Old English Scholarship in the Seventeenth Century
Title Details

252 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

14 b/w

Series: Medievalism

Series Vol. Number: 23

Imprint: D.S.Brewer

Old English Scholarship in the Seventeenth Century

Medievalism and National Crisis

by Rebecca Brackmann

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
Old English scholars of the mid-seventeenth century lived through some of the most turbulent times in English history but, this book argues, the upheaval inspired them to produce some of the most famous landmark texts in early Old English studies.

England in the 1640s and 1650s experienced civil wars, regicide, and unprecedented debate over religious and social structures, but it also saw several milestones in the field of early medieval English studies. This book argues that the scholars of Old English who produced these works did so not in spite but because of the intense political upheaval surrounding them. The opening chapters examine the book collecting and lexicographic endeavors of the Parliamentarian Simonds D'Ewes, sponsor of the professorship of "Saxon" at Cambridge University, and Abraham Wheelock's pro-Stuart "Old English" poetry and the puritan overtones of his edition of the Old English Historia Ecclesiastica. It then moves on to consider the constitutionalist Roger Twysden's depiction of early English laws as the cornerstone for English identity in his edition of Archaionomia and the Leges Henrici Primi; and the royalist and Laudian bent of both William Somner's chorographic work and his Dictionarium Saxonico-Latino-Anglicum, the first printed dictionary of Old English. It concludes by an exploration of the way in which William Dugdale deployed early medieval events to comment on his present day in his monumental county history, Antiquities of Warwickshire. The volume as a whole suggests that the crises through which these scholars lived and worked spurred their research to engage with both the past and present, using Old English texts as a lens through which to view understand and contribute to contemporary debates about the English church and state.
Introduction: Medieval Studies in a Time of Crisis
Chapter One: Medievalism, the Self, and the World: Simonds D'Ewes and His Books
Chapter Two: Abraham Wheelock's Godly Historian: The 1643 / 1644 Bede
Chapter Three: The Law's Deep Roots: Roger Twysden's Edition of William Lambarde's Archaionomia and Leges Henrici Primi
Chapter Four: Monuments and Memory: William Somner's Antiquities of Canterbury and Poems on the Regicide
Chapter Five: "The Saxons Live Againe": William Somner's Dictionarium Saxonico-Latino-Anglicum
Chapter Six: The Echoing Past: William Dugdale and Early Medieval Warwickshire
Epilogue: Texts in Conversation: John Milton's Paradise Regained and the Old English Christ and Satan

Rebecca Brackmann is Associate Professor of English at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.

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9781843846529

March 2023

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9781800109339

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Title Details

252 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

14 b/w

Series: Medievalism

Series Vol. Number: 23

Imprint: D.S.Brewer