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A study of maxims - what they are, why and when they are used - based on detailed investigation of issues, texts and formulas.Maxims abound in Old English literature, but have rarely been studied extensively, and many questions remain about their use: what kind of expression is a maxim? Why and when were they used? Do they offer evidence for popular, pagan folklore? This book aims to offer answers through a detailed investigation of various issues, texts and formulas, leading to a better understanding of Old English literature in general. It takes account of comparable material in other Old Germanic languages and the Bible, and shows that maxims had recognisable functions in literary and social discourse, recording knowledge and according value. Dr Cavill also applies new developments in current scholarship on formulaic theory, proverb performance theory and sociology of knowledge; sheds new light on popular poems like The Battle of Maldon and Beowulf; and suggests a place and purpose for the Maxims poems in an oral society.
Dr PAUL CAVILLteaches at the University of Nottingham.
3 line illustrations
BISAC LIT011000, LIT004120
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A rewarding read. NOTTINGHAM MEDIEVAL STUDIES Shed(s) new light on its often fascinating, sometimes frustrating subject. MEDIUM AEVUM Convincing and enlightening... his approach offers a new framework for understanding these puzzling productions. ENGLISH STUDIES At his most persuasive when reading an individual maxim... underscore(s) the singular importane of maxims to Old English poetry. NOTES AND QUERIESNot only a very welcome contribution to Anglo-Saxon studies, but also a revealing, well-structured, exciting reading presented in a logical, attractive and entertaining manner. ANGLIA