Philological Quarterly

This journal covers aspects of medieval European and modern literature and culture. The articles published incorporate physical bibliography, the sociology of knowledge, the history of reading, reception studies and other fields of inquiry.

Articles from Spring

Anthropological Approaches to Old English Literature: A Special Issue
This gathering of interdisciplinary essays does more than assume the efficacy of anthropological approaches to the literary productions of the most distant period in the history of English Literature. In many ways these essays argue directly for and...
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Beowulf and the Wills: Traces of Totemism?
After Hygelac falls in his Frisian raid, Beowulf receives a surprising offer from Hygd, his widowed queen (2367-70a): Oferswam ??a siole??a bigong sunu Ecg??eowes, earm anhaga eft to leodum; paer him Hygd gebead hord ond rice, beagas ond...
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Cultural Historicity in the Battle of Maldon
DIFFERENT HISTORICITIES In his study of various Polynesian traditions, Marshall Sahlins has observed that what constitutes a significant account of the past is very differently formulated in the narrative systems of different island groups.(1) Each...
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Hwanan Sio Faehd Aras: Defining the Feud in Beowulf
There have been a number of studies over the last twenty to thirty years seeking to explain the structural and thematic role of the feud in Beowulf.(1) It has frequently been argued that the feuds between the various peoples and monsters in the poem--say...
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Making Thanes: Literature, Rhetoric and State Formation in Anglo-Saxon England
In his brief introduction to Anglo-Saxon society and literature, Patrick Wormald notes two basic but frequently overlooked facts: that the kingdom of England was created by Anglo-Saxon politicians, soldiers, and churchmen in the ninth and tenth centuries,...
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The Ethnopsychology of In-Law Feud and the Remaking of Group Identity in Beowulf: The Cases of Hengest and Ingeld
In Beowulf the clearest instances of groups reforming themselves, other than Wiglaf's remaking of the Geatish wartroop, are those involving either feud between in-laws or strife within dynastic houses. Principally, dynastic strife occurs in the Swedish...
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"The Wealth They Left Us": Two Women Author Themselves through Others' Lives in Beowulf
Let each recall his good ancestor. I would not wish for anything That a poor song should be made about us by a jongleur. -- Raoul de Cambrai, 4142-44(1) People talk about themselves and others in Beowulf. In at least twenty substantial passages...
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Violence and Non-Violence in Anglo-Saxon England: AElfric's "Passion of St. Edmund"
The turn of the millennium draws the mind back a thousand years to the deeply troubled 990s in England, a paradoxical decade that enjoyed a high clerical culture even as the Vikings were ravaging the land. A newly reformed monastic system was flourishing...
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Widsith and the Anthropology of the Past
Thanks in part to the opacity with which it names, without comment, tribe after tribe and ruler after ruler of the ancient world, the poem that we know as Widsith defies literary analysis. Those who know this work, either in modern translation or in...
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