From Ear to Quill

Mere Inkling

anglo saxonConsider how one humble Anglo-Saxon poet can teach us about the ancient transition from the oral to written delivery of poetry.

In recent study about the transition from aural to literary communication I came upon the following fascinating fact.

In an essay entitled “Oral to Written,” J.B. Bessinger writes:

As literate authors learned to assimilate oral materials to pen-and-parchment composition, and since cultural life and centres of writing were controlled so largely by the Church, it was inevitable that the oral transmission of pagan verse would die out, or at best leave few records of an increasingly precarious existence. Meanwhile the invasion of bookish culture into an oral tradition proceeded.

Amid the overwhelming anonymity of the period, Cynewulf was the only poet who troubled to record his name, not from motives of a new literary vanity, but against the Day of Judgement:* “I beg every man of human kind who…

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About James Ross Kelly

Posts are meant to share an aspect of the universal Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. James Kelly is a Christian seeking the Mercy of God (i.e., His Goodness and Loving Kindness) and daily more of the Grace of His Holy Spirit. Posts of other authors are meant for review of salient points made by said authors and are credited and meant to share light with others and encourage others to read their works, and when possible, by providing links to where their works may be purchased.
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