Buku Inhabited Spaces: Anglo-Saxon Constructions of Place (Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series) by Discenza Nicole Guenther
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Inhabited Spaces: Anglo-Saxon Constructions of Place (Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series) by Discenza Nicole Guenther

Author:Discenza, Nicole, Guenther [Discenza, Nicole, Guenther]

Language: eng

Format: azw3

ISBN: 9781487511548

Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division

Published: 2017-01-05T16:00:00+00:00

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Inhabited Spaces: Anglo-Saxon Constructions of Place (Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series) by Discenza Nicole Guenther

(“This world is not our homeland, but it is our exile. Therefore we should not set our hopes in this deceptive life, but we must hasten with good earnings to our homeland, where we were created; that is the kingdom of heaven. Truly it is written: whoever wishes to be a friend of this world, he will be reckoned God’s enemy.”)89

England is no more home to the Anglo-Saxons than Rome, Ælfric declares. Their true home is heaven. With such a theology, Anglo-Saxons did not need to worry about their distance from Rome or the Holy Land, or even where they were in England. They only needed to worry about their distance from God.

Old English religious poetry also effectively decentres geography. The greatest drama in The Dream of the Rood takes place in the Holy Land: the cross tells its story from lines 28 through 121 of the 156 lines. Its tale covers its own felling, the crucifixion and death of Christ, and its burial and rediscovery. Yet the action the cross narrates might as well have happened in England. Both cross and dreamer identify themselves not as residents of any particular earthly territory, but as subjects of a heavenly king. The cross describes serving a “ricne cyning” (“rich king,” ASPR 2, 44), while the dreamer’s friends have already gone to seek “wuldres cyning” (“the king of glory,” 133), whom the dreamer himself aspires to meet. Earthly borders have no meaning when a tree cut down, buried, and rediscovered in the Holy Land can shine “on lyft” (“in the sky,” 5), where “Beheoldon þær engel dryhtnes ealle / … / … halige gastas, / men ofer moldan, ond eall þeos mære gesceaft” (“All the angels of God beheld it there … holy spirits, men on earth, and all this splendid creation,” 9, 11–12). The Old English poem presumably features an Anglo-Saxon dreamer, but his distance in space and time from the events that the cross recounts hardly matters. Though the dreamer does not witness the crucifixion himself, he hears of it from a participant. He has the same hope of salvation, and the same ultimate destination of heaven, as if he had been physically present at the crucifixion. His concern is not with this world but the “heofonlicne ham” (“heavenly home,” 148), “godes rice” (“God’s kingdom,” 152).

 

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Inhabited Spaces: Anglo-Saxon Constructions of Place (Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series) by Discenza Nicole Guenther

Author:Discenza, Nicole, Guenther [Discenza, Nicole, Guenther] , Date: June 6, 2019

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Author:Discenza, Nicole, Guenther [Discenza, Nicole, Guenther]

Language: eng

Format: azw3

ISBN: 9781487511548

Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division

Published: 2017-01-05T16:00:00+00:00
(“This world is not our homeland, but it is our exile. Therefore we should not set our hopes in this deceptive life, but we must hasten with good earnings to our homeland, where we were created; that is the kingdom of heaven. Truly it is written: whoever wishes to be a friend of this world, he will be reckoned God’s enemy.”)89

England is no more home to the Anglo-Saxons than Rome, Ælfric declares. Their true home is heaven. With such a theology, Anglo-Saxons did not need to worry about their distance from Rome or the Holy Land, or even where they were in England. They only needed to worry about their distance from God.

Old English religious poetry also effectively decentres geography. The greatest drama in The Dream of the Rood takes place in the Holy Land: the cross tells its story from lines 28 through 121 of the 156 lines. Its tale covers its own felling, the crucifixion and death of Christ, and its burial and rediscovery. Yet the action the cross narrates might as well have happened in England. Both cross and dreamer identify themselves not as residents of any particular earthly territory, but as subjects of a heavenly king. The cross describes serving a “ricne cyning” (“rich king,” ASPR 2, 44), while the dreamer’s friends have already gone to seek “wuldres cyning” (“the king of glory,” 133), whom the dreamer himself aspires to meet. Earthly borders have no meaning when a tree cut down, buried, and rediscovered in the Holy Land can shine “on lyft” (“in the sky,” 5), where “Beheoldon þær engel dryhtnes ealle / … / … halige gastas, / men ofer moldan, ond eall þeos mære gesceaft” (“All the angels of God beheld it there … holy spirits, men on earth, and all this splendid creation,” 9, 11–12). The Old English poem presumably features an Anglo-Saxon dreamer, but his distance in space and time from the events that the cross recounts hardly matters. Though the dreamer does not witness the crucifixion himself, he hears of it from a participant. He has the same hope of salvation, and the same ultimate destination of heaven, as if he had been physically present at the crucifixion. His concern is not with this world but the “heofonlicne ham” (“heavenly home,” 148), “godes rice” (“God’s kingdom,” 152).

So too The Wanderer and The Seafarer focus less on earthly surroundings than on an ultimate destination, though the two poems describe recognizably Germanic social structures and northern climates.90 The Wanderer’s main character recalls the pleasures of lord and hall (see especially 41–4), and The Seafarer’s thinks briefly of “medodrince” (“mead-drinking,” 22) and the joys of the burh (“city” or “enclosure,” 27–8). The Wanderer describes a decidedly northern seascape: “hreosan hrim ond snaw, hagle gemenged” (“frost and snow fall, mixed with hail,” 48). The “waþema gebind” (“binding of waves,” 57) probably refers to ice in the waters. The frost on ruined walls (76–7) and the mention of wolves (82) also indicate the north. The narrator

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