The British Library has paid £92,500 in order to keep a 500-year old dictionary from leaving the United Kingdom. They announced earlier this week that they had completed the purchase of the Catholicon Anglicum, a 15th-century English-Latin dictionary.
As a collector of alphabet books, and sometime editor of a newsletter on the subject, I have had many opportunities to consider the history of the alphabet poem. Although alphabet poems may take a wide range of forms, most are generally divided into twenty-six parts (lines, couplets, stanze…), one for each letter.
Since, at the time of the rise of macaronic poetry, Latin was the language of learn- ing, including medicine, it is expected that an analysis of the Latin in macaronic poetry and its interaction with other linguistic varieties in the same, can reveal changes in the relative social position of various groups.
We must now begin to ask ourselves what led to this increase in millenarian belief that the world would end between either 1000-1033 A.D.; 1033 being the 1000th year anniversary of the death of Christ. From the evidence provided in the first hand accounts of religious figures in the early eleventh century, it can be argued that this millenarian idea was not uncommon throughout Europe.
Heaney’s Beowulf provides us with a great deal which other translations do not: a poetic fluency rendered in Modern English, a skilled understanding of linguistic choices, and most importantly, a consciousness of the translative act which negotiates fluidly between modern perspectives and Anglo Saxon artistry.
Scholarship on Amis and Amiloun has generally been divided into two critical schools. The majority of critics have read the work as an exemplar of perfect friendship, overlooking (or ignoring) any trace of homoeroticism, citing the possibility itself as anachronistic, or explaining away its presence by offering historical or theoretical justification for intimacy among medieval men.
Although few specifics are known about the historical daily patterns of interaction between ON speakers and Gaelic speakers in the Highlands and Western/Hebrides Islands of what is present-day Scotland, it is clear neverthe- less that the groups lived more or less side by side in that region over a period of several centuries.