Land and Book: Literature and Land Tenure in Anglo-Saxon England

By Scott T. Smith

© 2012

In this original and innovative study, Scott T. Smith traces the intersections between land tenure and literature in Anglo-Saxon England. Smith aptly demonstrates that as land became property through the operations of writing, it came to assume a complex range of conceptual values that Anglo-Saxons could use to engage a number of vital cultural concerns beyond just the legal and practical – such as political dominion, salvation, sanctity, status, and social and spiritual obligations.

Land and Book places a variety of texts – including charters, dispute records, heroic poetry, homilies, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle – in a dynamic conversation with the procedures and documents of land tenure, showing how its social practice led to innovation across written genres in both Latin and Old English. Through this, Smith provides an interdisciplinary synthesis of literary, legal, and historical interests.

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.1in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP003402

  • PUBLISHED OCT 2012

    From: $56.25

    Regular Price: $75.00

    ISBN 9781442644861
  • PUBLISHED OCT 2012

    From: $56.25

    Regular Price: $75.00

Quick Overview

Land and Book places a variety of texts in a dynamic conversation with the procedures and documents of land tenure, showing how its social practice led to innovation across written genres in both Latin and Old English.

Land and Book: Literature and Land Tenure in Anglo-Saxon England

By Scott T. Smith

© 2012

In this original and innovative study, Scott T. Smith traces the intersections between land tenure and literature in Anglo-Saxon England. Smith aptly demonstrates that as land became property through the operations of writing, it came to assume a complex range of conceptual values that Anglo-Saxons could use to engage a number of vital cultural concerns beyond just the legal and practical – such as political dominion, salvation, sanctity, status, and social and spiritual obligations.

Land and Book places a variety of texts – including charters, dispute records, heroic poetry, homilies, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle – in a dynamic conversation with the procedures and documents of land tenure, showing how its social practice led to innovation across written genres in both Latin and Old English. Through this, Smith provides an interdisciplinary synthesis of literary, legal, and historical interests.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.1in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘This is a stimulating study that will send its readers back to the primary sources with new questions and a sharper awareness.’
    Alice Jorgensen
    Review of English Studies vol 65:269:2014

    ‘This book is a valuable addition to our understanding of how land and property were conceptualized in Anglo-Saxon England, and it will undoubtedly remain so for years to come.’
    Lindy Brady
    Modern Philology vol 112:01:2014

    ‘The book is particularly valuable for the strong case that it makes for the value of literary analyses of texts rarely read for their beauty and usually reserved for historical discussion.’


    Jennifer Neville
    Modern Language Review vol 110: July 2015
  • Author Information

    Scott T. Smith is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Pennsylvania State University.

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