The First Poems in English  -     Edited By: Michael Alexander
    By: Translated by Michael Alexander
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The First Poems in English

Penguin Classics / 2008 / Paperback

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Product Description

A fascinating introduction to Old English, The First Poems in English is part-history, part-linguistics study, part-literature analysis. Each fragment of surviving Old English is accompanied by notes on the manuscript's condition and history, as well as current scholarship on the translated poem. Featuring poems of love and heroics, this is a unique look into the roots of modern-day English literature. 140 pages, softcover.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 140
Vendor: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 0140433783
ISBN-13: 9780140433784
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

This selection of the earliest poems in English comprises works from an age in which verse was not written down, but recited aloud and remembered. Heroic poems celebrate courage, loyalty and strength, in excerpts from Beowulf and in The Battle of Brunanburgh, depicting King Athelstan’s defeat of his northern enemies in 937 AD, while The Wanderer and The Seafarer reflect on exile, loss and destiny. The Gnomic Verses are proverbs on the natural order of life, and the Exeter Riddles are witty linguistic puzzles. Love elegies include emotional speeches from an abandoned wife and separated lovers, and devotional poems include a vision of Christ’s cross in The Dream of the Rood, and Caedmon’s Hymn, perhaps the oldest poem in English, speaking in praise of God.

Author Bio

Michael Alexander is Professor of English at the University of St Andrews, and translator/editor of Beowulf: A Verse Translation and Beowulf: A Glossed Text, Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales: The First Fragment and The Earliest English Poems.

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  1. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    March 5, 2009
    Steven Posey
    A very interesting subject.The editors comments are far from dry,and open up the world of Anglo-Saxon prose.
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