This collection of twenty-nine papers is in honour of E. G. Stanley, Rawlinson and Bosworth Emeritus Professor of Anglo-Saxon at the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford. Written by scholars he has supervised, examined or otherwise served as mentor for within the last twenty years, the contributors illustrate the advantages of following John Donne's axiom to 'doubt wisely'. Professor Stanley's own published work has shown the utility of wise scepticism as a critical stance; these papers presented to him apply similar approaches to a wide variety of texts, most of them in the field of Old or Middle English literature. The primary focus of the collection is on the close reading of words in their immediate context, which commonly entails a reconsideration of accepted assumptions. Consequently, new links are created here among the disciplines in medieval studies, based on various combinations of these scholarly applications.
Contributors provide new analyses of such difficult but rewarding fields as Old English metre and syntax, Beowulf, the origins and development of standard English, the definitions of Old English words and their connotations, the styles and themes of Old English poems, Middle English poetry and prose, the post-medieval reception of medieval works and the styles, themes and sources of Old English poetry and prose.
M.J. Toswell is Associate Professor of English at the University of Western Ontario.E.M. Tyler is Lecturer in the Department of English and Related Literature at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York.

chapter |8 pages


part 1|107 pages

On language and linguistics

chapter 1|16 pages

Names will never hurt me

chapter 4|14 pages

Reasonable doubt, reasoned choice

The letter A in the Dictionary of Old English

part 2|98 pages

On words and phrases

chapter 7|12 pages

Grendel's arm and the law

chapter 10|11 pages

The sword mightier than the pen?

Hrothgar's hilt, theory, and philology

chapter 11|13 pages

Metrical stress on alliterating finite verbs in clause-initial a-verses

‘Some doubts and no conclusions'

part 3|108 pages

On the interpretation of a single text

chapter 15|15 pages

Doubts about Medea, Briseyda, and Helen

Interpreting classical allusion in the fourteenth-century French ballade Medee fu en amer veritable

chapter 16|19 pages

Woman-kenitings in the Gίsla saga Súrssonar

A study

chapter 17|18 pages

‘Symtyme the fende'

Questions of rape in Sir Gowther

chapter 18|19 pages

Medieval ‘allegorical imagery' in c. 1630

Will. Baspoole's revision of The Pilgrimage of the Lyfe of the Manhode

part 4|117 pages

On taxonomies, genres, and sources

chapter 20|20 pages

The idea of the ‘Christian epic'

Towards a history of an Old English poetic genre

chapter 21|25 pages

Ælfric's sources reconsidered

Some case studies from the Catholic Homilies

chapter 22|15 pages

Ulysses and Circe in King Alfred's Boethius

A classical myth transformed

chapter 23|21 pages

Poetic inspiration and prosaic translation

The making of Cœdmon's Hymn

chapter 24|17 pages

The metre of the Ormulum