From Making Sense: Constructing Meaning in Early English, a selection of papers on Anglo-Saxon and other medieval texts edited by Antonette diPaolo Healey and Kevin Kiernan and published by Toronto-based Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. In the following excerpt, scholar Roberta Frank, a member of the International Advisory Panel for the Dictionary of Old English, starts out her essay with lighthearted acknowledgment of the lack of earthy language in the English tongue’s greatest epic tale. The Beowulf poet, she goes on to show, valued understatement more than has been heretofore acknowledged. Antonette diPaolo Healey has received NEH support for work on the Dictionary of Old English.
Where is the earthy language in the English tongue’s greatest epic tale?
HUMANITIES, November/December 2009, Volume 30, Number 6