Race and Ethnicity in Anglo-Saxon Literature

Race and Ethnicity in Anglo-Saxon Literature

Race and Ethnicity in Anglo-Saxon Literature

Race and Ethnicity in Anglo-Saxon Literature

Synopsis

What makes English literature English ? This question inspires Stephen Harris's wide-ranging study of Old English literature. From Bede in the eighth century to Geoffrey of Monmouth in the twelfth, Harris explores the intersections of race and literature before the rise of imagined communities. Harris examines possible configurations of communities, illustrating dominant literary metaphors of race from Old English to its nineteenth-century critical reception. Literary voices in the England of Bede understood the limits of community primarily as racial or tribal, in keeping with the perceived divine division of peoples after their languages, and the extension of Christianity to Bede's Germanic neighbours was effected in part through metaphors of family and race. Harris demonstrates how King Alfred adapted Bede in the ninth century; how both exerted an effect on Archbishop Wulfstan in the eleventh; and how Old English poetry speaks to images of race.

Excerpt

Far from providing just a musty whiff of yesteryear, research in Medieval Studies enters the new century as fresh and vigorous as never before. Scholars representing all disciplines and generations are consistently producing works of research of the highest caliber, utilizing new approaches and methodologies. Volumes in the Medieval History and Culture series will include studies on individual works and authors of Latin and vernacular literatures, historical personalities and events, theological and philosophical issues, and new critical approaches to medieval literature and culture.

Momentous changes have occurred in Medieval Studies in the past thirty years in teaching as well as in scholarship. Thus the goal of the Medieval History and Culture series is to enhance research in the field by providing an outlet for monographs by scholars in the early stages of their careers on all topics related to the broad scope of Medieval Studies, while at the same time pointing to and highlighting new directions that will shape and define scholarly discourse in the future.

Francis G. Gentry

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