Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies


May 8th, 2020

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No one interested in the Old English poem Exodus can afford to be without this edition.

Notes and Queries.

Exodus is an exceptional Old English poem, written at a time when in the age of Bede Northern England held the intellectual leadership of Europe. It offers a vernacular gateway to the study of early medieval christian poetry. Focussing in dramatic fashion on the crossing of the Red Sea enabling the Israelites to escape captivity in Egypt the poem is stylistically outstanding, showing a use of metaphor and fusion of disparate concepts (such as abstract and concrete, literal and allegorical) unparalleled in Old English poetry. The exodus, the greatest of Old Testament events, is interpreted both within the historical perspective of other Old Testament events (the Deluge and the Offering of Isaac) and within the allegorical perspective of the exodus to the Promised Land seen as the christian's journey through life to the ultimate heavenly home.

This book, now in its third edition, aims to make the poem more accessible, and better understood and appreciated than hitherto. A number of changes to the Introduction, Commentary and Glossary, as well as a new Select Bibliography, help to bring the apparatus up to date and draw attention to the many fine contributions to the poem made by other scholars.

'Displays a wealth of scholarship.'
Michael Swanton, Times Educational Supplement 25 Nov 1977

'Many first-rate contributions to the study of the poem.'
Robert T. Farrell, Review of English Studies 29 (1978)

‘A fine piece of work.'
J.R. Hall, Year's Work in Old English Studies - 1977 in Old English Newsletter 12 (1978)

'It is not too large a claim to say that ultimately . . . English poetic criticism and appreciation as a whole will benefit from Dr Lucas's careful and scholarly work.'
D.G. Scragg in Critical Quartely 20 (1978)

'In many respects exemplary as an edition of an Old English poem.'
D. Jost in Speculum 54 (1979)

Author Information

Peter J. Lucas is presently Honorary Research Associate at the Department of Anglo-Saxon Norse and Celtic in the University of Cambridge, and is Emeritus Professor of Old and Middle English at University College Dublin, where he taught English Language and Medieval English Literature. He is the author of several books, including the facsimile edition of Franciscus Junius’s Cædmonis Monachi Paraphrasis Poetica Genesios, originally published in 1655 (Amsterdam, 2000), which includes the first edition ever of the Old English Exodus. Other books include From Author to Audience: John Capgrave and Medieval Publication (Dublin 1997), and The Medieval Manuscripts at Maynooth: Explorations in the Unknown, with Angela M. Lucas (Dublin, 2014), as well as several volumes in the series Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile. He has also written ninety or so articles on Old and Middle English, the history of the English language, and the early printing of Anglo-Saxon.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
I. The Manuscript17
1. History, Provenance and Origin17
2. General Description22
3. Sectional Divisions24
4. Lay-out and Lacunae29
5. The Intended Illustrations31
6. Punctuation33
i. Small capitals35
ii. The end-of-section marker36
iii. The continuity marker36
iv. The single point37
7. Scribal Error40
i. Errors due to misunderstanding of the original41
ii. Errors due to conscious 'correction' of the original41
iii. Errors of omission42
iv. Errors of addition43
8. Compilation43
9. The Textual Integrity of Exodus46
10. The Corrector's Accents49
II. Language51
III. Metre55
IV. Style59
V. Sources67
VI. Theme77
VII. Date and Origin85
The Text89
Editorial Procedure90
Select Bibliography165
Glossarial Index of People and Places223