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The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology [Paperback]

Kevin Crossley-Holland
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 18 2003 Oxford World's Classics
Beowulf, The Battle of Maldon, The Dream of the Rood, The Wanderer, and The Seafarer are among the greatest surviving Anglo-Saxon poems. They, and many other treasures, are included in The Anglo-Saxon World: chronicles, laws and letters, charters and charms, and above all superb poems. Here is a word picture of a people who came to these islands as pagans and yet within two hundred years had become Christians, to such effect that England was the centre of missionary endeavour and, for atime, the heart of European civilization. Kevin Crossley-Holland places poems and prose in context with his skilful interpretation of the Anglo-Saxon world; his translations have been widely acclaimed, and of Beowulf the poet Charles Causley has written, 'the poem has at last found its translator'.

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"A very pleasant anthology which presents the most important texts from the Anglo-Saxon period in good modern English translations....The reflections are wonderful and invite every reader to plunge into the world of pre-conquest England. It is a hndy treasure which students will cherish."--A. Classen, University of Arizona


"An excellent anthology with fine translations."--Roy M. Liuzza, Tulane University


"A very impressive collection that paints a complete picture of a key part of our cultural heritage."--Bruce L. Sublett, Angelina College


"The introductions to the various chapters are well-written and informative. Overall, an excellent resource for an undergraduate course in Medieval English Literature."--Philip A. Genetti, Ph.D., Emmanuel College


A well-chosen collection of prose and poetic texts clearly translated into modern English. An admirable companion to the study of the original texts in a beginning course in Old English."--Robert Kellogg, University of Virginia


About the Author

Kevin Crossley-Holland is the winner of the Carnegie Medal.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
At times magnificent, at times moving, the heroic poems link our Anglo-Saxon ancestors to their origins in continental Europe. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Sampler May 27 2000
Format:Paperback
Another gem of the Oxford World's Classics series, Crossley-Holland's anthology presents a generous selection of poetry and prose covering the major genres of Anglo Saxon Lit. All the famous stuff is here -- Seafarer, Wanderer, Battle of Maldon,etc -- including a very fine Beowulf translation that's highly readable without straying far from the literal meaning of the original. Plus riddles, laws, sections of the Chronicle -- quite enough to get a rounded picture of this fascinating literature, and all well translated. The scholarly notes are sparse but adequate for an intro-level text. If I could make one suggestion for improvement, it would be to add the Anglo-Saxon versions in a bilingual edition, so readers could have the sound and structure of the originals.
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5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful renderings of the elegies May 31 2003
Format:Paperback
I bought this book in an old edition paperback form in Dublin because it contained the major elegies such as the Wanderer and the Seafarer. I ended up being extremely satisifed not only with the beautiful translation of the Wanderer, but with all of the selections and with Crossley-Holland's comments. I was very thrilled to meet him recently at a reading in Seattle, where he was promoting his Arthur trilogy. I'll have to check that out.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Sampler May 27 2000
By Mark J. Knickelbine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Another gem of the Oxford World's Classics series, Crossley-Holland's anthology presents a generous selection of poetry and prose covering the major genres of Anglo Saxon Lit. All the famous stuff is here -- Seafarer, Wanderer, Battle of Maldon,etc -- including a very fine Beowulf translation that's highly readable without straying far from the literal meaning of the original. Plus riddles, laws, sections of the Chronicle -- quite enough to get a rounded picture of this fascinating literature, and all well translated. The scholarly notes are sparse but adequate for an intro-level text. If I could make one suggestion for improvement, it would be to add the Anglo-Saxon versions in a bilingual edition, so readers could have the sound and structure of the originals.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful renderings of the elegies May 31 2003
By Gabriel Murray - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I bought this book in an old edition paperback form in Dublin because it contained the major elegies such as the Wanderer and the Seafarer. I ended up being extremely satisifed not only with the beautiful translation of the Wanderer, but with all of the selections and with Crossley-Holland's comments. I was very thrilled to meet him recently at a reading in Seattle, where he was promoting his Arthur trilogy. I'll have to check that out.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Reading July 9 2005
By Aunt Amethyst - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I'm a homeschooled student (in 10th grade). I read this book as part of a course on early European history, and have also referred to it while studying the history of the English language. Most of the translations are very accessible to the modern reader on their own, and Mr. Crossley-Holland's insightful commentary clears up those which are more difficult or obscure. Anyone who has a serious interest in the literature and culture of the Anglo-Saxons will not be disappointed in this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An awesome collection of Anglo-Saxon literature for the novice and lay reader Jan. 20 2008
By Vincent D. Pisano - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the book that got me hooked on the Oxford World Classics series, which has not yet failed to provide beautiful translations where even the densest language becomes clearly understandable, all the while still keeping the integrity of the original work. The Anglo-Saxon World gives a sweeping introduction into the literature of the Anglo-Saxons while providing short commentary that places each work into historical perspective. While the information is unfortunately is not in depth, it is adequate enough for those unfamiliar with the history of the period to see the works in the proper context.

Found here are the major works: the epic Beowulf, "The Seafarer," "The Wanderer," and the works of Bede. But also found are the more obscure and, perhaps, more telling examples of their written culture, including (sometimes bawdy) riddles and even the amusing remedy for a woman's chatter: "eat a radish at night, while fasting; that day the chatter cannot harm you" (276). The texts range from deep pathos and solemn wisdom to the light, humorous and superstitious. Most significantly, this collection makes an ancient and foreign culture both easily approachable and readily accessible. For those with even a passing interest in Anglo-Saxon history, this book is well worth the time and money.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Collection Of Anglo Saxon Tales and Writings. Oct. 30 2007
By NB- - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is easily one of the best collections of Anglo Saxon period texts and as well is a great begining spot for anyone seeking further interest in the subject. As well with the epic Beowulf and Bede's writings this book is easily worth every cent and provides a wealth of additional information from religious writings to epic battle hymns.

I felt that this book did a great job as well as providing for understandable text and in most parts flowed easily enough that the writing proved both interesting and informative. The language is thick in some spots but overall the pure eloquence and spirit of the book compensates for this slight detail. The texts in this collection are as well very diverse so that almost any reader would find an interesting topic; and it proves a good book to read straight through or just pick up from time to time and read.
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