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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Anglo-Saxon World An Anthology, 9 Mar 2010
By 
Julie S. (Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
At just over 300 pages this welcoming-looking volume is a deceptively easy read. It introduces and explains a diverse selection of entertaining material which can be dipped into in any order. Along with heroic poems or poem fragments as one might expect, there are tales of exploration, letters, extracts of land charters and wills, details of a marriage agreement, some intriguing laws and fines, - even 31 humorous riddles to solve, with possible answers provided. And how about a charm against a swarm of bees or theft of cattle, or, from Bald's Leechbook remedies for spider bites and shingles? Perhaps best known is the epic of Beowulf and the whole poem is included here.

This varied anthology will satisfy any curiosity about Anglo-Saxon literature and life. Moreover it will surprise. Crossley-Holland's translations are effortlessly easy to negotiate bringing the real voices to speak through the thousand or thousand and a half years since they were first written. An unusual treat.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vanished world conjured up with ringing clarity, 11 Nov 2011
By 
Jeremy Bevan (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
This lively little anthology of writings from the Anglo-Saxon world brings vividly to life the multi-faceted society of pre-1066 England (and the near continent) eclipsed by the Norman Conquest. Translated with ringing clarity by poet Kevin Crossley-Holland, it covers a marvellous range of topics. From epic poems like `The Battle of Maldon' and (the complete) Beowulf to mystical Christian poems such as `The Dream of the Rood'; from laws, history (extracts from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle) and ecclesiastical letters to biographical extracts, examples from wills and even riddles, its range is such that the reader can't fail to grasp something of the stunning depth and diversity of this fascinatingly rich and surprisingly subtle culture.

Crossley-Holland introduces each of the sixteen themed sections with brief but helpful background remarks on the date (where known), context and enduring value of the works presented. These sections are invaluable in giving something of a historical and cultural overview if your grasp of the period isn't strong (as mine isn't). His obvious enthusiasm for the example and work of Alfred the Great and the Celtic saints comes shining through; but it's in his vivid, plain, flowing translation that the real strength of his work lies. Though Seamus Heaney's more recent translation of Beowulf has perhaps now supplanted his, Crossley-Holland's rendering of (to give but one example) the letter from Alcuin, Archbishop of York, to Aethelred, king of Northumbria, in which he describes the (moral) causes of, and (moral) remedies for, the Viking invasion and devastation of 793 AD, is so fresh and urgent that it almost reads like a 21st century news editorial. Whilst I think including the complete Beowulf possibly makes the collection slightly unbalanced, the fascinating variety of the anthology as a whole may well leave you hungry, as it did me, to find out more about this most remarkable of vanished cultures. A gem.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive selection of Anglo Saxon writings, 21 Sep 2012
By 
R. L. Walker "Monty the Rat" (Halifax) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Mr Crossley Holland has collected a comprehensive selection of the best of Anglo Saxon literature
The translations are clear and encourage the reader to dive into the world of the Dark Ages
I bought this as I will be visiting the North East of England and intend to visit Jarrow and Whitby
These writings add to the sense of place and atmosphere in a period of history which is often overlooked
The braggartry of Beowulf is familiar from school days but I was particularly taken with some of the more sombre poems
and the writings about the sea in winter which was recognisable from some North sea crossings on car ferries,in an open boat the
writer must have felt every freezing wave.
Thoroughly recommended to anyone visiting an area with extensive Saxon and Viking history.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to the culture, history and literature of the Anglo-Saxons, 7 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
As someone who knew very little of the Dark Age/Early Middle Ages world that the Anglo-Saxons lived in, I can safely say that this is the best introduction I could have looked for. It is not a direct historical/chronological work, but it is not supposed to be that. What it is is a fantastic journey through the history, culture, religion and literature of the Anglo-Saxons, including some fantastic battle poems like the Battle of Maldon, one of the greatest epics ever put down (Beowulf) and some truly beautiful poems (Deor, The Wanderer, The Seafarer etc etc).

I cannot praise this book enough. It is easy to read and truly fascinating. Once you've got this I'd suggest the Penguin history of the Anglo-Saxons to give you a context for these great works!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a magical and effortless book, 6 Nov 2013
By 
Ms. D. Meylanova (Moscow, Russia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
The selections are interesting, including not only poetry and saga, but history, geographic descriptions of travels, laws, letters and all sorts. The introductions contextualise the fragments with enthusiasm and unassuming scholarship, without being overbearing, ideologically-loaded or unsympathetic. It is absolute top quality, a must-read, I would have thought. Should be compulsory on the school curriculum.
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The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics)
The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics) by Kevin Crossley-Holland (Paperback - 26 Feb 2009)
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