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The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology Paperback – Mar 12 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (March 12 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199538719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199538713
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 1.8 x 12.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #155,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

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

Inside This Book

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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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Great overview, but poetry translation could be better April 1 2012
By Joel E. Mitchell - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This collection gives a nice broad overview of the Anglo-Saxon culture by providing examples of various kinds of Anglo-Saxon literature. It includes various forms of poetry (including a complete translation of "Beowulf"), excerpts from several historical records, various letters, and some legal documents.

I was not especially impressed with the poetry translation; the alliteration is sporadic in the extreme and the division of each line into two half lines of two beats was occasionally lacking. Seamus Heaney has a much better (stylistically speaking) translation of Beowulf and Lee Hollander is much more consistent in his translation of the very similar Norse poetry.

Overall: a nice broad introduction to the Anglo-Saxon culture, but the poetry translation is stylistically lacking.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A Nice Introduction To The "Flavor" Of Anglo-Saxon June 5 2013
By David N. - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is a good collection of different types of Anglo-Saxon literature. It really helps to give you the "flavor" of Anglo-Saxon life and times. The english translations are not my favorite, but they are pretty good, and this book has the excellent advantage of being very affordable (saving you from having to spend more money to buy each of the different Anglo-Saxon writings in many separate volumes).

If you have more than a passing interest in Anglo-Saxon literature, though, I would strongly recommend that you take a few weeks to learn Old English. (here is a marvelous tool that includes an audio CD so you can hear Anglo Saxon spoken slowly and clearly as you learn: Complete Old English (Anglo-Saxon) with Two Audio CDs: A Teach Yourself Guide (Teach Yourself Language) ).

Once you have learned some Old English, you can start reading Beowulf right away with this excellent student edition that has a running dictionary, so you don't have to keep looking up words: Beowulf: A Student Edition.

Even if you take the time to learn some Old English, I would still recommend getting this book just to have it. You will probably return to it again and again.

As always, if you feel this review is unhelpful, please leave a comment and let me know how it can be improved. Thanks!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A great translation of an interesting period Sept. 20 2014
By Randee Baty - Published on
Format: Paperback
I say I "finished" this but actually I just finished the parts assigned as part of my Brit Lit class. That was mainly Beowulf but also a few of the other Anglo-Saxon poems. I went into this assuming Beowulf would just be something I had to get through but I learned to love it! I missed Beowulf when we moved on to a later time period.

Anything from the Anglo-Saxon time period would have been written in Old English which is unreadable except to scholars today so you have to read in translation. This is a great one. It has the feel, the emotion and the drama that I assume the original poet would have wanted to convey. Beowulf is a very dramatic poem. It's the heroic code in a nutshell. It's also where Tolkien got many of his ideas for The Hobbit. I am so glad to have been forced to read and discuss this when I really wasn't excited about it.

The other reason for enjoying it so much is that I have a great and inspiring literature professor. These older and sometimes difficult texts come alive with someone who loves them. The Anglo-Saxpms became living, breathing people. I love having my mind stretched and this book did it.
Academic stuff Sept. 27 2015
By Paul Lawrence - Published on
Format: Paperback
The sub-heading of this book says much. For underneath the main title of ‘The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology’ it says ‘Including the Complete Beowulf’ which pretty much sums up the main reason by many would perhaps buy this book (translation done by Kevin Crossley-Holland). For it is Beowulf that has been marked as the most significant Anglo-Saxon contribution to world literature and Beowulf that has been the subject of movies and adaptations. I won’t go into the literary pros and cons of this tale as it is so well known. What I will go into is what else is in this book.

Firstly we get an introduction that like so many Oxford World Classics is well worth a read. We then get into the ‘meat and potatoes’ of the book with a selection of Heroic Poems. These are interesting in that they set the scene for the book overall and especially for the later epic Beowulf. We get discussion about laws, extracts of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and elegies to/about different character types such as ‘The Wanderer’ and ‘The Seafarer’. We also get examples of letters between men of importance which gives insight into the concerns of them (though perhaps not the laymen). Moving onwards there are examples of wills and land grants and even examples of charms and remedies used to heal the sick. One of the last parts is an example of a sermon.

The whole point of this book is to give the reader an overview of literate Anglo-Saxon society. It does this with aplomb given the choices made by the translator (and presumably editor/publisher). The way legal documents were set forth is evinced by the deeds, wills and grants, the manner of churchmen in their dealings with each other and the manner of the exhortations to the great and good is well shown by the sermon and the epic Beowulf is ably backed up by the other heroic poems at the start of the book when it comes to illustrating the cultures world views. It has to be said that much of this could be considered fairly heavy going. It is certainly a more academic read than it would have been had it only consisted of Beowulf and the other heroic poems as some of the other pieces are hardly riveting in terms of action and suspense. They are, indeed, of more interest to someone wanting to get at that Anglo-Saxon world view and the behaviours and ideals that were put on the proverbial pedestal by that culture.

If you are the sort of person who already has works like Beowulf, Gilgamesh and the Mabinogion on their bookshelf this will sit happily alongside it. Just be advised that is has a lot of inclusions that aren’t of the heroic nature of the above as it is using a variety of source types to illustrate, well, the Anglo-Saxon world.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Want to know? Nov. 25 2014
By D. Harrington - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Want to know what it was like in Anglo-Saxon times? What their values were? Their concerns? Their lives?
This book deals with all of that. A nice selection of the most important works.