Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Old English Poetry and the Genealogy of Events

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Old English Poetry and the Genealogy of Events

Article excerpt

Richard J. Schräder, Old English Poetry and the Genealogy of Events, Medieval Texts and Studies 12 (East Lansing, Michigan: Colleagues Press, 1993). xiii + 206 pp. ISBN 0-937191-5 2-3. $35.00. Richard J. Schrader's book on the genealogy of events, by which he understands ways in which events beget others within a chain of history, is essentially a search for reflections of the Orosian 'law of succession' and the Augustinian typological view of history in the poems of the Junius MS (especially Genesis and Daniel), Judith, Elene, Guthlac A, 'heroic chronicles' ( Widsith, Deor, The Battle of Maldon, the chronicle poems), Beowulf and La3amon's Brut.

The width of the author's search is intriguing but problematic. First, the limited space prevents him from valuable elaboration (e.g. on the relationship between the time structure of the poems and the Orosian model). Schräder is at his best when he allows himself enough time for detailed observations (e.g. the discussion of Scyld and Grendel, pp. 128-9). Secondly, not all of the texts he has chosen to explore fit in the overall spiritual paradigm with the same ease. …

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