consider registering to receive free these on-line reviews of scholarly books and texts on the middle ages. They cover books on all aspects of medieval history, culture, literature, art, religion etc. They are usually serious and competent and they appear long before the printed reviews. And you can perhaps offer yourself as a reviewer in return for the book to keep!
Other likely and possible topics include:
An Introduction to Old English This is one of the many good things available at the Online Reference Book in Medieval Studies. If you do not already know it, you should certainly familiarize yourself with its ever-expanding contents.
The Labyrinth: Old English Pages Again, this is a resource every professional ought to know.
Online texts of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle:
-- Labyrinth will have a complete set of MS texts in Old English; so far only MS A is available and some useful introductory material.
-- OMACL offers a 1912 English translation