Becoming a Poet in Anglo-Saxon England

Combining historical, literary and linguistic evidence from Old English and Latin, Becoming a Poet in Anglo-Saxon England creates a new, more complete picture of who and what pre-Conquest English poets really were. It includes a study of Anglo-Saxon words for 'poet' and the first list of named poets in Anglo-Saxon England. Its survey of known poets identifies four social roles that poets often held – teachers, scribes, musicians and courtiers – and explores the kinds of poetry created by these individuals. The book also offers a new model for understanding the role of social groups in poets' experience: it argues that the presence or absence of a poetic community affected the work of Anglo-Saxon poets at all levels, from minute technical detail to the portrayal of character. This focus on poetic communities provides a new way to understand the intersection of history and literature in the Middle Ages.

 Emily V. Thornbury
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