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The Anglo-Saxon World by Kevin…

The Anglo-Saxon World (1982)

by Kevin Crossley-Holland

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489531,766 (3.93)2



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A wide selection of poetry, epic battle literature, charms, letters, laws charters and almost everything else from the Anglo-Saxon age.I have only read parts of the entire compilation of works in the anthology.

The content is hugely varied, ranging from Beowulf to letters from the Pope to Saxon Kings, and naughty riddles, including my favourite short poem ‘The Wanderer’ in which a Warrior laments the loss of the brotherhood of his friends and fellowship of the Mead-hall after the death of his Lord.
The version of the poem included in this book did seem to be a bit of an over-literal translation in some places which appeared to detract from the poetic style but it is still and excellent introduction to the fascinating civilization of the Anglo Saxons.

My only gripe is that the author did not include a sampling of the works of Alcuin of York (which I would love to read) or extracts from Bede’s ‘On the Reckoning of Time’ especially as the Latter text clearly demonstrates that as early as the 7th century medieval people knew the earth was round. ( )
  Medievalgirl | Oct 4, 2016 |
A very good collection of quite a wide range of Anglo-Saxon verse, including Beowulf and other, less-known texts. They're good translations, if I might presume to judge: they're readable, they have good flow, and so far as I can tell -- it's been a while since I did Anglo-Saxon -- they're accurate.

Mostly needed this for my essay, but I'm glad I picked it up and looked through the rest. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
Anglo-Saxon history through the translated writings of the time, literature and letters. Somewhat ponderous to read, but worthwhile if you are interested in the time period. ( )
  sprowett | May 17, 2008 |
finally finished this one last night. I must admit that it took me a while, but it was worth it.

I read it after finishing this books earlier this year: http://bookcrossing.com/journal/1890116

So, comparing it with the previous collection of Anglo-Saxon work, here's my feelings:

Contains more than just poetry - lots other stuff I hadn't read, like sermons, charters, letters, history, etc.

Nice job at establishing the setting for each work including

Contains all of Beowulf, not just selected parts, unlike the first book above

Easy to read and understand


No glossary or explanantion of difficult terms in the back

A little too easy to understand - it's like the difference between the newer translations of the Bible and the King James Version. The language may be more familiar, but some of the poetry and complexity of meaning is lost. The translation on some of the poems was stronger in the first book.

Still, really worth reading and a definite keeper.

CMB ( )
1 vote cmbohn | Sep 13, 2006 |
A good introduction to the Anglo-Saxon sensibility, kennings included.
1 vote kencf0618 | Aug 26, 2006 |
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I warmly welcome... your eager desire to know something of the doings and sayings of great men of the past, and of our own nation in particular.
When I remembered how the knowledge of Latin had formerly decayed throughout England, and yet many could read English writing, I began, amongst other various and manifold troubles of this kingdom, to translate into English... sometimes word by word, and sometimes according to the sense...
We dare not lengthen this book much more, lest it be out of moderation and stir up men's antipathy because of its size.
for Gillian
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It is almost one thousand years since the Anglo-Saxons were shattered at the Battle of Hastings.
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Beowulf, The Battle of Maldon, The Dream of the Rood, The Wanderer, and The Seafarer are among the greatest surviving Anglo-Saxon poems. They, and many other treasures, are included in The Anglo-Saxon World: chronicles, laws and letters, charters and charms, and above all superb poems. Here is a word picture of a people who came to these islands as pagans and yet within two hundred years had become Christians, to such effect that England was the centre of missionary endeavour and, for a time, the heart of European civilization. Kevin Crossley-Holland places poems and prose in context with his skilful interpretation of the Anglo-Saxon world; his translations have been widely acclaimed, and of Beowulf the poet Charles Causley has written, 'the poem has at last found its translator'.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192835475, Paperback)

Crossley-Holland--the widely acclaimed translator of Old English texts--introduces the Anglo-Saxons through their chronicles, laws, letters, charters, and poetry, with many of the greatest surviving poems printed in their entirety.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:41 -0400)

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