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Old English Bibliography
The First Fifty Titles to
The following list is 99% based on a helpful handout
provided to me when I was a graduate student at the University
of Oregon by Professor James
Earl. Any errors in this copy are the result of my own scribal
corruptions while copying, rather than a product of the original
work. The bibliography contains a list of elementary resources
for students of Anglo-Saxon (Old English) that no student should
be without. If you are serious about studying Old English, you
should spend a few hours acquainting yourself with these tools.
Two warnings: (1) this bibliography is extremely elementary,
and it was last updated in 1995; (2) the list reflects sources
available at the University of Oregon library, and you may need
to use interlibrary loan them to get them. Remember that a bibliography
is meaningless unless you actually read the books.
First of all, three bibliographical tools:
1. Greenfield, Stanley and Fred Robinson.
A Bibliography of Publications on Old English Literature
to the End of 1972 (Toronto, 1980). Including a bibliography
of bibliographies. It's mostly the old stuff, with one or
two pages listed per topic.
2. Anglo-Saxon England, an annual
published by Cambridge University Press that includes complete
bibliographies since 1972 as well as many of the articles
you will want to read.
3. The Old English Newsletter,
published semi-annually by the State University of New York,
with complete annual bibliographies, reviews of scholarship,
and abstracts. You can subscribe for $6.00.
Essential reference works regarding the Old
4. Bosworth, Joseph and T. Northcote
Toller, An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (Oxford 1882-98),
with Supplement by T. Northcote Toller (Oxford, 1908-21),
and Addenda and Corrigenda by Alistair Campbell (Oxford,
1972). It will soon be superseded by the Toronto Dictionary
project, but until then, this is the ultimate dictionary.
For real certainty, every word must be looked up in all three
volumes! If you don't do so, you may commit a scholarly gaffe.
5. Clark Hall, John, and Herbert D. Meritt,
A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, 4th ed. (Cambridge
1966). It's a usable quick reference, but use with caution
if you are publishing!
6. Campbell, Alistair, Old English
Grammar (Oxford 1959). For reference use. Not for the
7. Mitchell, Bruce, Old English Syntax.
(Oxford, 1985). Delightfully readable, if you have a couple
of years. Excellent reference tool with good indexes.
8. Mitchell, Bruce and Fred Robinson,
A Guide to Old English (Blackwell, 1986). A standard
textbook with simplified grammar.
9. Bessinger, Jess and Philip Smith,
A Concordance to the Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records (Cornell,
1978). A concordance is far better than a dictionary when
doing any detailed work in Old English. A concordance lists
every sentence or passage where the word appears in use, so
you can see how it functions.
10. Barney, Stephen, Word-Hoard: An
Introduction to Old English Vocabulary (Yale, 1985). A
Essential reference works regarding Anglo-Saxon history:
11. Whitelock, Dorothy, English Historical
Documents, vol 1, c. 500-1042 (Eyre and Spottiswoode,
1968). Reliable translations of everything useful by way of
12. Collingwood, R. G. , and J. N. L.
Myres, Roman Britain and the English Settlements (Oxford,
13. Stenton, Frank, Anglo-Saxon England
(Oxford 1971). The standard.
14. Whitelock, Dorothy, The Beginnings
of English Society (Penguin, 1968). A highly readable
15. Campbell, James, Erec John and Patrick
Wormald, The Anglo-Saxons (Phaidon, 1982). A brilliant
and highly readable revisionist history with copious illustrations.
Extremely useful, two thumbs up.
the standard editions of the poems we will be studying, and
some other useful items; scholarship must be based on the standard
editions to be taken seriously!
16. Krapp, George Philip, and E. V. K.
Dobbie, The Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records, 6 vols. (Columbia,
1931-53). The invaluable standard, even where superseded.
Three volumes especially, The Exeter Book, The Junius
Manuscript, and The Minor Poems are absolute treasures.
17. Gollancz, Israel. The Exeter Book,
vol. I (EETS, 1895), and Mackie W. S., The Exeter Book,
vol. ii (EETS, 1934). Early and unreliable texts, but with
facing line-by-line translations of the entire Exeter Book.
A complete read-through of this book in translation is the
best introduction I know to OE poetry.
18. Pope, John C. Seven Old English
Poems (Bobbs-Merrill, 1966). An authoritative textbook
in standardized OE with excellent introductions, notes, and
19. Klinck, Anne L. The Old English
Elegies: A Critical Edition and Genre Study (McGill-Queens
Univ., 1992). This place is where students should begin with
the elegies; it is complete and has facsimiles of the manuscript.
20. Aelfric's Colloquy, ed. G.
N. Garmonsway (Methuen, 1947).
21. The Prose Solomon and Saturn and
Adrian and Ritheus, ed. James Cross and Thomas D. Hill
22. Deor, ed. Kemp Malone (Methuen,
23. The Battle of Maldon, ed.
Eric V. Gordon (Methuen, 1957). Also see The Battle of
Maldon, ed. Don Scragg (Manchester, 1981).
24. The Dream of the Rood, ed.
Bruce Dickens and Alan S. C. Ross, (Methuen, 1966).
25. The Wanderer, ed. Roy F. Leslie
26. The Wanderer, ed. Thomas
P. Dunning and Alan J. Bliss (Methuen, 1969).
27. The Seafarer, ed. Ida L. Gordon
28. The Saxon Genesis, ed. A.
N. Doane (Wisconsin, 1991).
and studies in Old English
29. Greenfield, Stanley, and Daniel Calder,
A New Critical History of Old English Literature (NYU,
1986). With an excellent survy of Anglo-Latin backgrounds
by Michael Lapidge; every Old English student's indispensible
30. Wrenn, C. L. A Study of Old English
Literature (London, 1967).
31. Sissam, Kenneth, Studies in the
History of Old English Literature (Oxford, 1953). Advanced
studies by a master scholar; excellent "Dialect Origins
of the Earlier Old English Verse."
32. Lord, Alfred, The Singer of Tales
(Harvard, 1960). The book that launched oral-formulaic criticism.
33. Opland, Jeff. Anglo-Saxon Oral
Poetry (Yale 1980). The most comprehensive (though not
uncontroversial) treatment of oral-formulaic traits in Anglo-Saxon.
34. Calder, D. G., et al. Sources
and Analogues of Old English Poetry, vol. I, the Latin
Sources (Brewer, 1976); vol II, Germanic and Celtic Sources
As for literary
criticism, you will need to do most of your research in journals
rather than books, but here are some collections of important
articles to shorten your search.
35. Stanley, E. G., Continuations
and Beginnings: Studies in Old English Literature (Nelson,
1966). Seven comprehensive essays by heavies in the field.
Greenfield on elegy, Clemoes on Aelfric.
36. Bessinger, Jess, and Stanley Kahrl,
Essential Articles for the Study of Old English Poetry
37. Stevens, Martin, and Jerome Mandel,
Old English Literature (Nebraska, 1968).
38. Creed, Robert P., Old English
Poetry: Fifteen Essays (Brown, 1967).
39. Bessinger, Jess and Robert P. Creed,
Franciplegius (NYU, 1965).
40. Nicholson, Lewis E., and Dolores
Frese, Anglo-Saxon Poetry (Notre Dame, 1975).
41. Green, Martin, The Old English
Elegies (Fairleigh Dickinson, 1983).
42. Brown, Phyllis, Georgia Crampton,
and Fred Robinson, Modes of Interpretation in Old English
Literature (Toronto, 1986).
43. Damico, Helen, and Alexandra Hennessey
Olsen, New Readings on Women in Old English Literature
(Indiana UP, 1991).
44. Godden, Malcolm, and Michael Lapidge,
The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature (Cambridge
UP, 1991). Impeccably conservative.
45. Frantzen, Allen, ed. Speaking
Two Languages: Traditional Disciplines and Contemporary Theory
in Medieval Studies (SUNY P, 1991). It was the cutting
edge in 1991. Now it feels a bit 90's.
46. Hall, Joan, Nick Doane and Dick Ringler,
eds. Old English and New (Garland, 1992).
Some books of interest in literary criticism:
47. Frantzen, Allen, The Desire for
Origins: New Language, Old English, and Teaching the Tradition
(Rutgers, 1990). The book the Old Boys love to hate. Great
for discussion of Caedmon.
48. Lerer, Seth, Literacy and Power
in Anglo-Saxon England (Nebraska, 1991).
49. O'Brian O'Keeffe, Katherine, Visible
Song: Transitional Literacy in Old English Verse (Cambridge,
50. Hermann, John P. Allegories of
War: Language and Violence in Old English Poetry (Michigan,