The Aesthetics of Nostalgia: Historical Representation in Old English Verse
Published: November 2016© 2009
312 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.50 in
Heroic poetry was central to the construction of Anglo-Saxon values, beliefs, and community identity and its subject matter is often analyzed as a window into Anglo-Saxon life. However, these poems are works of art as well as vehicles for ideology. Aesthetics of Nostalgia reads Anglo-Saxon historical verse in terms of how its aesthetic form interacted with the culture and politics of the period.
Examining the distinctive poetic techniques found in vernacular historic poetry, Renée R. Trilling argues that the literary construction of heroic poetry promoted specific kinds of historical understanding in early medieval England, distinct from linear and teleological perceptions of the past. The Aesthetics of Nostalgia surveys Anglo-Saxon literary culture from the age of Bede to the decades following the Norman Conquest in order to explore its cultural impact through both its content and its form.
1. Art and History in Old English Heroic Poetry
2. In Principio: Origin of the Present in Anglo-Saxon Biblical Verse
3. Verse Memorials and the Viking Conquest
4. Poetic Memory: The Canonical Verse of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
5. Transitional Verse in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Changing the Shape of History
‘The Aesthetics of Nostalgia is first rate, erudite criticism that will push the field of Anglo-Saxon literary studies in exciting new directions.’ Andrew Scheil, Review of English Studies: vol 62:254:2011
‘Trilling writes well and what she writes is highly intelligent. That makes her book not only worth reading, but worth debating and arguing with … Trilling’s deeply felt book always teaches the reader to think afresh about an ancient literature.’ E.G. Stanley, Notes and Queries: vol58:01:11
'In this well researched book Trilling aims to explore the artistic impetus behind the representation of the past in Old English verse by assembling aesthetic record and demonstrating the use of nostalgia as a tool in Anglo-Saxon historical texts...The book is thought provoking, up-to-date and extensively referenced.' Helen Appleton, Parergon: vol28:01:2011
'Trilling has absorbed most of the recent scholarship on a wide range of literary, cultural, and theoretical topics and woven it into a synthesis so gracious that her highly original thinking is often indistinguishable from wide study. It provided a week of highly stimulating reading that will change how I read Old English poetry.' James W. Earl, Speculum; vol. 56:03:2011
‘Elegantly written and unwaveringly intelligent, Trilling’s work recognizes the way we think about Anglo-Saxon literature and culture…It sets the terms and establishes the terrain of a discussion that will certainly be productive for many years to come.’Roy M. Liuzza, Modern Philology; vol 110:04:2013
- International Society of Anglo-Saxonists Best First Book Prize