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Texts for discussion:

Ælfric's Life of St. Edmund
Ælfric's Homily on Gregory the Great in Benjamin Thorpe, ed. Sermones Catholici
The Battle of Brunanburh
Abels, Richard Philip. Lordship and Military Obligation in Anglo-Saxon England. (Berkeley & London: University of California Press, 1988.)
Ray, Roger. "Bede's Vera Lex Historiae" Speculum 1980.

Further Old English texts:

Bede's Ecclesiastical History, available in translation in Penguin Classics
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle ed. Michael Swanton, (London: J. M. Dent, 1997)
Ælfric's Lives of Three English Saints ed. G I Needham (Exeter: Univ. of Exeter Press, 1992.) [Translations of all Ælfric's saints' lives are in Ælfric's Lives of Saints, ed. by Walter W. Skeat, 2 vols. (London: Oxford University Press, 1966). You might want to browse through this volume if you decide to do the question on the saint's life below.]

Secondary reading:

Bremmer, Rolf H., Cornelis Dekker, and David F. Johnson. Rome and the North: the early reception of Gregory the Great in Germanic Europe. (Paris: Peeters, 2001.)
Howe, Nicholas. Migration and mythmaking in Anglo-Saxon England. (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1989.)
Noble, Thomas F. X., ed. From Roman provinces to medieval kingdoms, Rewriting histories. (London: Routledge, 2006.)

Assignment Questions:

Using Ælfric's Life of St. Edmund and any other resources, write an essay on one of the following questions:

1. 'In origins it is part panegyric, part epic, part romance, part sermon, and historical fact dissolves within the conventions of these forms' (ROSEMARY WOOLF) Discuss this characterisation of the saint's life as a literary form.
2. 'One of the accepted precepts of medieval literary studies is that texts should be interpreted against the background of the culture that produced them and for which they were composed' (PETER ORTON). What kinds of problems do such precepts pose in the interpretation of Old English literature?
3. Is there a difference between "history" and "story" for Anglo-Saxon writers?