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The triple themes of textile, text, and intertext, three powerful and evocative subjects within both Anglo-Saxon studies and Old English literature itself, run through the essays collected here. Chapters evoke the semantic complexities of textile references and images drawn from the Bayeux Tapestry, examine parallels in word-woven poetics, riddling texts, and interwoven homiletic and historical prose, and identify iconographical textures in medieval art. The volume thus considers the images and creative strategies of textiles, texts, and intertexts, generating a complex and fascinating view ofthe material culture and metaphorical landscape of the Anglo-Saxon peoples. It is therefore a particularly fitting tribute to Professor Gale R. Owen-Crocker, whose career and lengthy list of scholarly works have centred on her interests in the meaning and cultural importance of textiles, manuscripts and text, and intertextual relationships between text and textile.
Dr Maren Clegg Hyer is Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator in the Department of English at Valdosta State University.; Jill Frederick is Professor of English at Minnesota State University Moorhead.
Contributors: Marilina Cesario, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Martin Foys, Jill Frederick, Joyce Hill, Maren Clegg Hyer, Catherine E. Karkov, Christina Lee, Michael Lewis, Robin Netherton, Carol Neuman de Vegvar, Donald Scragg, Louise Sylvester, Paul Szarmach, Elaine Treharne.
The verse form used for vernacular poetry throughout the Anglo-Saxon period was that common to all the Germanic peoples, and was carried to England by the migrating tribes of the fifth century. It is therefore rooted in an oral tradition of poems composed, performed and passed on without benefit of writing. Some signs of the ways in which this poetry was created and transmitted can be gleaned from occasional references in vernacular and Latin literature. Heroic poetry in Old English tells of the professional minstrel at the court of kings, singing traditional legends from the Germanic past, and occasionally adding Christian stories to his repertoire, familiar tales made delightful to his audience by his skill in developing and embellishing them. In Latin works we learn something of the transmission of poems in more humble surroundings: William of Malmesbury, in the twelfth-century Gesta pontificum, reports King Alfred's story of Abbot Aldhelm (d. 709) reciting secular poetry at the bridge in Malmesbury to attract an audience for his preaching, and Bede, in the Ecclesiastical History, suggests that it was normal in the seventh century for men of the lowest social classes when attending festive gatherings to recite poems that they had learnt by heart.
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