Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Things I'm learning from Anglo-Saxon Aloud

Because it is unlikely that my pre-Kalamazoo post, if I can ever write it, will be as good as that by Kornkrake (though I'll try), instead I want to talk about what I'm learning by doing Anglo-Saxon Aloud.

The first thing is that if the Junius Manuscript poems were occasionally outside of my comfort level (established with Beowulf, after all), then Andreas is way outside of my comfort level. Particularly at the beginning of Andreas, I regularly had difficulty at getting a rhythm going, at expressing the sense of a sentence through inflection, at even understanding exactly what was going on while reading on the fly (What is God's problem, anyway, with the whole disguise thing?). But when I got to the set pieces, many of those problems went away. Sea voyages, torture, destruction: those the poet did well and the meter matched the Beowulf meter with which I'm familiar. It definitely feels to me if Beowulf is the most effortlessly accomplished of the poems I have read thus far and that Andreas (and perhaps Christ and Satan) is derivative, with the metrical structure not being as perfectly internalized by the poet.
I also am more convinced that Exodus is more like Beowulf than any other poem, far more like Beowulf than Andreas is, although Andreas has a much higher percentage of shared lines.
But listen to the poems yourself (via Beowulf Aloud and Anglo-Saxon Aloud) and see what you think.
And see you at Kalamazoo, I hope.

1 comment:

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