Orkneyinga saga : A Work in Progress?

orkneyinga-saga-hermann-palsson-paperback-cover-art

The reconstituted text conventionally known as Orkneyinga saga has many points of interest for Old Icelandic literary history, in addition to any intrinsic literary qualities, and its interest as a source for the history and culture of Scandinavian Scotland.

‘Cast out into the hellish night’: Pagan Virtue and Pagan Poetics in Lorenzo Valla’s De voluptate

Lorenzo_Valla

Valla wrote about Epicureanism before the Renaissance rediscovery of classical Epicurean texts. Poggio Bracciolini had not yet circulated his newly-discovered manuscript of first century Epicurean philosopher Lucretius’ De rerum natura, and Valla wrote without access to Diogenes Laertius’ Lives of the Philosophers, which discussed Epicurus’ teachings in greater detail.

Beowulf Is Not God Cyning

Bowulf

By understanding the etymology of the Old English cyning, and by recognizing the poet’s use of Scyld as the model for a good king, we can see that each of the three uses of the phrase ‘Þæt wæs god cyning’ has a different meaning…

Chasing Krüger’s Dream: Studying the Transmission of Classical and Medieval Manuscripts Using Lattice Theory and Information Entropy

Chasing Krüger's Dream: Studying the Transmission of Classical and Medieval Manuscripts Using Lattice Theory and Information Entropy

New computational techniques show how modern digital philology is changing the way we think of the transmission of medieval manuscripts through space and time.

Heorot and the Plundered Hoard: A Study of Beowulf

Beowulf and Hrothgar

Time and again the Beowulf poet’s choice of words and details reveals that he practised his craft within a tradition in which his creativeness was bound and disciplined by the objectiveness of a particular structure of images. We perceive in all the rich variety of his work the unifying effect of the typological imagination. It is in the typological mode of Beowulf that the key to its meaning and artistry is to be found.

Conquest, Contact, and Convention: Simulating the Norman Invasion’s Impact on Linguistic Usage

Normans

How do conventions arise? Lewis adressed this in his work Convention via signaling games, a mathematical model of communication where a sender sends a message to a receiver who then interprets it. When we say conventions, we mean by that a system of coor- dinated behavior pairing information states with actions

The Development of Predicative Possession in Slavic Languages

Old Slavonic text

As an active language, Early Proto-Indo-European (Pre-Indo-Euro- pean) had no category of syntactic transitivity (Subject-Object relation), which is the central characteristic of nominative (accusative) languages, and no verb ‘have’.

A Christological reading of The Ruin

Anglo Saxon

We should be aware that the semantic scope of each word may vary drastically and that the reader is influenced by many variables in attaching the meaning to a given word. The question becomes trickier if we take the allegorical viewpoint, because polysemy is concerned with the entire text, not with just a word. Thus, we should not consider the surface meaning of the words, but look more carefully for the covert meanings.

Property Rights in Celtic Irish Law

Medieval Celtic Law text

Unfortunately, many historians not specializing in the study of the ancient Irish law tracts have been unaware of the textual inaccuracies of the O’Curry – O’Donovan translations and have continued to incorporate their older unscientific work, and that of their editors, into their own work.

Language and Legend in the Fantasy Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien

Tengwar Sindarin font

There was something so real in the languages that he created, and critics wanted to find the inspirations behind Tolkien‘s worlds. Elves, dwarves, men, hobbits, and various other creatures occupied the pages of his books, but the languages he created were complex and had real elements in them. Examples of his invented languages were those spoken by the Elves, Sindarin and Quenya.

“My trouthe for to holde—allas, allas!”: Dorigen and Honor in “The Franklin’s Tale”

The Franklin's Tale

We can see from the beginning of the Franklin’s Tale that honor as pub- lic esteem is an overriding concern for Arveragus, who qualifies his exceedingly courtly marriage vow, swearing always to remain Dorigen’s servant in love, with the condition that he retain the public appearance of lordly husband, “That wolde he have for shame of his degree”.

Medieval Book History Week Lecture: “Practical Latin and Formal English in the 14th-15th Centuries”

Reeve - Manuscript c. 1327-1328

This lecture is part of Medieval Book History Week. Renown Professor Jeremy Catto spoke about literacy and language in England during the later Middle Ages at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies at the University of Toronto.

Re-writing discourse features: speech acts in Heliand

Heliand

Though extremely fascinating and very appealing, the theory of the saxonization and northernization of the Gospel has ended up permeating every single level upon which an analysis of the poem can be carried out, becoming a sort of a priori starting point that may lead scholars to over-interpretation and, therefore, hinder them from developing a perhaps deeper insight into the poem.

The Riddle of Gollum: Was Tolkien Inspired by Old Norse Gold, the Jewish Golem, and the Christian Gospel?

Gollum

I would like to speculate on Tolkien’s sources for Gollum. As a start, it is likely that Tolkien’s conscious sources for Gollum were the same as his sources for ents.

Hopkins and Early English Riddling: Solving The Windhover?

Anglo-Saxon text

In this article I will demonstrate that The Windhover has strong formal similarities with early English riddling. This genre, which has very little in common with modern riddles, has a range of distinctive formal conventions which, I argue, are also present in The Windhover, including an “entitled solution,” “kennings” and the use of formulae.

Madness and Gender in Late-Medieval English Literature

Removing Madness - Renaissance

Madness has been long misrepresented in medieval studies. Assertions that conceptions of mental illness were unknown to medieval people, or that all madmen were assumed to be possessed by the devil, were at one time common in accounts of medieval society.

The Evolution Of English

The Evolution Of English

A video lecture on the origin and vagaries of the English language up to the 15th century

Sovereign Subjects, Feudal Law, and the Writing of History

Feudalism

The early historiography of feudal law coalesced as the point of articulation for a discourse of time (the rejection/reclamation of a “barbaric” past) and a discourse of power (the theorization of the sovereign relation), and ultimately yielded a period concept foundational to “modern” theories of state.

Placenames and the settlement pattern of dark-age Scotland

Scotland crest

This study will examine some placename evidence for features of settlement in E Scotland, that zone which lies of the Firth of Forth and E of the main Scottish mountain mass. In this areaat least four different languages have been spoken with differing temporal and spatial extents: one non-Indo-European tongue, Celtic, Norse and English.

The Monastic rules of Visigothic Iberia: a study of their text and language

Monk writing

Studies on early medieval monasticism have gained ground in recent scholarship.1 However, despite earlier activity,2 interest in early western monastic rules has generally lagged behind.

A survey of the scholarship of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain & the Green Knight

A survey of the major themes of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (SGGK) reveals both the poem’s complexity and the poet’s artistry. A general examination of the poem permits commentary upon the work’s historical background, thematic unity, and narrative structure.

The mandrake plant and its legend: a new perspective

Mandrake

As a specialist in German mediaeval studies, until the time Peter Bierbaumer introduced me to Old English plant names and approached me with the idea of republishing and updating his Der botanische Wortschatz des AltenglischenI had no idea how fascinating Old English could be.

VAGANTES: “What has Beowulf to do with a Christian King?” Heroic Legend as Poetic Speculum Principis

Beowulf 5

Through a rhetorical analysis based in grounded theory that analyzes fifteen speeches and their contexts made by Hroðgar, Beowulf, and Wiglaf, I will show how the poet appropriated the Beowulf legend to present a dramatized speculum principis using the rhetorical devices common to oral-traditional narratives to articulate the three traits of kingship most highly valued by both secular and sacred authorities: generosity, faith, and protectiveness.

Folk narratives and legends as sources of widespread idioms: Toward a Lexicon of Common Figurative Units

300px-Vasnetsov_Frog_Princess

On the one hand, stories (particularly fables) have been de- rived from already existing proverbs, from antiquity up to early modern times. On the other hand, a story in its summarised form can live on in a proverb or an idiom, even if the knowledge of this story has been forgotten for a long time.

Female Discourses: Powerful and Powerless Speech in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur

The_last_sleep_of_Arthur

Verbal interactions of female characters of Le Morte Darthur are analyzed in various instances of speech behavior, such as advice, apology, conflict managing, complaining, nagging and teasing.

medievalverse magazine