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Seven Old English Poems [Paperback]

John Collins Pope
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Seven pieces of history... Feb. 24 2006
By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This book, edited and with commentary by John Pope, professor of English from Yale, is a good reader companion volume for someone who is studying Old English with a grammar in another volume, or someone who has already studied the rudiments of the language and wants practice with actual texts. These are seven of the better-known poems from Old English (if one makes the exception for Beowulf). As Pope states in his preface, these poems make a good introduction before one proceeds to the study of Beowulf.
The seven poems included here are Caedmon's Hymn (in both Northumbrian and Normalised Versions), The Battle of Brunanburh, The Dream of the Rood, The Battle of Maldon, The Wanderer, The Seafarer, and Deor. These poems include classic themes from Old English (sea journeys, heroic tales, etc.), particularly edging toward Beowulf with the story in Deor.
The poems themselves make up a mere 40 pages of the text. The longest section is the commentary, with comprises nearly 100 pages in all. The commentaries develop the history and context of the poems, as well as a section on textual notes highlighting particular words or phrases of interest. This section also contains an essay on Old English versification, including discussion of areas of ambiguity and confusion based on the paucity of texts that have survived.
The glossary here, some 75 pages of the text, serves a dual role as a vocabulary builder as well as a means for learning the subtle variations in compound words. Various words and phrases throughout both the poems and the glossary have been 'normalised' for purposes of beginning students, but the parameters for this are explained in the preface.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seven pieces of history... Jan. 29 2005
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book, edited and with commentary by John Pope, professor of English from Yale, is a good reader companion volume for someone who is studying Old English with a grammar in another volume, or someone who has already studied the rudiments of the language and wants practice with actual texts. These are seven of the better-known poems from Old English (if one makes the exception for Beowulf). As Pope states in his preface, these poems make a good introduction before one proceeds to the study of Beowulf.

The seven poems included here are Caedmon's Hymn (in both Northumbrian and Normalised Versions), The Battle of Brunanburh, The Dream of the Rood, The Battle of Maldon, The Wanderer, The Seafarer, and Deor. These poems include classic themes from Old English (sea journeys, heroic tales, etc.), particularly edging toward Beowulf with the story in Deor.

The poems themselves make up a mere 40 pages of the text. The longest section is the commentary, with comprises nearly 100 pages in all. The commentaries develop the history and context of the poems, as well as a section on textual notes highlighting particular words or phrases of interest. This section also contains an essay on Old English versification, including discussion of areas of ambiguity and confusion based on the paucity of texts that have survived.

The glossary here, some 75 pages of the text, serves a dual role as a vocabulary builder as well as a means for learning the subtle variations in compound words. Various words and phrases throughout both the poems and the glossary have been 'normalised' for purposes of beginning students, but the parameters for this are explained in the preface.

The seven poems contained herein are not translated into Modern English, so let the reader be aware that this is meant for someone learning to translate or read Old English.

The commentary is engaging and clearly written (and includes later notes at the end in the new, 1981 edition); the poems themselves are interesting, and the glossary is very useful.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Student Text March 29 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This volume contains seven poems in Old English--Caedmon's Hymn, The Battle of Brunanburh, The Dream of the Rood, The Battle of Maldon, The Wanderer, The Seafarer, and Deor. While clearly not a substitute for the Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records, this book has been edited well by Pope, and contains textual notes, commentary covering critical issues central to each of the poems, and perhaps most importantly, a glossary of the words in the poems. The New Edition (1981) also has a supplement listing editions of the poems that have come out since 1966 and some additional notes.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book to learn Old English if you have a degree July 15 2003
By Wyatt Kaldenberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a good reader. It uses hard to fine Old English poems instead of word for word Latin translation which are useless. Old English grammer and latin are not at all the same. I tried using a reader that used an Old English translation of the Latin Bible and while it is good for learning words, the bad thing is you are learning Latin grammer instead of Old English grammer and word order. Old English is Germanic and the grammer is VERY Germanic. Watch out for ANY Old English proses for it is normally word for word Latin translated into Old English. This will really trip you up. Wyatt Kaldenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent editions, uniquely excellent glossary Dec 15 2012
By Flash Sheridan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I largely agree with Fr Messick's review about the general excellence of Professor Pope's (and of course the largely anonymous poets') work, so I'll just add that the glossary is, to my knowledge, unique: It lists, not words, but half-words. Given Old English compounding, this reduces vocabulary learning to the square root of the normal method, and gives the reader much better insight into the origin of poetic words.

There is a newer edition, updated by Professor Fulk, which I haven't yet seen: Eight Old English Poems
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