Buku Weaving Words and Binding Bodies: The Poetics of Human Experience in Old English Literature (Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series) by Cavell Megan
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Buku Weaving Words and Binding Bodies: The Poetics of Human Experience in Old English Literature (Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series) by Cavell Megan

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Weaving Words and Binding Bodies: The Poetics of Human Experience in Old English Literature (Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series) by Cavell Megan

Author:Cavell, Megan [Cavell, Megan]

Language: eng

Format: azw3

ISBN: 9781442624900

Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division

Published: 2016-03-29T16:00:00+00:00

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Weaving Words and Binding Bodies: The Poetics of Human Experience in Old English Literature (Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series) by Cavell Megan

(Flames, terrible indeed, fill all my insides, for a bold fire lays waste to me with sharp spurs so that, wildly, I soon break faithful/holy agreements of peace; nevertheless it does not delight me in myself to go to war.)

The similarity between Tatwine’s quiver of arrows and Riddle 23’s bow is interesting, although the association between the weapon and fire or poison may stem from any number of shared traditions. A notable difference, however, is the Latin poem’s reluctance towards its use in war. Such reluctance is not present in Riddle 23’s eager weapon, even if it is in service to a lord who could not be more different from the benevolent owner of Riddle 20’s sword.

Indeed, the bow’s lord is only explicitly referred to once in the poem: Siþþan me se waldend, se me þæt wite gescop, / leoþo forlæteð (6–7a) (When my ruler, he who arranged that torture, looses my limbs). This manipulation of the bow by its lord parallels the descriptions of the way the weapon was allowed or instructed to act in the sword riddle. Furthermore, the verb scieppan indicates not only that the torture or punishment has been arranged by the bow’s lord, but also that the bow itself is a created or “shaped” object. As noted above (see chapter 3), binding is frequently invoked in contexts of construction in the Old English poetic corpus; by binding one thing into a new shape (often through a painful process in the riddles), humans demonstrate their ability as skilled creators. Here, the poem seems to refer not only to the object’s shaping, but also to the shaping of the outcome of its use. And this outcome (torture/death) is linked to the opposite of binding, i.e., loosing. We have already seen how this pair is invoked in the context of the binding of the devil and the loosing of God and his followers;91 however, in the present context, it is important to note that the connotations of loosing are somewhat ambiguous. The loosing of the creature’s limbs seems to be a positive outcome for the bow, which is no longer constrained. Yet this loosing also leads to violence and torture, with the bow being a tool in the hands of a lord who puts it to a violent purpose. The poet is playing with the connotations of the pair, and, if loosing is both positive and negative in this case, the same ambiguity can be expected of binding.

 

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Weaving Words and Binding Bodies: The Poetics of Human Experience in Old English Literature (Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series) by Cavell Megan

Author:Cavell, Megan [Cavell, Megan] , Date: June 6, 2019

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Author:Cavell, Megan [Cavell, Megan]

Language: eng

Format: azw3

ISBN: 9781442624900

Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division

Published: 2016-03-29T16:00:00+00:00
(Flames, terrible indeed, fill all my insides, for a bold fire lays waste to me with sharp spurs so that, wildly, I soon break faithful/holy agreements of peace; nevertheless it does not delight me in myself to go to war.)

The similarity between Tatwine’s quiver of arrows and Riddle 23’s bow is interesting, although the association between the weapon and fire or poison may stem from any number of shared traditions. A notable difference, however, is the Latin poem’s reluctance towards its use in war. Such reluctance is not present in Riddle 23’s eager weapon, even if it is in service to a lord who could not be more different from the benevolent owner of Riddle 20’s sword.

Indeed, the bow’s lord is only explicitly referred to once in the poem: Siþþan me se waldend, se me þæt wite gescop, / leoþo forlæteð (6–7a) (When my ruler, he who arranged that torture, looses my limbs). This manipulation of the bow by its lord parallels the descriptions of the way the weapon was allowed or instructed to act in the sword riddle. Furthermore, the verb scieppan indicates not only that the torture or punishment has been arranged by the bow’s lord, but also that the bow itself is a created or “shaped” object. As noted above (see chapter 3), binding is frequently invoked in contexts of construction in the Old English poetic corpus; by binding one thing into a new shape (often through a painful process in the riddles), humans demonstrate their ability as skilled creators. Here, the poem seems to refer not only to the object’s shaping, but also to the shaping of the outcome of its use. And this outcome (torture/death) is linked to the opposite of binding, i.e., loosing. We have already seen how this pair is invoked in the context of the binding of the devil and the loosing of God and his followers;91 however, in the present context, it is important to note that the connotations of loosing are somewhat ambiguous. The loosing of the creature’s limbs seems to be a positive outcome for the bow, which is no longer constrained. Yet this loosing also leads to violence and torture, with the bow being a tool in the hands of a lord who puts it to a violent purpose. The poet is playing with the connotations of the pair, and, if loosing is both positive and negative in this case, the same ambiguity can be expected of binding.

In employing this imagery of binding, the poet reminds his/her audience that the riddle-solution does not refer to a human but to an object made by craft and skill. The final lines of the poem present us with a pun: Nelle ic unbunden ænigum hyran / nymþe searosæled (Unbound I will not obey anyone unless skilfully tied). At a literal level, the phrase refers to the actual stringing of a bow, which must be bound in order to shoot. However, it also indicates a relationship between the bow and its lord: the bow must be bound for it to obey its lord.

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