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Introduction to Old English Paperback – February 20, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0470659847 ISBN-10: 047065984X Edition: 3rd

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Introduction to Old English + A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary + A Guide to Old English
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 3 edition (February 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047065984X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470659847
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Enhanced with new anthology readings, common spelling variants, phonetic symbols and terms, a glossary, references, and a comprehensive index, "Introduction To Old English" is an ideal student textbook and highly recommended addition to academic library instructional reference collections.”  (Midwest Book Review, 1 May 2012)

 "Excellent introduction designed to provide reading knowledge ... He [Baker] constructs the book to encourage beginning students to start translating almost immediately" (The Medieval Review, June 2008)

"The fruit of years of sensitive, thoughtful and student-responsive teaching. [...] this work is a huge step forward in imaginative course design. It is accessible in manner and genuinely tries to address the needs of the modern student and teacher, taking them through a course step by step. [...] by far the best attempt yet to introduce Old English, and I enthusiastically recommend it to members." (TOEBI Newsletter)

"Peter Baker's excellent new book, a combined grammar and reader, deserves to find a central place in the university teaching of Old English. It is unabashedly designed to be accessible to absolute beginners, but students who progress attentively through the whole book will in fact find themselves in command of a great deal of what makes Old English language and literature tick. [...] These chapters [on 'Metre', 'Poetic Style', 'The Grammar of Poetry', and 'Reading Old English Manuscripts'] constitute the real novelty of the book in their lucid summation of some essential truths that have rarely if ever been to clearly set out for beginners; the sections on poetry in particular deserve to be read by all students beginning the translation of Old English for the first time." (Notes and Queries)

"The new edition is a solid tool that both an independent student and a classroom full of students will find useful. The book's approach is balanced. It includes just the right amount of explanatory text ... while also offering ... grammar tools and exercises. The selection of readings is varied and exemplary. Much thought was put into the choice, quantity, and order of the other texts in the anthology. I would certainly recommend this book for an introductory course in Old English.... Baker's new edition is a pleasure to read and would be a pleasure to use in the classroom." (Comitatus)


"In its references to web-sites and computer-links, An Introduction to Old English is very much a book of the twenty-first century; and many of its novel features - for example the chapter on the grammar of poetry, or the appendix on common spelling variants - will be extraordinarily helpful to teachers and students alike."
Michael Lapidge, University of Notre Dame

"Baker's Introduction is the kind of book that students of Old English - and their teachers - have been waiting for for a long time."
Hugh Magennis, Queen's University Belfast

"This is a truly outstanding textbook for today's student of Old English. Written in lucid and friendly prose, Baker brings the language to life in a manner that will inspire students."
Elaine Treharne, University of Leicester

"Peter Baker's Introduction to Old English offers an innovative combination of the traditional and the cutting edge. Beginning with the basics of the language, the chapters proceed through intelligently paced levels so that by the end the user is reading the most sophisticated literature in Old English."
Daniel G. Donoghue, Harvard University

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't want to be negative towards what is obviously a piece of great scholarship and great pedagogy. Baker's book is certainly the clearest introduction to OE that I've seen - and I've seen many.

But I still remain frustrated. For reasons unknown to me, no one seems willing to create a textbook for Old English that works like any other textbook - graded lessons with vocabulary, grammar, and exercises. I look forward to the day when that book becomes available.

But until then this book - and the accompanying online exercises go a very long way to filling that gap.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By LissieMGall on September 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
I am really disappointed with the Kindle edition of this book. I bought a Kindle (the $99 version) to save money, and I'm going to end up spending more money to get it in print from my school's bookstore. The glossary is completely unusable -- you can't skip to specific letters or even search for words because the Kindle software doesn't recognize the Old English words. In addition, there are no page numbers, only the Kindle "locations," which makes it impossible to use in a class setting. If you need this book for a class, don't get the Kindle edition -- spend extra and get the paperback version.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SaraM on September 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This textbook has a very good series of chapters on Old English poetry, how to read it and how to think about it structurally and artistically. For use in a class and especially by an independent auto didact (like myself), I highly recommend this textbook because it is easier to read and understand than other Old English textbooks I have used.
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