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The Anglo-Saxon World

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  553 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
The Anglo-Saxon World introduces the Anglo-Saxons in their own words -- their chronicles, laws and letters, charters and charms, and above all their magnificent poems. Most of the greatest surviving poems are printed here in their entirety: the reader will find the whole of Beowulf, The Battle of Maldon, and the haunting elegiac poems. Here is a word picture of a people wh ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 5th 2004 by Boydell Press (first published January 1st 1982)
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Reading this book has been a lengthy business, because I keep returning to read passages and pieces that have become favourites within this lovely book; especially “The Ruin”. Hence it’s been a difficult book to ‘finish’.

I’m not so much as a one-time student of Anglo-Saxon, let alone an experienced academic in the subject. However, I do like the way that Crossley-Holland comes over as such a genuine and talented enthusiast. His website, does nothing to disp
Contains a large proportion of all Anglo-Saxon poetry including Beowulf, the Dream of the Rood, Deor, the Wanderer, the Battle of Maldon and others.

Some examples of riddles from The Exeter Book Riddles, extracts from law codes, Asser's Life of Alfred, wills, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, sermons, letters, saints lives and other prose.

There is a brief general introduction and separate introductions to each section (epic, elegies, exploration etc) and brief bibliography with suggested further reading
Jan 19, 2012 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very good collection of quite a wide range of Anglo-Saxon verse, including Beowulf and other, less-known texts. They're good translations, if I might presume to judge: they're readable, they have good flow, and so far as I can tell -- it's been a while since I did Anglo-Saxon -- they're accurate.

Mostly needed this for my essay, but I'm glad I picked it up and looked through the rest.
Mar 30, 2014 Sonya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The works in this anthology included every type of primary source - wills, charters, epic poems (like Beowulf), sermons, letters, etc. I especially enjoyed the riddles, and the poems of the Battle of Maldon and The Wanderer. The translations of all the works were excellent. It brought a modern understanding to the ancient texts without seeming too modern. I felt like Alfred the Great, Bede, and others (even Canute) were full of feeling and intelligence and tried to overcome huge obstacles (like ...more
A wide selection of poetry, epic battle literature, charms, letters, laws charters and almost everything else from the Anglo-Saxon age.I have only read parts of the entire compilation of works in the anthology.

The content is hugely varied, ranging from Beowulf to letters from the Pope to Saxon Kings, and naughty riddles, including my favourite short poem ‘The Wanderer’ in which a Warrior laments the loss of the brotherhood of his friends and fellowship of the Mead-hall after the death of his Lo
Sep 20, 2011 Vincent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the book that got me hooked on the Oxford World Classics series, which has not yet failed to provide beautiful translations where even the densest language becomes clearly understandable, all the while still keeping the integrity of the original work. The Anglo-Saxon World gives a sweeping introduction into the literature of the Anglo-Saxons while providing short commentary that places each work into historical perspective. While the information is unfortunately is not in depth, it is ad ...more
An excellent compendium of Anglo-Saxon literature in all its forms. The age of the material means that much of it is short and/or fragmentary, but this matters not as the editor has included detailed explanations of each and every text.

The subject matter varies greatly. There are epic poems here, none more epic than the complete BEOWULF, which forms the anthology's solid. It was the first time I'd read this age-old classic and I loved every moment of it; it truly is a heroic poem as gritty and e
Shawn Thrasher
Aug 13, 2014 Shawn Thrasher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not exactly sure you can give stars (or thumbs up or whatever rating mechanism you may want to use) to thousand year old poetry. It seems to me if it's been around and studied and memorized and written about and dissected and cherished for a thousand years, it must be pretty damn good. Crossley-Holland's translations and explanatory notes about the poems and prose were great. I don't think I would have made a very good Saxon, but I sure like their poetry. It is beautiful dark and heavy. Like ...more
Jul 02, 2012 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medieval
This volume is a fantastic, readable translation of many different sources from throughout the genres in the literature of the Anglo-Saxons, both Old English and Latin. Crossley-Holland has chosen wisely, giving us the entirety of some of the most famous poems -- Beowulf, 'Wulf', 'The Whale' -- as well as a selection of The Exeter Book's riddles combined with letters and sermons and extracts from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and even remedies! The things that some may fined 'boring' are represented ...more
Jul 18, 2016 Koit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good and thorough overview into the Anglo-Saxon life with a particularly wide scope. I would definitely recommend it to people interested in the era as well as the literature, especially as the samples chosen to represent the Anglo-Saxon worldview are the best of the surviving works.
Overall, I enjoyed many of the selections in this anthology. Many of them were captivating on their own and a few had a cumulative effect when read with the others. However, I was only able to give this book three stars because many of the selections were also a little dry, particularly the "Charters, Tracts, and Wills;" some of the letters; and similar documents. I should also acknowledge that my degree is in English so of course I gravitated more towards the literature. Beowulf is of course th ...more
May 28, 2014 Stenwjohnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The surviving literature of Anglo-Saxon Britain roughly spans the 7th through 11th centuries, and forms a limited body of work: roughly 400 Old English manuscripts of varying length survive, of which 189 are considered “major” or of scholarly interest. Kevin Crossley-Holland’s “The Anglo-Saxon World” captures, as its title suggests, the full breadth of the surviving canon: Aside from well-known poems such as Beowulf, the Battle of Maldon and the Seafarer, remaining documents such as wills, saint ...more
Randee Baty
Sep 20, 2014 Randee Baty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I say I "finished" this but actually I just finished the parts assigned as part of my Brit Lit class. That was mainly Beowulf but also a few of the other Anglo-Saxon poems. I went into this assuming Beowulf would just be something I had to get through but I learned to love it! I missed Beowulf when we moved on to a later time period.

Anything from the Anglo-Saxon time period would have been written in Old English which is unreadable except to scholars today so you have to read in translation. Th
Nov 09, 2015 Aleta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: poetry lovers, medieval fans, history buffs
One of my classes at university is one that will run for four semesters: every semester we must choose and read 10 works from two different time periods, starting with Antiquity and the Middle Ages, five works from each. At least two must be "novels", two poetry and two dramas - for my Medieval poetry I chose "The Seafarer", thus why I bought this wonderful book.

The Seafarer is a beautiful elegy, describing the longing for the ocean and travel, in a rather mournful tone. It's short, but filled
Joel Mitchell
This collection gives a nice broad overview of the Anglo-Saxon culture by providing examples of various kinds of Anglo-Saxon literature. It includes various forms of poetry (including a complete translation of Beowulf), excerpts from several historical records, various letters, and some legal documents.

I was not especially impressed with the poetry translation; the alliteration is sporadic in the extreme and the division of each line into two half lines of two beats was occasionally lacking. Se
Dec 20, 2010 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very helpful anthology that does NOT contain any Old English (purposely). A quick way to get a feel of a broad yet shallow spectrum of Anglo Saxon materials. Riddles, elegies, charms and remedies, allegories, charters, tracts, and wills... There are complete, less-than-poetic translations of heroic poems... Beowulf, Maldon, Deor; the Seafarer... This is THE pocket-sized paperback intro reader that gets newbies of Anglo-Saxon connected to some juicy original sources in translation: Alfred, Bede ...more
This book contains a selection of early medieval Anglo-Saxon writings. The selections give insight into the medieval frame of mind but the book lacks historical context. A familiarity with English history or additional reading is necessary to really benefit from this book.
John Campbell
May 17, 2007 John Campbell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone, especially Anglo-Saxonists
This anthology gathers works from fifteen different categories, everything from epics to poems to the famous Anglo-Saxon riddles. Having it all in one compact volume makes this a useful addition to a classics library.
Jun 07, 2016 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is more a window to the Anglo-Saxon world than just literature which is what I was expecting. It contains poem, Beowulf, wills, histories, lives of saints. Most are short and readable. It is a good introduction to early medieval times.
May 12, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great source for studying Anglo-Saxon literature.
Brent Pinkall
Apr 24, 2016 Brent Pinkall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't read everything in here -- only Beowulf, a few elegies, and the 31 riddles. I wish Beowulf had line numbers, but I did find it to be a rather accessible and enjoyable translation.
Dan Pak
Good selection of texts, mediocre translation (did not read Beowulf)
Oct 26, 2010 Toby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-ages
Not a bad anthology, although the commentary was a little sparse. Also, I prefer to have facing pages with the Old English. Selection was good though.
Mar 07, 2013 Kieran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If nothing else, it had Beowulf in it!!
Sep 12, 2013 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the writing caused me to have to read over a few times to catch what they were saying! Gotta love old English
Melissa C
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Kevin Crossley-Holland is a well-known poet and prize-winning author for children. His books include Waterslain Angels, a detective story set in north Norfolk in 1955, and Moored Man: A Cycle of North Norfolk Poems; Gatty's Tale, a medieval pilgrimage novel; and the Arthur trilogy (The Seeing Stone, At the Crossing-Places and King of the Middle March), which combines historical fiction with the re ...more
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