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Elves in Anglo-Saxon England: Matters of Belief, Health, Gender and Identity
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Elves in Anglo-Saxon England: Matters of Belief, Health, Gender and Identity

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  27 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Anglo-Saxon elves (Old English aelfe) are one of the best attested non-Christian beliefs in early medieval Europe, but current interpretations of the evidence derive directly from outdated nineteenth- and early twentieth-century scholarship. Integrating linguistic and textual approaches into an anthropologically-inspired framework, this book reassesses the full range of ev ...more
Hardcover, 226 pages
Published March 15th 2007 by Boydell Press
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Jul 01, 2013 Miriam marked it as to-read
Review by Michael D.C. Drout for The Medieval Review

Despite its seemingly hyper-specialized title, Alaric Hall's Elves in Anglo-Saxon England is a book that should be read by all medievalists. Hall's conclusions about his subject are significant, but far more important is his methodological approach, which is a new model for early medieval scholarship. His demonstration of the ways that rock-solid philology can be combined with cross-cultural historical scholarship, folkloristic analysis of late
The Elves
Alaric Hall’s Elves in Anglo-Saxon England is a scholarly work and like most academic texts is a bit dry and makes for slow reading. However, despite that there are things to learn for the serious student of faerie lore, Anglo-Saxon culture or linguistics. For our own part we had to stop frequently to look up technical terms associated with the study of linguistics but that, in itself, was rather enlightening. One of the many things we learned from this book was that Elvis was an old Scottish wo ...more
Larisa Hunter
Wow. This was one of the hardest books I have ever had to read, but was well worth it. I feel like I should have had a companion book to help with some of the language used in the book, as I am not a scholar of Anglo-Saxon language.

But, despite my lack of in depth knowledge of that subject matter, Hall clearly states his case for elves with countless references, in depth research and a full linguistic analysis of the word. I am actually surprised this is not a more recommended book for serious
Alex Telander
Alaric Hall, a lecturer in Medieval English Literature at the University of Leeds, delves into the sources that mention or reference elves, or ælfe, looking not just at texts and writings from Britain, but also Scandinavia and mainland Europe to find similarities and linkages in these references. Hall breaks it down to the language level, exploring spellings, uses, as well as inferring meanings for elves, which at times can get dense, but for those looking for proof in the original language, Hal ...more
I really enjoyed the information provided in this book, but it is very dense and very scholarly. I can't really fault it for being so - it is what it was meant to be and it was successful in being so. It was just kind of a difficult read for someone who's not used to reading something like it. But! Really great info, broken down really well, and the author draws some really, really interesting conclusions from the evidence provided.
This is the second time I've read through this book, and while the philological jargon can be pretty dense at times, Hall's thorough analysis of the conceptual place elves had in Anglo-Saxon lore is mostly spot on.
Regina Hunter
Badass book! Lacks few translations, but meets academic level.
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