Land and Book: Literature and Land Tenure in Anglo-Saxon England
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.
- 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.’
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.’
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.’
Modern Language Review vol 110: July 2015
Author InformationScott T. Smith is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Pennsylvania State University.
Subjects and Courses