Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Old English Dialogues of Solomon and Saturn

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Old English Dialogues of Solomon and Saturn

Article excerpt

The Old English Dialogues of Solomon and Saturn, ed. and trans. Daniel Anlezark, Anglo-Saxon Texts 7 (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2009). xii + 167 pp. ISBN 978 1-84384-203-3. £50.00. As Daniel Anlezark notes, the texts edited and translated here are difficult and unusual, and aU the more difficult because of being so unusual. Their reception to date has been distorted by the early edition and translation of Kemble, who framed the text in terms of heathenism and orientaUsm. Anlezark's edition places these texts squarely in an Insular context. It is to be hoped that his convenient text, translation, and notes, along with his full introduction, will finally lay the ghosts created by Kemble to rest. Part of the problem in approaching these texts is simply establishing their boundaries: there are two manuscripts, but one contains a copy of part of the other; there are two poems, but they share many linguistic and other features; there is a prose section in between the two poems, without any change of manuscript format to indicate a separate work; and there is a poetic fragment at the beginning of the second poem which most editors, including Anlezark, would move to its end. Having all of these elements together in one volume is invaluable, and Anlezark does a good job of clarifying their positions relative to each other and the connections between them. His suggestion that Solomon and Saturn I, the first entry in the manuscript, represents a sequel to and response to Solomon and Saturn II may not be provable, but his thorough discussion of the features of both texts convincingly shows that there is an important relationship between them beyond a shared topic. …

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