Paradise, Death, and Doomsday in Anglo-Saxon Literature

Paradise, Death, and Doomsday in Anglo-Saxon Literature

Paradise, Death, and Doomsday in Anglo-Saxon Literature

Paradise, Death, and Doomsday in Anglo-Saxon Literature

Synopsis

How did the Anglo-Saxons conceptualise the interim between death and Doomsday? In Paradise, Death and Doomsday in Anglo-Saxon Literature, Dr. Kabir presents the first investigation into the Anglo-Saxon belief in the "interim paradise" or paradise as a temporary abode for good souls following death and pending the final decisions of Doomsday. She determines the origins of this distinctive sense of paradise within early Christian polemics, establishes its Anglo-Saxon development as a site of contestation and compromise, and argues for its post-Conquest transformation into the doctrine of purgatory.

Excerpt

The Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge, have supported my research over the past six years, first inthe form of anExternal Research Studentship and, from October 1997 onwards, through a 'Title A' Research Fellowship. I would like to express my deepest thanks and gratitude to this extraordinarily generous and stimulating institution, which allows its members to spend time in no better fashion than musing about interim paradises. There are other, more specific intellectual debts which I have incurred, and without which this book would never have been written, let alone conceived. I have been fortunate in those who have taught, inspired and guided me intellectually: Malcolm Godden, Simon Keynes, Michael Lapidge, Andy Orchard and Eric Stanley, and my teachers in Presidency College, Calcutta, who first taught me how to articulate my responses to the writtenword. The greatest pleasure inwriting this book lies inbeing able to thank them all. I would also like to thank Rohini Jayatilaka for her kindness over the years, and Helen Dixon, Sean Miller, Jennifer Neville, Caitríona Ó Dochartaigh, Patrick Sims-Williams, Loredana Teresi, Tessa Webber and Charlie Wright for help, advice and speedy response to queries, often made with little preamble over email. My most fundamental debts are to my parents and my aunts, who, among other things, taught me how to love books and expand my horizons, my brother, for preventing me from taking myself too seriously, and my husband, Mrinal, for sharing with me the fun of intellectual pursuit and the nostalgia of self-imposed exile.

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