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Visible Song : Transitional Literacy in Old English Verse - Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe

Visible Song

Transitional Literacy in Old English Verse


Published: 30th November 1990
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In recent years there has been lively debate about the 'orality' or 'literacy' of Old English verse: about whether the Old English verse which has come down to us is primarily the product of oral composition or primarily written, insofar as it is transmitted only in manuscript. The present book throws entirely new light on this question by drawing our attention to a hitherto unrecognised and unexplored body of evidence, namely the graphic realisation of Old English verse in the surviving manuscripts - how it is set out spatially, how it is marked up for reading with punctuation of various kinds. Professor O'Keeffe shows that by the late tenth century scribes had apparently ceased to alter the poems which they were transcribing by recourse to residual orality, and had begun to copy verbatim the poetic text before them. The entire orality-literacy debate has been lifted onto a new plane; the book makes a major contribution to our understanding of the way Old English verse has come down to us.

List of plates
List of figures
List of abbreviations
Orality and the developing text of Caedmon's Hymn
Speech, writing and power in Solomon and Saturn I
The writing of the Metrical Preface to Alfred's Pastoral Care
Poems of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Interpreting, pointing and reading
Reading and pointing in the major poetic codices
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521375504
ISBN-10: 0521375509
Series: Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 228
Published: 30th November 1990
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.51