The Shapes of Early English Poetry: Style, Form, History



This volume contributes to the study of early English poetics. In these essays, several related approaches and fields of study radiate outward from poetics, including stylistics, literary history, word studies, gender studies, metrics, and textual criticism. By combining and redirecting these traditional scholarly methods, as well as exploring newer ones such as object-oriented ontology and sound studies, these essays demonstrate how poetry responds to its intellectual, literary, and material contexts.

The contributors propose to connect the small (syllables, words, and phrases) to the large (histories, emotions, faiths, secrets). In doing so, they attempt to work magic on the texts they consider: turning an ordinary word into something strange and new, or demonstrating texture, difference, and horizontality where previous eyes had perceived only smoothness, sameness, and verticality.


Roberta Frank’s publications, 1970-present

Irina Dumitrescu and Eric Weiskott, “Introduction”

Part 1. Seasons

Mary Kate Hurley, “Weathering Time in the Wanderer”
Andrew James Johnston, “Beowulf as Anti-Virgilian World Literature: Archaeology, Ekphrasis, and Epic”
Denis Ferhatović, “A Portrait of the Translator as Grendel’s Mother: The Postcolonial Feminist Polyphony of Meghan Purvis’s Beowulf”

Part 2. Engines

Emily V. Thornbury, “Light Verse in Anglo-Saxon England”
Eric Weiskott, “The Paris Psalter and English Literary History”
Sarah Elliott Novacich, “Generative Form”
Christopher Abram, “Kennings and Things: Towards an Object-Oriented Skaldic Poetics”

Part 3. Discordance

A. B. Kraebel, “Lydgate’s Missing ‘Ballade’ and the Bibliographical Imaginary”
Irina Dumitrescu, “Spoiled and Eaten: Figures of Absorption in Medieval English Poetry”
Jordan Zweck, “‘Gehyre se ðe wille’: Sonic Worlds in Old Testament Poetry”