Essentials of Early English: Old, Middle and Early Modern English, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Essentials of Early English

Old, Middle and Early Modern English, 2nd Edition

By Jeremy J. Smith, Jeremy Smith


264 pages

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pub: 2005-06-16
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This is a completely revised and updated edition of a highly successful textbook.

It provides a practical and highly accessible introduction to the early stages of the English language: Old English, Middle English, and Early Modern English. Designed specifically as a handbook for students beginning the study of early English language, whether for linguistic or literary purposes, it presumes little or no prior knowledge of the history of English.

Features of this second edition include:

  • newly added Middle English and Early Modern English sample texts and accompanying notes
  • a new section on historical methods
  • web links and an updated annotated bibliography.


'A godsend to anyone who wants to read and understand texts in more than just one older period of English. This is a highly readable, improved and enlarged second edition.' - Olga Fischer, University of Amsterdam

'It's engaging approach, its unpretentious scholarship, and its lucid exposition of a broad and complex subject, recommend it as a fine textbook for anyone seeking to understand, both the history of the language, and how the linguistic and the literary interconnect in Early English writing.' - Catherine Batt, University of Leeds, UK

Table of Contents

Preface Part I. 1. Introduction 2. Describing Language 3. Old English 4. Middle English 5. Early Modern English Part ii. A. Old English Texts B. Middle English Texts C. Early Modern English Part III. Annotated Bibliography Old English Glossary Grammatical Index

About the Authors

Jeremy Smith is Reader in English Language at the University of Glasgow and has been actively teaching Early English for 20 years. He is the author of An Historical Study of English (1996)

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General