The Siege of Jerusalem was likely popular in its day; by twenty-first-century standards it is gruesomely violent and offensively anti-Semitic. It tells the story of the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, an event viewed by its author (as by many in the Middle Ages) as divine retribution against Jews for the killing of Christ. The poem anachronistically turns first-century Roman emperors Titus and Vespasian into Christian converts who battle like medieval crusaders to avenge their savior and cleanse the Holy Land of enemies of the faith. While the poem's anti-Semitism is undisputed, there is nevertheless some consensus that Siege of Jerusalem is a finely crafted piece of poetry, and that its combination of horror, beauty, and learnedness makes it an effective work of art. As literary scholar A.C. Spearing has put it, "We may not like what the poet does, but it is done with skillful craftsmanship and sometimes with brilliant virtuosity."
Boyarin's eloquent translation-the first full translation in Modern English- conveys something of the alliterative sound of the Middle English poem without sacrificing meaning or readability. Appendices provide extensive samples of the original alliterative verse, a wide-ranging compendium of materials related to anti-Semitism in the Middle Ages, comparative biblical passages, and other illuminating resources.
More than merely updating an old poem, Boyarin presents a veritable anthology of medieval anti-Judaism. - Times Literary Supplement, 19th June 2015
Series: The Broadview Anthology of British Literature
Number Of Pages: 170
Published: 28th November 2013
Publisher: Broadview Press Ltd
Country of Publication: CA
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 14.0 x 1.2
Weight (kg): 0.25