Graham's Reviews > The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology

The Anglo-Saxon World by Kevin Crossley-Holland
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's review
Apr 11, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: anglo-saxon, historical, literature, anthology

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 exciting as the day it was written. So full of atmosphere, too.

Other poems deal with exiles, love and the fall of giants. Elsewhere, there are excerpts from Bede, various bishops and even part of Asser's Life of Alfred. There are plenty of the riddles that the Anglo-Saxons loved so, along with their solutions. Even a few charms and sections from Bald's Leechbook make the grade, alongside the drier charters and religious tracts.

An altogether excellent little anthology that never outstays its welcome.
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