The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Fry, Donald K. "Wulf and Eadwacer: A Wen Charm." 5 (1971): 247-63.
Detailed anaylsis of other Anglo-Saxon charms produces some interesting similarities to this difficult poem. However, when read in light of scribal confusion, mistakes, and variations in spelling, Wulf and Eadwacer becomes more intelligible to readers as a wen charm.
Jabbour, Alan. "Memorial Transmission in Old English Poetry." 3 (1969): 174-90.
Two primary theories have been proposed for the creation of Old English poetry, a strictly oral theory and a transitional theory. Comparing British works of the Anglo-Saxon period with Southslavic works in the oral tradition produces a third possibility. In the oral tradition, poets memorize the plan of the story, orally improvising the words and phrases in rendition. Following the memorized plan allows for two separate possibilities: the poet can rely primarily on memory for most things or the poet can rely on improvisation for most of the details. Scholars cannot posit a "transitional" stage between oral and written works in which the written text has the formulas of the oral tradition because such a text in written form does not have the necessary element of improvisation. However, the memorial tradition shares with written text the attempt to maintain a given work in both story line and detail. Thus a memorial tradition, like that of British poetry, can easily relate to a written tradition. There may be a transitional text between written and memorial transmission in that the memorial transmission may appropriate a written text, but the text may not yet have experienced all the changes which come with full incorporation into the memorial tradition. Extended examination of Old English texts, for example Soul and Body, demonstrates the memorial transmission of texts and suggests a profitable relationship between written and oral texts.
Mandel, Jerome. "Contrast in Old English Poetry." 6 (1971): 1-13.
The various uses that Anglo-Saxon poets make of contrast in their poetry suggest that contrast is more than a rhetorical device: contrast is a structural principle. By contrasting words, lines, and groups of lines, the poet can suggest the thematic tensions of a work, such as the tension between peace and war. Examination of Beowulf, the Wanderer, the Dream of the Rood, and Deor demonstrates that contrast is a structural principle of Anglo-Saxon poetry that poets use to suggest the transitory nature of life.
Moorman, Charles. "The English Alliterative Revival and the Literature of Defeat." 16 (1981): 85-100.
Poems within the alliterative revival may be grouped by the geographical location of their writers. Writers from different areas of origin use different techniques. For example, the Parliament of the Three Ages and Winner and Waster use natural description and a non-doctrinal tone, elements found in Southern poetry. Western and North Midland poetry of this period (1350-1400) employs concrete physical detail and avoids Christian and political emphasis. Eastern poems focus on immediate socio-political goals, and they resemble Chaucer's and Gower's works. The poets of the alliterative revival rely on "an inherited oral and poetic tradition" (89), the revival of which grew out of opposition to the royal court. The more Norman-Western poets deal "with the conflicting passions and basic instincts of men" (90). The Western poems show the elements of Anglo-Saxon poetry beneath the Christianized exterior.