Alfred the Great
Daniel Anlezark Arc Humanities Press, 2017 Library of Congress DA153.A55 2017 | Dewey Decimal 942.0164
Alfred the Great is a rare historical figure from the early Middle Ages, in that he retains a popular image. This image increasingly suffers from the dead white male syndrome, exacerbated by Alfred's association with British imperialism and colonialism, so this book provides an accessible reassessment of the famous ruler of Wessex, informed by current scholarship, both on the king as a man in history, and the king as a subsequent legendary construct.Daniel Anlezark presents Alfred in his historical context, seen through Asser's Life, the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, and other texts associated with the king. The book engages with current discussions about the authenticity of attributions to Alfred of works such as the Old English Boethius and Soliloquies, and explores how this ninth-century king of Wessex came to be considered the Great king of legend.
Old Testament Narratives
Daniel Anlezark Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress PR1508.O57 2011 | Dewey Decimal 829.108
The Old English poems in this volume are among the first retellings of scriptural texts in a European vernacular. More than simple translations, they recast the familiar plots in daringly imaginative ways, from Satan's seductive pride (anticipating Milton), to a sympathetic yet tragic Eve, to Moses as a headstrong Germanic warrior-king, to the lyrical nature poetry in Azarias.
Whether or not the legendary Caedmon authored any of the poems in this volume, they represent traditional verse in all its vigor. Three of them survive as sequential epics in a manuscript in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. The first, the Old English Genesis, recounts biblical history from creation and the apocryphal fall of the angels to the sacrifice of Isaac; Abraham emerges as the central figure struggling through exile toward a lasting covenant with God. The second, Exodus, follows Moses as he leads the Hebrew people out of Egyptian slavery and across the Red Sea. Both Abraham and Moses are transformed into martial heroes in the Anglo-Saxon mold. The last in the triad, Daniel, tells of the trials of the Jewish people in Babylonian exile up through Belshazzar's feast. Azarias, the final poem in this volume (found in an Exeter Cathedral manuscript), relates the apocryphal episode of the three youths in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace.