14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The purpose of 'Eight Old English Poems' is to provide exciting pieces of literature for the student to read in the original language, "as a preliminary to the study of Beowulf" (vii). This volume achieves this goal with flying colors. The poems included in this volume (in the original Language) are: 'Caedmon's Hymn', 'The Battle of Brunanburh', 'The Dream of the Rood', 'The Battle of Maldon', 'The Wanderer', 'The Seafarer', 'Deor', and 'The Wife's Lament'. This is definitely a must buy for those interested in Old English Poetry and students learning the language. The glossary of vocabulary and detailed notes make translating these fascinating poems a joy. Some notable poems include 'The Wanderer' and 'The Battle of Maldon'. The Wanderer comes from a tenth-century manuscript and describes the emotions of a man who has lost all his possessions, companions, and his lord. It is a depressing and introspective look at the central elements of Anglo-Saxon culture. The Battle of Maldon describes a real battle that took place in 991 where the Anglo-Saxons were defeated by a massive Viking Invasion. This poem describes the deeds of the defeated Anglo-Saxons and includes speeches of Anglo-Saxon warriors across the social strata (from peasants to lords).
This volume has an amazing general introduction to the stylistic elements of Old English poetry, for example the creation of new poetic terms (Compounding) and the use of Contrast. In addition, each poem has a specific introduction which describes the manuscript tradition of the poem, other modern commentators, and a detailed set of notes for difficult vocabulary, passages, and textual uncertainties. Also included in this volume is a section on Old English Versification (With Particular Attention to the Eight Poems in the book) dealing with Alliteration and Rhyme, Syllables and Stress, the Basic Verse Types, metrical Subtypes, Hypermetric Verses, with useful reference sample scansions from the Seafarer and The Dream of the Rood. Not only does this volume provide the reader with some of the greatest pieces of poetry in the West in the original language (The Wanderer and The Dream of the Rood) but provides extensive commentary and translation aids.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2012
This book is one of the best books on Old English that can be purchased for $20 or less; it is THE best student edition of the major poems out there. The essay on meter is spectacularly clear. Fulk's introduction and notes to each poem are marvelous: the introductions are incisive, the notes are copious and constantly interesting. If you like poems like The Wanderer, the Seafarer, and the Wife's Lament, this is the best place to be introduced to the central issues in the criticism that has been written on them. Highly recommended!