The Sea and Englishness in the Middle Ages

The Sea and Englishness in the Middle Ages

Maritime Narratives, Identity and Culture

Edited by Sebastian I. Sobecki





Essays examining the way in which the sea has shaped medieval and later ideas of what it is to be English.
Local and imperial, insular and expansive, both English yet British: geographically and culturally, the sea continues to shape changing models of Englishness. This volume traces the many literary origins of insular identity from local communities to the entire archipelago, laying open the continuities and disruptions in the sea's relationship with English identity in a British context. Ranging from the beginnings of insular literature to Victorian medievalisms, the subjects treated include King Arthur's struggle with muddy banks, the afterlife of Edgar's forged charters, Old English homilies and narratives of migration, Welsh and English ideas about Chester, Anglo-Norman views of the sea in the Vie de St Edmund and Waldef, post-Conquest cartography, The Book of Margery Kempe, the works of the Irish Stopford Brooke, and the making of an Anglo-British identity in Victorian Britain.

Sebastian Sobecki is Professor of Medieval English Literature and Culture at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Contributors: Sebastian Sobecki, Winfried Rudolf, Fabienne Michelet, Catherine A.M. Clarke, Judith Weiss, Kathy Lavezzo, Alfred Hiatt, Jonathan Hsy, Chris Jones, Joanne Parker, David Wallace

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October 2011
8 black and white illustrations
274 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843842767
Format: Hardback
BISAC LIT011000, LIT004120
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Edgar's Archipelago - Sebastian Sobecki
The Spiritual Islescape of the Anglo-Saxons - Winfried Rudolf
Lost at Sea: Nautical Travels in the Old English Exodus, the Old English Andreas, and Accounts of the adventus Saxonum - Fabienne Michelet
Edges and Otherworlds: Imagining Tidal Spaces in Early Medieval Britain - Catherine A M Clarke
East Anglia and the Sea in the Narratives of the Vie de St Edmund and Waldef - Judith Weiss
The Sea and Border Crossings in the Alliterative Morte Arthure - Kathy Lavezzo
'From Hulle to Cartage': Maps, England, and the Sea - Alfred Hiatt
Lingua Franca: Overseas Travel and Language Contact in The Book of Margery Kempe - Jonathan Hsy
'Birthplace for the poetry of the sea-ruling nation': Stopford Brooke and Old English - Chris Jones
Ruling the Waves: Saxons, Vikings, and the Sea in the Formation of an Anglo-British Identity in the Nineteenth Century - Joanne Parker
Afterword: Sea, Island, Mud - David Wallace


A welcome addition to the growing list of titles re-examining the vitally important conceptual links between literature and the sea. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MARITIME HISTORY

[A] valuable addition to our understanding of medieval notions of Englishness and of England [...] demonstrates that English identity is and was a constant struggle against the pull of land and ocean alike, a hybrid existence at the edge of earth and water. LIMINA

A well-produced, well-written and well-conceived volumes. [...] Medievalists of all disciplines will find something of interest here. THE RICARDIAN

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