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A Guide to Old English Paperback – 5 Dec 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 7th Edition edition (5 Dec. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405146907
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405146906
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.5 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 702,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Back Cover

For more than 30 years, A Guide to Old English has been the standard introduction to Old English language and literature. This updated seventh edition retains the structure and style of the popular previous editions, and includes two new, much–requested texts the Cotton Gnomes and Wulfstan s Sermo Lupi ad Anglos and two new appendices: A List of Linguistic Terms Used in This Book and The Moods of Old English.

The book is composed of two parts. Part One presents an introduction to the Old English language, including orthography and pronunciation, inflexions, word formation, and an authoritative section on syntax. This is followed by an introduction to Anglo–Saxon studies, which discusses language, literature, history, archaeology, and ways of life. Sound–changes are treated as they become relevant in understanding apparent irregularities in inflexion. Part Two contains prose and verse texts, most of them complete, which fully reveal the range that Old English offers in subject matter, style, and emotional intensity. Full explanatory notes accompany all the texts, and a detailed glossary is provided.

The new edition of this highly–acclaimed Guide is an essential reference for anyone wanting to gain a greater understanding and enjoyment of the language and literature of the Anglo–Saxons.

About the Author

Bruce Mitchell is Fellow Emeritus at St Edmund Hall, Oxford.

Fred C. Robinson is Douglas Tracy Smith Professor Emeritus of English at Yale University.

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By H. Holding on 4 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
Any serious student of Old English will appreciate the clear paradigms and description of the structure of this language. It is perfectly accessible to anyone with a grounding in modern European languages such as French or German. Specialist terminology is generally explained. The addition of worthwhile extracts from the body of OE literature illustrate vividly how the language was used and add to the overall enjoyment of the subject.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Useful, if the organization of the book is understood 20 Sept. 2008
By Poor Scholar - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me as preparation for graduate studies in Medieval English literature. As some of the other reviewers have noted, the book's organization is somewhat difficult to understand at first, especially if you are used to books like Wheelock's Latin, which is organized in self-study lessons with grammar concepts, vocabulary, and texts presented in order of increasing difficulty. This book is NOT organized in that way, but is still helpful if properly used.

The book is organized in a more encyclopedic fashion, e.g. with all noun declensions (including a number of notes on excceptions and variations) presented together, followed by all strong verbs (with notes), etc. Syntax has its own chapter. Therefore, you cannot expect easily to work through the book in the order in which elements are presented. It is better to remember that the book is organized by topic, not by the order in which a the many aspects of a topic should be learned. I had much better success when I started by memorizing the basic noun paradigms (ignoring the variations and exceptions), the pronoun paradigms, and then starting with weak verbs. I was then able to begin translating the basic texts provided, with the help of the glossary, and by referring to the syntax portion of the book where necessary to decipher the uses of different cases. In the midst of this I read about, but did not try to entirely memorize, the rules of sound changes, which helps greatly when looking up words in the glossary.

In short, it is not difficult to use this book for self-study, as long as you put forth some effort and thought into organizing your own "lesson plans," pulling necessary material from the book in a sensible order. Having learned another inflected language will be of great help in giving you an idea of the order in which concepts should be learned, but the "How to Use This Guide" section does give some suggestions about how to approach the material.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Enthusiastic Old Language 20 Oct. 2011
By Peter McGowan - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The authors, Mitchell and Robinson have updated their classic text. But the main value of this great book, apart from the invaluable material it records, is the unmistakable enthusiasm its authors clearly have for their subject. It makes the task of learning something as drab as a dead language, so much easier and enjoyable. This book is a mine of wonderful data on Old English, especially its relation to modern English and middle English. The book is obviously written in modern English that is always a delight to read. The selections of texts to read is extensive and gives a broad idea of the sort of material circulating in Old English times.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Accessible and Fluid 12 Dec. 2008
By Lauren E. Mersich - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is probably the best grammar of Old English in current circulation (unless you can somehow get your hands on a copy of Bright's). Don't waste your time trying to find another one. It clearly arranges each section and provides a preface/introduction to each element of grammar. My only complaint would be its limited dictionary, but Clark & Hall have published a decent student dictionary for Old English.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Yes, for the graduate text! 6 Jan. 2014
By Morrighan - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am currently returning to English graduate work. My greatest interest is Anglo-Saxon language and literature. I still needed a brush up. A Guide to Old English was my text in grad school and after being able to obtain it from Amazon, it is my text again. I cannot recommend it enough both to beginners and those who wish to brush up their understanding. Enjoy!
J. Kara Faust, Psy.D.
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