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The Anglo-Saxon World An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 26 Feb 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (26 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199538719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199538713
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 1.8 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Format: 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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Format: Paperback
This welcome, attractive anthology rivals Michael Alexander's translations from the Anglo-Saxon for Penguin, and neither pales by comparison with the other.
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.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read some of this author's work back at university for my dissertation many years ago so I have enjoyed picking up his writing again. Returning to study literature once more after a long break from academia and this period is relatively new to me so I've found the book accessible and very useful. It gives an engaging overview of the literature of the time and an insight into the milieu of the Anglo-Saxon world which supports your understanding of the texts in translation.
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