Maxims in Old English Poetry
Boydell & Brewer, 1999 - 205 pages
Maxims abound in Old English literature, but have rarely been studied extensively, and many questions remain about their use: what kind of expression is a maxim? Why and when were they used? Do they offer evidence for popular, pagan folklore? This book aims to offer answers through a detailed investigation of various issues, texts and formulas, leading to a better understanding of Old English literature in general. It takes account of comparable material in other Old Germanic languages and the Bible, and shows that maxims had recognisable functions in literary and social discourse, recording knowledge and according value. Dr Cavill also applies new developments in current scholarship on formulaic theory, proverb performance theory and sociology of knowledge; sheds new light on popular poems like The Battle of Maldon and Beowulf; and suggests a place and purpose for the Maxims poems in an oral society.
Dr PAUL CAVILLteaches at the University of Nottingham.
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Maxims in the Old Germanic Languages
The Maxim the Proverb and the Riddle
A Gnomic Formula
The Social Function of Maxims and The Battle of Maldon
Christian or Not?
The Old English Maxims
Common terms and phrases
action alliteration Andreas Anglo-Saxon appears applied association audience Battle of Maldon Beowulf biblical bið Byrhtnoth called Cambridge catalogue Chapter Christian clear close collections context death definition discussion eadig Early element English Studies evidence example Exeter experience expression fact formula function further generalisation Germanic give given gnomes gnomic heroic human intends interesting interpretation kind knowledge knows language Latin lines literature live London Lord material maxims means metaphorical mind nature observed Old English Poetry origin Oxford pagan parallel particular passage pattern perhaps person poems poet present problem proverb question reason reference relation rhetorical role Rune Saga sceal sense shows similar situation social society sources statement structure Studies suggests things thought tion tradition translation University Press verb verse vikings wisdom þæt