Andreas: An Edition

BookAndreas: An Edition

Andreas: An Edition

Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies


January 20th, 2016

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This is the first edition of Andreas for 55 years, also the first to present the Anglo-Saxon, or rather Old English, text with a parallel Modern English poetic translation. The book aims not only to provide both students and scholars with an up-to-date text and introduction and notes, but also to reconfirm the canonical merit of Andreas as one of the longest and most important works in Old English literature. The introduction to our text is substantial, re-positioning this poem in respect of nearly six decades’ progress in the palaeography, sources and analogues, language, metrics, literary criticism and archaeology of Andreas. The book argues that the poet was Mercian, that he was making ironic reference to Beowulf and that his story of St Andrew converting pagan Mermedonian cannibals was coloured by King Alfred’s wars against the Danes (871-9, 885-6, 892-6). Andreas is here dated to Alfred’s later reign with such analysis of contexts in history and ideology that the author’s name is also hypothesized. The Old English text and Modern English translation of Andreas are presented in a split-page format, allowing students at whatever level of familiarity with the Anglo-Saxon vernacular to gain a direct access to the poem in close to its original form. The translation follows the poem’s word order and style, allowing modern readers to feel the imagination, ideology and humour of Andreas as closely as possible. The text of the Old English poem is accompanied by a full set of supporting notes, and a glossary representing the translation.


'Two major critical editions of [Andreas] were published during the twentieth century [...] but the new edition from Richard North and Michael D.J. Bintley is sure to displace them and become the standard edition cited in professional scholarship. An extraordinary amount of labor appears to have been invested in this massive work, which offers much more than its predecessors. […] An infectious enthusiasm for the poem and its possible connections to Anglo-Saxon intellectual and material culture pervades the book and is bound to spread to some of its readers. North and Bintley’s rich edition should stimulate a wave of new interpretations of Andreas and inspire new investigations into its date of composition and historical context. It is in many respects an exemplary edition, which could serve as a model for new editions of other Old English poems that have been satisfactorily edited before.'
Leonard Neidorf, Studia Neophilologica, June 2017

'A highlight of this new edition is the presence of a translation, in modern English, on the same page, the old-English text above, the translation down. Quite literally, the translation closely follows the original, making the rich vocabulary and complex syntax of the poem more accessible. ... The critical apparatus also includes a substantial glossary and a bibliography, supplemented by an index that covers both the introduction and the commentary. It is therefore an excellent edition that provides Anglicist medievalists with all the critical tools to both understand Andreas and follow the arguments of R.N. and M.B.' (Translated from French)
Leo Carruthers, Le Moyen Âge

'Learned and precise, Richard North and Michael Bintley's superb new edition will bring this often-bizarre, but always interesting composition to the next few generations of twenty-first century scholars. ... This new authoritative edition of Andreas is a triumph of scholarship.'
Andrew Scheil, The Medieval Review

Author Information

Professor Richard North teaches at University College London. His previous publications include The Origins of ‘Beowulf’: From Vergil to Wiglaf (Oxford University Press, 2006). Michael D. J. Bintley is Lecturer in Early Medieval Literature and Culture at Birkbeck, University of London, and author of Trees in the Religions of Early Medieval England (Boydell and Brewer, 2015).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
1 The Poem and its Analogues15
2 The Manuscript22
3 Language and Dialect40
Linguistic conclusion60
4 Metre and prosody62
5 Poetic Style71
Poetic allusions to Cynewulf72
Poetic allusions to Beowulf76
6 Mermedonia95
Boundaries and meeting places96
Burial mounds98
Pagan sites and Christian churches98
Roman spolia and the Mermedonian prison100
Pathways in Andreas103
Mermedonia as a Roman city105
Mermedonia as a WS burh108
7 Date and Authorship111
Anti-Danish animus112
WS royal patronage117
Alfred’s church of St Andrew121
Alfred’s ‘wealth’ and ‘wisdom’123
Note on the Text and Translation130
List of Emendations225
List of Proper Names384