Anglo-Saxon Elegiac Verse * Louis Jerome Rodrigues (1994)

The term ‘elegy’ used to describe a group of fairly short poems in the Exeter Book and certain other passages from longer works, was a nineteenth-century invention, since the poems and passages it collectively describes are neither ‘elegies’ nor ‘elegiac’ in the classical sense of composition in the elegiac metre nor in the tradition of later English pastoral elegy.

Rodrigues apparantly did not just try to publish the wealth of Anglo-Saxon texts, but rather present them thematically. There is an overlap in texts between this title and the earlier reviewed Anglo-Saxon Verse Charms, Maxims & Heroic Legends. After saying why the texts presented can still be called “elegiac” Rodrigues names the texts that he presents in this little (123 p.) book: The Wanderer, The Seafearer, The Riming Poem, Wulf and Eadwacer, The Wife’s Lament, Resignation, The Husband’s Message, and The Ruin. A few other texts are added and the appendix gives “some modern English verse rendering of The Ruin” in which Rodrigues writes about the difficulties of translating (ancient) poetry and the different sollutions that ‘translators’ come up with. This time the book is filled with some longer poetical texts of which I only enjoyed Resignation which is a call to God of a person who seems resently deceased and looks back at his life. The texts are obviously laments. Of course there is a lengthy introduction again and at the end a gigantic bibliography.
1994 Llanarch, isbn 1897853319

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