Imagining Anglo-Saxon England
Title Details

20th March 2020

282 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

5 colour. 6 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Boydell Studies in Medieval Art and Architecture

Imprint: Boydell Press

Imagining Anglo-Saxon England

Utopia, Heterotopia, Dystopia

by Catherine E. Karkov

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
A fresh approach to the construction of "Anglo-Saxon England" and its depiction in art and writing.
This book explores the ways in which early medieval England was envisioned as an ideal, a placeless, and a conflicted geography in works of art and literature from the eighth to the eleventh century and in their modern scholarly and popular afterlives. It suggests that what came to be called "Anglo-Saxon England" has always been an imaginary place, an empty space into which ideas of what England was, or should have been, or should be, have been inserted from the arrival of peoples from the Continent in the fifth and sixth centuries to the arrival of the self-named "alt-right" in the twenty-first. It argues that the political and ideological violence that was a part of the origins of England as a place and the English as a people has never been fully acknowledged; instead, the island was reimagined as a chosen land home to a chosen people, the gens Anglorum. Unacknowledged violence, however, continued to haunt English history and culture. Through her examination here of the writings of Bede and King Alfred, the Franks Casket and the illuminated Wonders of the East, and the texts collected together to form the Beowulf manuscript, the author shows how this continues to haunt "Anglo-Saxon Studies" as a discipline and Anglo-Saxonism as an ideology, from the antiquarian studies of the sixteenth century through to the nationalistic and racist violence of today.

CATHERINE E. KARKOV is Professor of Art History, University of Leeds.
Introduction
A plan for utopia to come
Utopia past and the heterotopia of origins
Utopia/dystopia: humanity and its others in the Beowulf manuscript
Retrotopia: Anglo-Saxonism, Anglo-Saxonists, and the myth of origins
Bibliography
"Briskly written and including a rich bibliography and references to current scholarship, the book casts a wide net into both critical theory and Anglo-Saxon studies. It deserves a wide audience." CHOICE

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Title Details

20th March 2020

282 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

5 colour. 6 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Boydell Studies in Medieval Art and Architecture

Imprint: Boydell Press