Verse and Virtuosity: The Adaptation of Latin Rhetoric in Old English Poetry

By Janie Steen

© 2008

While there is little evidence of formal rhetorical instruction in Anglo-Saxon England, traditional Old English poetry clearly shows the influence of Latin rhetoric. Verse and Virtuosity demonstrates how Old English poets imitated and adapted the methods of Latin literature, and, in particular, the works of the Christian Latin authors they had studied at school. It is the first full-length study to look specifically at what Old English poets working in a Latinate milieu attempted to do with the schemes and figures they found in their sources.

Janie Steen argues that, far from sterile imitation, the inventiveness of Old English poets coupled with the constraints of vernacular verse produced a vital and markedly different kind of poetry. Highlighting a selection of Old English poetic translations of Latin texts, she considers how the translators responded to the challenge of adaptation, and shows how the most accomplished, such as Cynewulf, absorb Latin rhetoric into their own style and blend the two traditions into verse of great virtuosity. With its wide-ranging discussion of texts and rhetorical figures, this book can serve as an introduction to Old English poetic composition and style. Verse and Virtuosity, will be of considerable interest to Anglo-Saxonists, linguists, and those studying rhetorical traditions.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Old English Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 0.8in x 9.3in
Product Formats

SaveUP TO 9239

Book Formats

SKU# SP002350

  • PUBLISHED MAY 2008

    From: $65.25

    Regular Price: $87.00

    ISBN 9780802091574
  • PUBLISHED MAY 2008

    From: $62.25

    Regular Price: $83.00

Quick Overview

With its wide-ranging discussion of texts and rhetorical figures, this book can serve as an introduction to Old English poetic composition and style. Verse and Virtuosity, will be of considerable interest to Anglo-Saxonists, linguists, and those studying rhetorical traditions.

Verse and Virtuosity: The Adaptation of Latin Rhetoric in Old English Poetry

By Janie Steen

© 2008

While there is little evidence of formal rhetorical instruction in Anglo-Saxon England, traditional Old English poetry clearly shows the influence of Latin rhetoric. Verse and Virtuosity demonstrates how Old English poets imitated and adapted the methods of Latin literature, and, in particular, the works of the Christian Latin authors they had studied at school. It is the first full-length study to look specifically at what Old English poets working in a Latinate milieu attempted to do with the schemes and figures they found in their sources.

Janie Steen argues that, far from sterile imitation, the inventiveness of Old English poets coupled with the constraints of vernacular verse produced a vital and markedly different kind of poetry. Highlighting a selection of Old English poetic translations of Latin texts, she considers how the translators responded to the challenge of adaptation, and shows how the most accomplished, such as Cynewulf, absorb Latin rhetoric into their own style and blend the two traditions into verse of great virtuosity. With its wide-ranging discussion of texts and rhetorical figures, this book can serve as an introduction to Old English poetic composition and style. Verse and Virtuosity, will be of considerable interest to Anglo-Saxonists, linguists, and those studying rhetorical traditions.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Old English Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 0.8in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    Steen provides a rich commentary on the complex ways in which Latin models have shaped Old English poetic style. Her book contains extremely informative and useful illustrative figures.
    Year's Work in English Studies, vol 89:01:10
  • Author Information

    Janie Steen received her PhD from the University of Cambridge, and has taught at the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, and Leiden University.

Related Titles