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The Cambridge Old English Reader


  • Page extent: 568 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 1 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 429/.86421
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: PE137 .M46 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • English language--Old English, ca. 450-1100--Readers
    • Anglo-Saxons--Literary collections
    • Anglo-Saxons--Sources

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521454261 | ISBN-10: 0521454263)

  • There was also a Paperback of this title but it is no longer available
  • Published April 2004

Replaced by 9781107055308

$129.99 (X)

The fifty-six prose and verse texts in this major new reader of Old English, the language spoken by the Anglo-Saxons before the Norman Conquest, include established favorites such as The Battle of Maldon and King Alfred's Preface to his Pastoral Care. It also includes some less familiar works. Modern English word glosses and explanatory notes are on the same page of the text. Other features include a reference grammar and a comprehensive glossary. The Reader is designed for undergraduate and advanced students.


Introduction: the writing and pronunciation of Old English; The texts: 1. Teaching and learning (ten texts); 2. Keeping a record (nine texts); 3. Spreading the word (nine texts); 4. Example and exhortation (nine texts); 5. Telling tales (seven texts); 6. Reflection and lament (12 texts); Manuscripts and emendations; Reference grammar; Glossary; Guide to terms; Index of people, places and topics.

Prize Winner

CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, 2004


"The selection of texts covers ground that no previous Reader has approached. There are items that will be of interest to specialists in Womenas Studies and Cultural Studies o The reference grammar has the best presentation I have seen in a resource of this sort - the content is both comprehensive and concise; and the arrangement is logical and user-friendly. The headnotes are also outstanding." Paul Remley, University of Washington, Seattle

"Marsden has done a masterful job of glossing and annotating the texts in the Reader...he gets the level of annotation just right for a university-level student of the subject. I admire his headnotes very much for the amount of material he manages to convey in a relatively short space...I think that this book will be very easy to teach from. The number of texts that he offers in the book is remarkable and admirable... in addition, the careful level of glossing and annotation of some difficult texts means that a teacher can assign a much wider range of texts than usual in an introductory course..." Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe, University of Notre Dame

"Marsden's Reader offers much to admire... the book is a boon to beginners and advanced students who might want to experience some of the vividness and variety of Old English literature, and a challenge to teachers whose pedagogy has become routinized in a few canonical texts, unquestioned assumptions and repetitive readings." The Medieval Review

"The user-friendly Reader is based on rigorous scholarship. The texts are edited from the original manuscripts, microfilms, or facsimiles, with no attempt at normalization and with very few modifications except for expansion of contractions and capitalization of proper names as well as the two principal names for the diety (p xix). The introduction to each text offers useful background knowledge and well-selected secondary material for further reading. The substantial reference grammar will serve as a dependable guide for studetns who need to refresh their memory in morphology and syntax. In sum, the Cambridge Old English Reader promises to become a standard textbook for teachers who plan to offer an intermediate course and for students who hope to conduct further reading on their own after completing an introductory course." - Haruko Momma, New York University

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