English Poetry Before Chaucer

Michael Swanton

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ISBN: 9780859896337

Publication: July 2, 2002

Series: Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies

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A new and completely revised edition of this authoritative work, intended to encourage personal appreciation and independent appraisal by students of English. This is a stimulating introduction to the poetry composed in an age that witnessed fundamental cultural developments: the emergence of the English from among the warring tribes of Europe, their conversion to Christianity, the development of feudalism and the chivalric myth, the military adventure of the Crusades, and the growth of a vigorous citizen class in the burgeoning towns of England.

Michael Swanton is Professor of Medieval Studies at the University of Exeter.

Preface 1. Introduction: Anxiety and Assertion 2. Until the Dragon Comes Widsith, Deor, Waldere, The Fight at Finnsburh and Beowulf 3. Verbum de Verbo Caedmon's Creation-Hymn, Genesis A, Exodus and The Dream of the Rood 4. The Ruin of Time The Wanderer, The Seafarer, The Ruin and The Phoenix, 112 5. A Certain Heroism Guthlac A, Judith, The Battle of Maldon and Layamon's Brut 6. Things That Falleth to Ribaudrie Havelok, Sir Tristrem, Floris and Blauncheflur and Madam Sirith and the Weeping Bitch 7. Song and Singer Foweles in pe Frith, Lenten is Come with Love to Town, The Fair Maid of Ribblesdale, Thomas of Hales' Love-Song, Gabriel's Greeting to the Virgin Mary, Ubi Sount Qui Ante Nos Fuerount, The Follies of Fashion, A Song of Lewes, The Thrush and the Nightingale and The Owl and the Nightingale Epilogue: The Equal Hour Appendix: Early English Prosody Chronology Further Reading Writers, their Works and Sources (i) Writers and writings in English (ii) Writers and writings in languages other than English Index

Michael Swanton’s book was welcomed in 1987 for several reasons: its lively independent engagement with critical issues, its determination to discuss particular texts in some detail rather than indulge in a uniform survey, and its refusal to treat the Norman Conquest as if it were some kind of insurmountable divide. Its value has not diminished . . . The chronology, bibliographies and notes on writers, works and sources are also particularly valuable, providing basic information which the student cannot readily find elsewhere.
Joyce M. Hill  

A particular strength of Swanton’s book is that he has trained as a historian and archaeologist and brings this expertise to bear on his literary pursuits. Consequently, his writings are characterised by solid historical commentary, wtinessed in this volume by his annotations to each chapter, his chronological charts and summaries, and the section “Writers, their works and the sources”.

These strategies of pedagogy are as important as the scholarship and Swanton has written that rare hybrid, the textbook that can surprise the teacher, the monograph that the student can read without constant recourse to a dictionary of literary terms.
Chris Jones   TOEBI Newsletter

English Poetry Before Chaucer is interesting and thought-provoking. It is a fine guide to re-reading – not so much a handbook to early English literature as a true ‘companion’, one who enjoys showing you all his favourite haunts. […] Learned, insightful, sometimes eclectic, Swanton’s English Poetry Before Chaucer offers a wealth of specific reading on some important, and often-taught, poems.
Susan Yager   (English Poetry Before Chaucer, The Medieval Review Online

Format: Paperback

Size: 234 x 156 mm

400 Pages

ISBN: 9780859896337

Publication: July 2, 2002

Series: Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies

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