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The Anglo-Saxon World An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 26 Feb 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
The thing about this Oxford collection is that, to all intents and purposes, it's all here in one volume: the Anglo-Saxon world in all its strange, distant, exploratory beauty and freshness.
Not only that, but two of the era's greatest poems here receive versions worthy of them, The Seafarer and good old Beowulf. Heaney's much more recent and highly praised Beowulf is superb, and Pound's classic Seafarer is wonderful, but these versions have a simple purity and fidelity which marks them out, and makes the reader want to return to them.
Last night I read aloud - people still do this! - The Seafarer, and it sounded just right (more down to Crossley-Holland than my rendition, I'm sure).
After a brief introduction, you get 300 pages, in separate sections, of Heroic Poems, Laws, a short selection from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Elegies, Christian Poems, Riddles, A Sermon, Exploration, and much more besides.
All the old 'hits' are here: not only the haunting Seafarer, but The Wanderer, Bede's Death Song, the famous Caedmon's Hymn, The Battle of Maldon, The Dream of the Rood...plus letters from Pope Gregory and King Canute.
Sensibly, KC-H introduces and explains each section, a user-friendly format which allows a natural reading experience, with (surprisingly perhaps) no end-notes, or intrusive footnotes, only a brief Bibliography for those who wish, like the seafarer, to explore further...
I have Crossley-Holland's poems, his excellent Norse Myths, and his award-winning Arthurian trilogy, and he strikes me as a writer who would never let the reader down in any way. Here he manages to do a whole world justice, and for that I am grateful.
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!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Perfect for my Tolkien Course at Uni. Could be better if there were line numbers on the translations to refer to the old-english original ones.Published 14 months ago by CharleneTheAwesome
Purchased after studying a WEA course-'Shining a light on the Dark Ages'Published 16 months ago by The Goach
Excellent book on Old English poetry and the background against which it was written which is invaluable - a bit like a poetry and history book in one!Published 19 months ago by SNasa
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