Strange Likeness: The Use of Old English in Twentieth-Century Poetry

Paperback | October 14, 2010

byChris Jones

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Strange Likeness provides the first full account of how Old English (or Anglo-Saxon) was rediscovered by twentieth-century poets, and the uses to which they put that discovery in their own writing. Chapters deal with Ezra Pound, W. H. Auden, Edwin Morgan, and Seamus Heaney. Stylistic debts toOld English are examined, along with the effects on these poets' work of specific ideas about Old English language and literature as taught while these poets were studying the subject at university. Issues such as linguistic primitivism, the supposed 'purity' of the English language, the politicsand ethics of translation, and the construction of 'Englishness' within the literary canon are discussed in the light of these poets and their Old English encounters. Heaney's translation of Beowulf is fully contextualized within the body of the rest of his work for the first time.

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Strange Likeness provides the first full account of how Old English (or Anglo-Saxon) was rediscovered by twentieth-century poets, and the uses to which they put that discovery in their own writing. Chapters deal with Ezra Pound, W. H. Auden, Edwin Morgan, and Seamus Heaney. Stylistic debts toOld English are examined, along with the eff...

Dr. Chris Jones is Lecturer in Poetry at the University of St. Andrews.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.68 inPublished:October 14, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199577420

ISBN - 13:9780199577422

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Whose Poetry is Old English Anyway?1. 'Ear for the sea-surge': Pound's Uses of Old English2. Anglo-Saxon Anxieties: Auden and 'the Barbaric Poetry of the North'3. Edwin Morgan: Dredging theWhale-Roads4. Old English Escape Routes: Seamus Heaney - the Caedmon of the NorthConclusion: Old English - A Shadow Poetry?Appendix on Old English Metre

Editorial Reviews

"...informative and useful... detailed and informative ... a wonderful tool for teaching." --Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland