Journal Article

The Review of English Studies Prize Essay*‘Those were good days’: Representations of the Anglo-Saxon Past in the Old English Homily on Saint Neot

George Ruder Younge

in The Review of English Studies

Volume 63, issue 260, pages 349-369
Published in print June 2012 | ISSN: 0034-6551
Published online April 2012 | e-ISSN: 1471-6968 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/res/hgs039
The Review of English Studies Prize Essay*‘Those were good days’: Representations of the Anglo-Saxon Past in the Old English Homily on Saint Neot

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Conventionally regarded as one of the last works in Old English, the homily on Saint Neot has received little critical attention in the past 50 years, falling outside the bounds of Anglo-Saxon studies yet failing to attract the interest of scholars working on early Middle English. Recent recognition of the homily's accomplished style has culminated in its reattribution to the early eleventh century, where it stands as a virtually unparalleled example of vernacular hagiography produced after Ælfric's Lives of Saints. This article revives the case for a post-Conquest dating of the homily, questioning its interpretation as the cry of an English underclass hostile to foreign rule. Rather than viewing the homily's unique features as evidence of its dependence on a lost version of the Latin Life of Saint Neot, it is argued that these reflect the distinctive agenda of the translator, who uses the Anglo-Saxon past as a platform from which to critique Anglo-Norman society.

Journal Article.  10104 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Postcolonial Literature) ; Literary Studies (American) ; Literary Studies (British and Irish)

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