Race and Ethnicity in Anglo-Saxon Literature (Hardback) book cover

Race and Ethnicity in Anglo-Saxon Literature

By Stephen Harris

© 2004 – Routledge

316 pages

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Paperback: 9780415865104
pub: 2013-09-03
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pub: 2003-09-08
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pub: 2004-06-01
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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.

About the Author

Stephen Harris teaches Old English at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has published on the Venerable Bede and on King Alfred, most recently in Criticism and the Journal of English and Germanic Philology.

About the Series

Studies in Medieval History and Culture

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh