Alfred's Metres of Boethius


Alfred's Metres of Boethius Edited by Bill Griffiths In this edition of the Old English Metres of Boethius, clarity of text, informative notes and a helpful glossary have been a priority, for this is one of the most approachable of Old English verse texts, lucid and delightful; its relative neglect by specialists will mean this text will come as a new experience to many practised students of the language; while its clear, expositional verse style makes it an ideal starting point for all amateurs of the period. In these poems, King Alfred re-built the Latin verses from Boethius' De Consolatione Philosophiae ("On the Consolation of Philosophy") into new alliterative poems, via an Old English prose intermediary. The stirring images and stories of Boethius' original are retained - streams, legends, animals, volcanoes - and developed for an Anglo-Saxon audience to include the Gothic invasion of Italy (Metre 1), the figure of Welland the Smith (Metre 10), and the hugely disconcerting image of Death's hunt for mankind (Metre 27). The text is in effect a compendium of late classical science and philosophy, tackling serious issues like the working of the universe, the nature of the soul, the morality of power - but presented in so clear and lively a manner as to make it as challenging today as it was in those surprisingly Un-Dark Ages. The text is in Old English without Modern English translations. £19·95 ISBN 1-898281-03-3 10"x7" / 250mm x 175mm 208 pages

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