1999 marked the eleven-hundredth anniversary of the death of Alfred the Great, and to mark this event, two international conferences were held to re-evaluate and contextualise Alfred's achievements and the developments of his reign. This volume includes papers given at both events and provides substantial assessments, by leading scholars, of issues of source-criticism, of the large corpus of Old English literature associated with Alfred and of developments in government and society in late ninth-century England. It also explores how Alfred and his kingdom related to the wider geo-political and cultural situation in the British isles and continental Europe, and closes with a substantial survey of the uses and shifts in Alfred's reputation in the centuries following his death. This substantial and wide ranging volume will become a standard reference work for anyone interested in Old English literature or Anglo-Saxon history, and will set the pattern of future scholarly debate.
Table of Contents
Contents: Foreword; Introduction: Placing King Alfred, James Campbell; The sources: Asser's reading, Michael Lapidge; Ã†lfredian arithmetic, Asserian architectonics, David Howlett; The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the idea of Rome in Alfredian literature, Susan Irvine; Ã†dificia nova: treasures of Alfred's reign, Leslie Webster; Alfredian literature: The Alfredian canon revisited: a hundred years on, Janet Bately; The form and function of the preface in the poetry and prose of Alfred's reign, Allen J. Frantzen; The player king: identification and self-representation in King Alfred's writings, Malcolm Godden; Alfredian government and society: Alfredian government: the west Saxon inheritance, Nicholas Brooks; The power of the written word: Alfredian England 871-899, Simon Keynes; Alfred's coinage reforms in context, Mark Blackburn; The origin of Alfred's urban policies, David Hill; Alfred and London, Derek Keene; Succession and inheritance: a gendered perspective on Alfred's family history, Pauline Stafford; What 'Great heathen army'? Alfred the Great, the Micel HÃ¦Ã°en Here and the Viking threat, Richard Abels; Alfred's new longships, Edwin and Joyce Gifford; Alfred and contemporary rulership: Alfred's Carolingian contemporaries, Janet L. Nelson; Alfred the Great and Arnulf of Carinthia: a comparison, Anton Scharer; Alfred's contemporaries: Irish, Welsh, Scots and Breton, Wendy Davies; The ruler as instructor, pastor and wise: Leo VI of Byzantium and Symeon of Bulgaria, Jonathan Shepard; Alfred as icon: Alfredism: the use and abuse of King Alfred's reputation in later centuries, Barbara Yorke.
'Overall, a more human Alfred emerges, and a more credible one, in a more plausible context, and this is a fitting commemoration.' History '... these studies are remarkable for the precision and thoughtfulness with which they clarify our basic understanding of the significance of King Alfred's reign. The reader can turn tot his volume, almost as a specialized encyclopedia, to find the most detailed, up-to-date and nuanced evaluation of Alfred's debt to his predecessors, his relation to his contemporaries and his own innovations and special achievements.' The Medieval Review 'The value of the volume lies not only in the general quality of its contributions, but in its juxtaposition of multiple perspectives. Afredian activity gains much from its assessement in regional and European contexts, in turn generating important questions for further research. If Alfred's contribution seems more nuanced, its scope is strongly confirmed in this fitting commemoration of an extraordinary king.' Albion 'The book is splendidly produced...' Speculum