By Margaret E. Goldsmith

In this crucial contribution to Anglo-Saxon stories Dr Goldsmith provides a completely elaborated and documented interpretation of Beowulf in response to the unique theories which she has recommend in recent times and that have aroused substantial curiosity and controversy in scholarly circles. Her view of the poem because the manufactured from a wedding of cultural traditions, a historic epic with allegorical importance, is constructed within the context of a detailed research of the doctrinal and literary atmosphere winning in the course of the interval A.D. 650-800, in which composition is put. Dr Goldsmith seeks to teach that the poem has a unified and coherent constitution and within the method resolves many textual and interpretative difficulties of lengthy status. Beowulf is obviously visible as a significant murals status on the head of the vernacular culture of allegorical poetry.

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Sample text

It may sometimes be convenient also to employ the word 'insular' as used by Dr Charles Donahue1 to cover the English and Irish churches in their common features in contradistinction from the continental church. As one studies the historical progress of the conversion of the English, one must be impressed by the interpénétration of the two missionary movements and by the remarkable extent to which both relied upon a common heritage of Latin works for the perpetuation of their religious beliefs.

C. iv, p. 232, 20. , pp. 493, 8-9. , pp. 232, 18-21. 33 Doctrine and Symbolism Sea. My impression from the letter to Eahfrith as a whole is that Aldhelm recognized the value of the allegorical method in revealing the truths of the Scriptures, but thought allegorical debate no substitute for a knowledge of grammar! '2 I have come across a delightful reminiscence of Theodore's teaching methods in an anonymous writer of scriptural Quœstiones, who says apropos St Paul's Node et die in prof undo maris fui CA night and a day I was in the depth of the sea' (2 Cor.

The opening lines of Beowulf give promise of a poem in praise of the Danes (though in fact their part proves less heroic than expected) and, as Whitelock reasonably pointed out,1 a theme like this could hardly appeal to an English audience of the latter half of the ninth century when the Danes had become the national enemy. The high technical quality of the verse and the use of half-lines which require archaic disyllabic forms to make them metrically regular together suggest an early date of composition, but no precise boundaries can be set round the 'early' period.

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