The Politics of Tradition





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The Politics of Tradition – Examining the History of the Old English Poems The Wife's Lament & Wulf and Eadwacer

Berit Åström

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In recent years Anglo-Saxonist scholars have widened the scope of their studies to include not only various aspects of Anglo-Saxon society and literature, but also, selfquestioningly, their own discipline. Through an in-depth study of the scholarship on The Wife's Lament and Wulf and Eadwacer, this thesis examines the roles of these scholars in the critical history of the two poems. The poems are two of the most haunting and at the same time cryptic texts of the entire Old English corpus. Because of these characteristics, the research they inspire is wide-ranging, imaginative and sometimes provocative. The thesis focuses mainly on two aspects of scholarly research: the emergence of a professional identity among Anglo-Saxonist scholars and their choice of either a metaphoric or metonymic approach to the material. A final chapter studies the concomitant changes within Old English feminist studies.